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Roman Reigns’ reported backup opponent for WrestleMania 39 if The Rock fails to return

Multiple reports suggested WWE wants to have The Rock vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39. However, if The Rock doesn’t return to WWE, then it’ll likely be Cody Rhodes who’ll face The Tribal Chief at The Grandest Stage of Them All next year.

Cody Rhodes returned to WWE at WrestleMania this year. He’s on a winning streak but will be out of action for a few months owing to a pectoral injury. Rhodes has been pushed heavily as a top babyface and could be a great foil for Reigns.

As per Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Rhodes is expected to be out of action for six months. He’ll likely return around Royal Rumble 2023. If The Rock vs. Roman Reigns isn’t cemented by then, Rhodes will likely be The Tribal Chief’s WrestleMania opponent:

”Will likely be out about six months, which makes the Royal Rumble probably the smart time frame for a return. If Dwayne Johnson doesn’t wrestle Roman Reigns, it’d make the returning Rhodes vs. Reigns as the most likely biggest of next year’s Mania.”

Cody Rhodes’ performance at Hell in a Cell makes him a great challenge for Roman Reigns

Dave Meltzer noted that Cody Rhodes didn’t back out of his HIAC match against Seth Rollins even though he had a torn pec. His performance has been praised tremendously, and Meltzer believes WWE needs to portray the match as a lifetime performance. They have an opportunity to turn it into a match of legendary proportion:

I doubt Rhodes himself ever seriously considered not wrestling. He was in his first WWE singles PPV main event with a sold out house. Just in performing no matter how the match was, he’d add greatly to his legacy. He could have done a short match and a very safe match, and you could argue maybe should have, but he did neither.”

He also argued that while it was a tremendous act of courage, Rhodes’ adamance to compete might also set a bad precedent for other superstars’ and promoters’ expectations.

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