Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Hints to a Possible Philadelphia Matchup at WrestleMania 40 with Roman Reigns

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WWE legend Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson teased the possibility of facing his cousin, Roman Reigns, at WrestleMania 40 in Philadelphia next year during an appearance Friday on ESPN.
HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 18: XFL co-owner Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson make an appearance at TDECU Stadium as the Houston Roughnecks play the Orlando Guardia on February 18, 2023 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

In an interview on the Pat McAfee Show, The Rock said he is “open” to taking on Reigns at WrestleMania 40 and noted that there is “potential” for it to happen.

Pat McAfee on X: ""The Rock headlining WrestleMania with Roman Reigns at SoFi Stadium was locked in.. We got really really close but there's WrestleMania in Philadelphia coming up" 👀 @TheRock #PMSLive

Johnson confirmed a longstanding rumor that the original plan was for him to headline WrestleMania 39 against Reigns earlier this year.

The Rock said he reached a handshake deal and a verbal agreement with WWE chairman Vince McMahon and president Nick Khan in early 2022 for the match to happen in April 2023, but the parties involved could not come to an understanding on what the next part of the storyline would be.

The Rock Says Rumored WrestleMania 39 Match With Roman Reigns Was "Locked In" | Pat McAfee Show - YouTube

Johnson said he wanted to give the fans something special with the idea that WrestleMania 39 would be the start of a longer story, but when nothing could be decided, the match was called off.

With The Rock out of the equation for WrestleMania 39, Cody Rhodes won the men’s Royal Rumble match from the No. 30 spot after returning from a torn pec, and he went on to challenge Reigns for the undisputed WWE Universal Championship.

Rhodes and The Tribal Chief clashed in Night 2 of WrestleMania 39, and while it seemed as though everything was set up for The American Nightmare to win, Solo Sikoa interfered and helped Reigns retain.

The Rock Says Roman Reigns WrestleMania Match Was "Locked", Teases Huge New Plan

Since then, the overarching assumption among wrestling fans has been that WWE would build Rhodes back up and give him another crack at Reigns at WrestleMania 40, although The Rock’s comments suggest another option may now be on the table.

The 51-year-old Johnson ceased working a full-time WWE scheduled in 2003, and after competing at WrestleMania 20 in 2004, he did not have another match for over seven years.

The Rock returned to WWE in 2011 to work a program with John Cena, beating him at WrestleMania 28 before defeating CM Punk for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble 2013.

Johnson then dropped the title to Cena in the main event of WrestleMania 29, thus completing his return to WWE.

The Rock has made several appearances for WWE since then, including beating Erick Rowan in mere seconds in an impromptu match at WrestleMania 32 in 2016, but he hasn’t had a legitimate match with build in over a decade.

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That is largely due to the fact that The Rock has been focused on other ventures, including his work as one of the biggest actors in Hollywood. He is also one of the owners of the XFL, which played its first season since the relaunch this past spring.

It was widely assumed that The Rock’s outside interests were the main reason why the rumored match against Reigns at WrestleMania 39 didn’t come to fruition, but he suggested Friday that his decision was influenced by creative differences.

WrestleMania 39 seemingly would have been the perfect spot for The Rock vs. Reigns since it was near The Rock’s adopted home of Hollywood, but WrestleMania 40 would be a great fit for multiple reasons as well.

In addition to the fact that it is a landmark WrestleMania, Philly played host to The Rock’s first WrestleMania main event, as he faced “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the WrestleMania 15 headliner.

WWE legend The Rock all-but confirms plans to return for WrestleMania 40 next year – and hints at Roman Reigns match | Flipboard

Reigns is in the midst of one of the greatest title runs in WWE history, having held a world title for over 1,100 days consecutively, plus he has done the best character work of his career as a heel over the past three years.

His character is tailor made to go up against The Rock since Reigns claims to be The Head of the Table and the main provider for his family, which is something Johnson could easily challenge.

It is unclear where it would leave Rhodes if Reigns vs. The Rock happens at WrestleMania 40, but given that it is the biggest possible dream match in the industry, WWE will likely jump at the chance to secure it if Reigns and The Rock can reach a new agreement.

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