Have you heard the big news? WWE is about to have a new champion. That’s right. Roman Reigns, according to almost everyone on social media, is about to finally lose after more than 900 days as champion. Cody Rhodes is going to get his moment at WrestleMania and cast The Tribal Chief aside. Exactly why, of course, depends on who you talk to. Some people think Roman Reigns has to lose because he’s about to take time off. Other people think Cody Rhodes has to win to fulfill his destiny and give WrestleMania a happy ending. Still more think he needs to win to set in motion the full dismantling of The Bloodline. Finally, there’s a group that thinks Roman Reigns is going to lose because he’s simply been champion for too long. The times they are a changin’.
Well, my question is… are you sure? Cody Rhodes could certainly win at WrestleMania 39. That is within the realm of possibilities, but I’m a little confused as to why everyone is so willing to cast off The Tribal Chief when he’s done nothing but smash ‘em and get more popular for almost three years. Why are we all so sure this is the end of the line for Roman Reigns? Because from where I’m sitting, there are some pretty compelling reasons for Cody Rhodes to lose at ‘Mania. In fact, I went back and forth and ultimately picked Roman Reigns in my final WrestleMania 39 predictions. So, let’s talk about why I think Cody should lose…
Roman Reigns Is A Lot More Popular
Cody Rhodes is incredibly popular. The pops he gets are quite loud, and it’s obvious a really high percentage of the fanbase really wants to see him succeed. There’s a bond there that can only authentically come from sharing so many years of highs-and-lows. He also apparently sells a ton of merchandise, which WWE sources have repeatedly told journalists about for months. He’s got all the ingredients you’d typically look for in a WWE Champion, but winning the big belt shouldn’t be about checking off some boxes. It should be about being a better option than the guy currently holding the belt, and from where I sit, Roman is still the better choice.
You think Cody sells a lot of merchandise? Go to a WWE show and see how many Bloodline t-shirts are in the crowd. You think Cody Rhodes gets a pop when he comes out? I was at Raw in St Louis a few weeks ago, and the crowd popped more from Roman Reigns getting out of his vehicle on the jumbotron than they did for Cody’s entrance music. To be clear, this is not a shot at Rhodes. He’s in a better position than everyone but just a handful of people on the card, but Roman Reigns is still the star attraction by a longshot.
Cody Rhodes’ Story Would Be Better With A Near-Miss
Cody Rhodes’ wrestling journey has not been the easiest path. He’s been a sidekick, played characters he didn’t like and worked in places that weren’t exactly SoFi Stadium. He’s earned the right to play the underdog card and talk about finally climbing the moment and getting rewarded. It’s all very authentic, except, he’s gone an entire year without a loss. Yes, he was hurt for awhile in there, but he beat Seth Rollins in three major premium live events, won the Royal Rumble and has dominated countless matches on Raw. To younger fans, especially those who don’t follow AEW, he’s basically a smaller version of Gunther. So… are we really sure this eventual championship win wouldn’t feel sweeter if he encountered some more recent heartbreak?
With most fans convinced he’s going to win and the celebration parade basically already planned, I can think of no better long-term character development for Cody Rhodes than to get really close and come up short. I’d love to see him get knocked down a peg and have to climb his way back up the card. I don’t want to see a rematch at WrestleMania Backlash. I want to see a difficult journey back up to the top of the card that lasts at least until SummerSlam but ideally until WrestleMania 40. He can win then and it’ll feel that much more incredible. Sometimes delayed gratification is the best gratification.
There’s More Bloodline Story To Tell
For the last few years, The Bloodline has been the clear A-plot of WWE programming. For the last six months or so, it’s been one of the best stories in the history of wrestling. Sami Zayn, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso and everyone else involved have been in peak form and doing the best work of their entire careers. Now, it’s all supposedly culminating at WrestleMania 39, but I don’t know a single person that’s ready to move on. We all want more from The Bloodline, and while Triple H and company have done what they can to work Cody Rhodes into the plot, he’s really plot-adjacent.
And yes, you can continue The Bloodline story without the belts on Roman, but I have a hard time seeing him lose to Cody Rhodes and then not wanting a rematch. I don’t really think that fits with his character, who cares so much about appearances. So, I’d like to continue The Bloodline plot for another year. I’d like to see The Usos lose their belts, while Roman wins. I’d like to see what that further imbalance of power would do to their relationship. I’d like to see Roman slowly drive away everyone else close to him over the next year before he’s totally isolated and Cody gets another run down the road without anyone supporting Reigns.
A Win Could Be A Legacy Moment From Roman Reigns
Everyone is extremely caught up in Cody Rhodes’ story and what a win could do for him and his family. I hear that. Winning the belts at WrestleMania would be the biggest moment of his career and such a terrific payoff to all the years of heartbreak. But a win would be pretty damn awesome for Roman Reigns too. The Tribal Chief is in the midst of the best championship run since Hulk Hogan in the 80s. For almost the entirety of that run, however, fans have expected him to win basically every match.
This main event with Cody Rhodes is the first time in a long time most of the smart fans are expecting him to take an L. That means it’s also the perfect opportunity for him to reassert his dominance and remind everyone of why he’s The Tribal Chief. Legacy victories don’t come from beating Logan Paul in Saudi Arabia. They come from smashing someone everyone expects you to lose to. What’s the biggest win of Brock Lesnar’s career? Probably ending The Undertaker’s streak. What’s the biggest win of Ric Flair’s career? Probably winning the 1992 Royal Rumble because everyone just assumed it would be Hogan again. This could be an all-time victory for Roman Reigns, drawing all-time nuclear heat.
To Sum Up
I have no idea what’s going to happen at WrestleMania 39. Cody Rhodes could easily win, and I could look like an idiot for ever doubting it. I’m perfectly willing to concede that may happen, but I think it’s important for fans to realize that there is a very clear alternative here. Cody’s victory isn’t set in stone. Roman Reigns winning is a legitimate possible outcome, and in my mind, it’s probably the better long-term outcome for Rhodes, Reigns and WWE. Fingers crossed it happens.
WrestleMania 39 streams for free with a Peacock subscription on April 1st and April 2nd, live from Los Angeles. The entire card looks really stacked; so, if you’re even casually into wrestling, you should check it out.