Thursday, April 18, 2024
EditorialWhat is the Best Way Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes Can End?

What is the Best Way Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes Can End?

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Whatever the preamble might be and how Night 1 is structured, Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania XL is going to end in one of three ways: Reigns wins, Rhodes wins, or it’s a draw. Obviously. Duh.

But within those 3 ultimate “when you boil it down” options, there are a TON of different variations for how those play out. Not only does that expand when you account for pinfall, submission, disqualification and count-out, but it also gets more complicated when you talk about a clean pinfall, interference (and from who), and all the other elements that come into play.

It isn’t as simple as whether or not a new champion is crowned. How you get to either of those outcomes can be just as important.

So while we don’t yet know how this is going to go, I think it’s worth examining many of the most likely scenarios—as who knows what other ideas WWE could pull out of their behinds that we couldn’t see coming, for better or worse—and to discuss which ones get the most support for being overall most preferable.

As I see it, these are the ways I could imagine this going down, in no particular order.

Scenarios That Just Won’t Happen

Generally speaking, let me just first run down a series of options that I think are entirely off the table, though technically still possibilities.

Draw = This match isn’t going to end with a double count-out, both of their shoulders pinned to the mat at the same time, a double disqualification or any of that sort. There’s no way WWE ends this with a non-finish.

Anyone Wins Via Count-Out or Disqualification = Just the same as a draw, it’s too much of a non-finish to have Cody win by count-out like Lex Luger against Yokozuna at SummerSlam 1993, Roman to get disqualified to retain, or anything like that. If that were to happen, someone like Triple H would surely come out, order the match to be restarted, and we’d get a proper ending. WWE is tone deaf and books terribly from time to time, but they’re not going to be THAT stupid here.

Cody Makes Roman Submit = This isn’t happening for two reasons. First, Rhodes doesn’t have a submission maneuver. While he could always adopt one here and make it a new part of his repertoire, it isn’t as likely as him winning by pinfall. It’s a stretch to assume a new finisher will be created on the spot for this match while nothing’s been set up. Second, and perhaps even more important, is that WWE isn’t going to have Reigns lose his title by tapping out. He’s tapped out at times when the referee was down, but those don’t really count in WWE’s eyes, and Roman’s not going to be made to look weak in this way.

Who takes the fall and how? Let’s break those down.

Scenarios Where Roman Reigns Wins

Option A) Reigns makes Rhodes submit or pins him clean with no interference

I’d almost put “Reigns makes Rhodes tap out” on the list of scenarios that definitely won’t happen, but he does have a submission finish. I still just can’t imagine WWE would set up Cody to have all this momentum just for him to not only fail a second year in a row, but to submit in the process. That would signify this has just been a troll job to assassinate his character and ruin all the good will and popularity he’s built up. There’s almost no way WWE is willing to shoot themselves in the foot like that just to make Reigns look even stronger again.

But there’s a chance Cody loses by submission through passing out, making it still an option we have to put out there.

Now, if you say “with no interference”, then that makes it even lower, and that goes for pinfalls, too. Even if Rhodes and Rollins win on Night 1 and The Bloodline is barred from ringside, that just means it’s a regular Tribal Chief match where the referee will be distracted or taken out and they’ll interfere anyway.

Option B) Reigns pins Rhodes regardless of interference on either side

I think the idea of “no interference” is extremely implausible. But a step up above that would be effectively “it doesn’t matter that there was interference.”

By that, I mean that The Bloodline gets involved, but so do some people backing up Cody Rhodes. He’s got Seth Rollins, Jey Uso, probably Sami Zayn and several others.

But even with Rhodes having allies, it doesn’t mean he’ll by default get the job done. It could be a chaotic mess where Rollins is fighting off The Rock, Jey is taking care of Jimmy, someone’s covering Solo Sikoa, and then, Roman just hits Cody with a low blow or something and wins.

Effectively, it will cancel everything out to make it a no-interference scenario again.

This would be another huge downer that wouldn’t be all that different from last year, but I’d believe it happening far more than a purely clean win with everyone staying in the back and not even attempting to interfere.

Option C) Reigns pins Rhodes due to interference from The Bloodline

This is the situation we’ve seen Reigns in time and time again for years. It’s arguably the most likely outcome, given how history has panned out and how Bloodline Rules is a possible stipulation.

Last year, it was mostly Solo Sikoa who was responsible for costing Rhodes the win. This year, he’s still in the mix, as are Jimmy Uso and The Rock, who has way more control over things and could easily abuse that power.

If WWE is desperate to have Rock vs. Roman be with the titles on the line, there’s a solid chance Cody loses because The Bloodline just cheats too much for any of Cody’s backup to compete with, or The Rock puts in some kind of “Wait, now this match is a blindfold match where only Cody wears one” type of thing (although that specific example won’t happen).

There’s also a chance someone new joins The Bloodline in the process, like Tama Tonga. They could be the reason why the numbers tip in Roman’s favor and he gets another win over Cody.

I’m scared of this outcome, but I’m even more scared of Option D…

Option D) Reigns pins Rhodes due to interference from Seth Rollins

Part of me says “they can’t possibly just do the same thing they did last year, but just with someone else filling in Sikoa’s spot to cost Cody.” But they could VERY MUCH think that a heel turn from Seth Rollins would be “more interesting” than for Cody to just win the match.

You may agree or disagree on this, but in my opinion, this is another absolutely terrible option for multiple reasons.

