WRESTLEMANIA XL: It’s Time for the Roman Reigns Era to End

The Illuminerdi's Jeffrey Harris explains why WrestleMania XL is the right time to finally end the Roman Reigns era.
WrestleMania XL Cody Rhodes vs Roman Reigns II banner

So the game is now set. The WWE Universe has its main event for WrestleMania XL. Cody Rhodes will once again challenge the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns, in a rematch of the main event for last year’s WrestleMania 39. Once more, Cody Rhodes has the opportunity to “finish the story.” That means winning the title Reigns now holds. It’s the one major title his dad never won during his career. That is the title that Cody wants, and it’s been his mission since he returned to WWE two years ago.

WWE took some winding turns to get to this road. At first, it didn’t seem clear that Cody would be the one to win the Royal Rumble. But then he did, becoming only the fourth man in history to win the Royal Rumble two years in a row (Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Hulk Hogan are the other three).

RELATED: WRESTLEMANIA XL: Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns Showdown Becomes Official

At first, it appeared that Cody Rhodes was willing to give up his slot at WrestleMania to The Rock. Seth Rollins even campaigned for a match with Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 40. However, fans soundly rejected those scenarios. WWE’s storytelling with Cody worked too well. The WWE Universe bought into Cody Rhodes and his need to finish the story. As a result, WWE’s attempt to create a fantasy dream match between The Rock and Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40 totally backfired. Fans rejected the idea, and they rejected The Rock; an almost incredulous idea noting his popularity and history as a well-liked Superstar.

Now that the stage has been set for WrestleMania XL, WWE can’t keep dangling the carrot and yanking the football away from Charlie Brown at the last moment. The story has to finally finish at WrestleMania 40, and the Roman Reigns era finally has to come to an end. Otherwise, WWE seriously runs the risk of angering its fanbase and going back to the problems of the old regime all over again.


Ever since Roman Reigns returned to the WWE several years ago, turned heel, and aligned with Paul Heyman, it was a huge turning point for his career. Suddenly, he finally became the top Superstar and headliner WWE had been striving to make him into for years. He was no longer cutting awful, forced promos. He finally had an edge that he’d been missing. The days, of canned garbage catchphrases, such as, “I’m not a good guy. I’m not a bad guy. I’m just the guy.”

WrestleMania 39 banner - Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns
Courtesy of WWE

Reigns has had an incredible, singular run as champion. But whether he and Paul Heyman like it or not, his title reign has run its course. His top contenders have been exhausted. There’s literally no one else for him to face or oppose. The Sami Zayn angle ran its course too, and ultimately, Sami was chosen not to be the face of the company or be the guy to tear down Roman Reigns and The Bloodline. It’s not going to be Jey Uso. WWE tried to make it The Rock, and the fans rejected it. They didn’t want The Rock. They wanted Cody.

This is the climax and final inning of Roman Reigns and The Bloodline. People who said Cody Rhodes needed to lose at WrestleMania 39 voiced that Cody Rhodes needed more adversity. He’s had adversity. He had an extended feud with Brock Lesnar over the spring and summer after Lesnar brutalized Cody. Cody ultimately won that. Cody then won his second Royal Rumble. It’s time to finally pull the trigger. If Cody loses again, then what’s the point?

The fact of the matter is, there are many ways this could go horribly wrong. Seth Rollins has inserted himself into this feud with The Bloodline. Originally, Seth Rollins was a rival to Cody Rhodes. He wanted to face Cody due to their past feud in 2022 when Seth lost every major match to Cody on WWE’s premium live events. So, from a wrestling fan standpoint, it begs the question: Will Seth Rollins turn on Cody Rhodes? That’s not to say that what will happen, but fans are trained to anticipate such a result for WrestleMania XL.

WrestleMania 39 banner - Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns - Reigns entrance
Courtesy of WWE

This leads to another problem with Roman Reigns as champion. His title matches have become predictable. Every match ends with Solo Sikoa or someone else interfering, attacking Roman’s opponent, and enabling Roman getting the easy path to retaining the belt. It’s become tiresome and repetitive. This is another reason why it’s time to freshen up the main event scene.

Think about this. If Cody Rhodes wins, then you can turn right around and run the immediate rematch with Reigns. Surely Reigns’ run would warrant an immediate hypothetical rematch. Cody winning the rematch will then cement his title run. And with Cody on top, suddenly the WWE has a fresh new slate of main event matchups and title bouts the company can build and market their shows around.


With the aftermath, there are plenty of things that can happen with The Bloodline imploding. Surely, Jimmy Uso will eventually have to have enough of constantly being bullied and talked down to by Roman Reigns. Same with Solo Sikoa. It’s already happened with Jimmy Uso once. Not to mention, Roman Reigns is already on a part-time schedule. That means he can transition into being a special attraction without the title, and it will be a good spot for him.

WWE WrestleMania 39 - Cody Rhodes
Courtesy of WWE.

Either way, WWE cannot afford another incident of testing fans’ patience come time for WrestleMania XL. If they’ve already pivoted back to Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns due to how resoundingly fans, or the “Cody Crybabies” as The Rock calls them, rejected Cody not getting the chance to finish the story, how do they think they will react to another screwjob finish and win for Roman Reigns. If the WWE brass continues going to that well, it’s like the boy who cried wolf.

The right move, the only move, for the main event of WrestleMania XL is for Cody Rhodes to finally finish the story. If not, WWE is going to have a lot of problems on its hands, and they will be driving fans back to the other alternatives just like several years ago when fans wanted things to change. At WrestleMania XL, it’s time for the story to end and to start a new one. Cody Rhodes finishes the story. The Roman Reigns Era comes to an end, and a new one will begin.

RELATED: WWE, Don’t You Dare Sacrifice Cody Rhodes’ Story for The Rock!

Ultimately, the payoff comes on April 6-7 when WrestleMania XL hits Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The show will be broadcast live on Peacock.

About WrestleMania XL

WrestleMania XL Cody Rhodes vs Roman Reigns II

When: April 6-7, 2024
Where: Lincoln Financial Field (One Lincoln Financial Field Way, Philadelphia, PA 19148)
Pricing: Tickets available now at Ticketmaster
Broadcast Distribution: Peacock
About: WrestleMania returns to Philadelphia for the first time in 25 years and the very first time at Lincoln Financial Field on April 6th and 7th, 2024 for this 2-day event! Witness your favorite Superstars from Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown as they take the stage at the showcase of the immortals!

That was my two cents, but what do you think? Do you think Cody Rhodes should finish the story at WrestleMania XL, or do you think the Roman Reigns era should continue? Should Roman Reigns surpass the title run for Hulk Hogan in the 1980s? Let us know your thoughts about the event on The Illuminerdi’s social media.

KEEP READING: How I Just Saved WrestleMania XL for WWE for Free


Picture of Jeff Harris

Jeff Harris

Jeffrey is an entertainment journalist and podcast host based in Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Radio, TV, & Film and a Bachelor of Arts in Theater. Jeffrey is also a Staff Writer at where he writes about movies, TV, games, wrestling, interviews talent, and covers special events such as Anime Expo, Comic-Con, and CinemaCon. When Jeffrey is not binging his favorite seasonal anime or show, he enjoys playing dodge ball, gaming, watching films, and enjoying UT football. You can find him on Twitter @Wheeljack83.