First, I’ll flat out say what I’ve been saying for months now, which is that any outcome where Cody doesn’t win the title is already a downer to me that I can’t support. I’m over Reigns as champion, I think last year proves he isn’t sustainable for all these months off without it getting boring, I think Cody’s earned it and I do not care about Roman beating Hulk Hogan’s record. Full stop. But second, I think this idea is particularly stupid because it just doesn’t make any real sense.

Why would Seth go out of his way so much to support Cody for as long as he has, wrestle in a tag match on Night 1 prior to his title defense, and then, screw him over?

It goes against all the bigger picture necessity stuff he’s been saying about how The Bloodline are too power. It has zero bearing on his title reign, as he gains nothing out of Cody losing. And if Seth were to lose to Drew McIntyre and “blame it on Cody” for something that happens on Night 1, I think that’s lame as well, as he’s the one who has opted for this tag match.

That hasn’t stopped WWE from doing irrational heel turns before, mind you. And given the history of WWE wanting to do a big swerve for the sake of it, I’m definitely nervous this is their grand plan, especially since it was even brought up by Michael Cole on Raw this week.

Scenarios Where Cody Rhodes Wins

Option E) Rhodes pins Reigns clean; no interference on either side

Let’s flip the situation from Option A. Obviously, the heel that’s been cheating for years isn’t going to win clean with no interference, but the uber-babyface could.

On the pro-Cody side of these outcomes, I have the least amount of faith in this scenario. WWE simply isn’t going to avoid having interference, even if The Rock and Reigns lose on Night 1.

It’s the same as when a steel cage is the gimmick to keep people out of the match. They ALWAYS find a way. Hell, AJ Styles in kayfabe flew to Australia just in case there was a chance he could sneak into the Elimination Chamber and attack LA Knight, who he’d have to hope was still in the match by that point. #logic

If Cody and Seth win on Night 1, the referee is taking a bump on Night 2 and The Bloodline are interfering. Obviously, if they lose on Night 1, then The Bloodline interferes for sure and this becomes a moot option once more.

But yes, this is still technically a route they could go down if they wanted to preserve the sanctity of the main event or something. I just don’t think it’ll happen.

Option F) Rhodes pins Reigns, interference or not, by cheating

What if it isn’t Rollins turning heel, but Cody himself? Odd, I know, but stranger things have happened.

Let it be clear that if I were on WWE Creative and someone pitched this to me, I’d shoot it down immediately. I don’t think it’s a good idea to take your biggest, naturally-over babyface since John Cena, and have him only be able to win the title from a multi-year heel by turning into a villain and going straight into ANOTHER heel run.

But WWE loves its villains. And if someone got this earworm of an idea into their brains, it could be festering.

It checks off a swerve to get people talking, a surprise finish “no one saw coming” to avoid being called boring and predictable, sets up the new big heel to build stories around and it keeps Roman looking strong.

If by some chance this happens, I think it would be done in a way that Rhodes would do a low blow or something that makes it clear he was desperate and wouldn’t have gotten the job done otherwise. Again, it ruins so much, but Vince Russo would probably love it and you never know where anyone’s head is at in WWE.

Option G) Rhodes pins Reigns after The Rock turns on Roman

Another option for a turn, and one that I think more fans are receptive to and are putting in their predictions, is The Rock betraying Roman, allowing Cody to win.

This could be a setup from the start, with conspiracy theories spawning from the L symbol The Rock did with his finger instead of holding up the 1, as well as the tension between them with him acknowledging Roman as Tribal Chief while he is considered High Chief. It could be all part of the plan from Cody giving up his spot to The Rock to lure Roman into a false sense of security.

I don’t think this is going to happen, for the record. What I do think could happen, though, is that The Rock scores the pinfall for their team on Night 1, Roman loses on Night 2, and The Rock then disowns Roman as a loser who doesn’t deserve to be called Tribal Chief now that he lost the titles. Basically, “I did everything I could to keep the belt in your possession and you still messed it up, proving you were never the guy and it was always me. Get out of my sight.” That would then lead to a non-title battle for who is the real Head of the Table at next year’s WrestleMania or at SummerSlam or whenever.

Option H) Rhodes pins Reigns after Seth Rollins and others help fight off The Bloodline

This is the most straightforward approach, but simple and effective is often the best way to go.

We know Jimmy and Jey have a clash. They can cancel each other out. Rollins is saying he’s there to ensure Cody wins, so he can offset Solo Sikoa. Ideally, if I’m booking things, The Rock makes it look like he’s going to be the difference-maker to cost Cody, only for one more person to come out to counter him.

The one who makes the most sense would be Triple H. Not only did they have that stare down and “fix it” moment at the press conference, but HHH is also in a position of power, so if anyone can offset The Rock, it’s him. Plus, they’ve had a legendary rivalry, so it’s not like this is just Nick Khan coming out to be a glory hog. It would be a nice way to wrap up the throne smashing moment Rhodes had, too, and for all of that to come full circle.

If Hunter isn’t able to do anything physical because of his heart condition, I think calling in the big gun and bringing in Stone Cold Steve Austin would be a huuuuuuuuuuuge pop. The Texas Rattlesnake already proved he can still hang with his match against Kevin Owens two years ago, and the stadium would absolutely erupt to see The Rock take a Stunner again.

For my money, this is the scenario I want to see happen. It gives me the Cody Rhodes win that I want, keeps it relatively clean by balancing out the interference, allows Night 1 to end on an “uh oh” note to build tension and when all of this chaos goes down, fans will be biting their nails, only to get the happy ending and a new fresh start with this title.

But how do you want this match to end? What is the best finish for the main event of WrestleMania XL? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!

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