It’s been a big topic of conversation among fans since the end of Royal Rumble, and one assumes it’s something that’s come up behind the scenes at WWE — should they stick to plans for Rumble winner Cody Rhodes vs. Undisputed WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns, or somehow audible to Reigns vs. Sami Zayn given how hugely popular their storyline in The Bloodline has proven to be.
While he was on The Bump today (Feb. 1), Rhodes was asked about what went down at the end of the Rumble, where Zayn finally turned on Reigns rather than join in The Bloodline’s post-match assault on his long-time friend and oft-time rival Kevin Owens. His answer is in kayfabe, but it weaves in some reality. Overall, you can see the beginnings of a storyline justification for WWE pushing forward with their existing plan:
— WWE (@WWE) February 1, 2023
— WWE (@WWE) February 1, 2023
“Well, there was a whole ‘nother side to it [Royal Rumble’s show-closing angle] that people didn’t see whereas they had a media briefing room, getting ready to do the press conference that took place after the event and there was — I kid you not — probably more than 10 active members of the roster who wanted to go to the aid of both Sami and Kevin. I mean, it was really overkill with the handcuffs and the situation with Kevin, and [they] were not able to. So I hope they don’t feel like they don’t have friends in the locker room.
“Kevin Owens is a friend… he’s responsible for a lot of stuff that’s happened with me, and Sami & I have really just started to develop a relationship recently more than ever. So it’s a sitatuation where maybe, maybe, maybe — again, we’ll find out more on SmackDown — but maybe, it was worth it for Sami Zayn to hear 50,000 people validate a choice, a physical choice that you made.
“Clearly surprised Roman — how it would surprise Roman? This [KO] is someone Sami’s known his whole career and they’ve been intertwined together. I look forward to what takes place next.
“And as much as you say I’m not connected to it, I’ve punched my ticket to the main event of WrestleMania — but I feel connected to it. Because, I mean, The Bloodline is something that’s fully — if you look at all these factions through history, The Horseman, Dangerous Alliance, your D-X, your Evolution, Legacys, whatever — it does have a trickle down effect. It does effect all facets of what we do, so I do feel connected to it. And I honestly wish I’d been able to be there Kevin, and I was not.”
Rhodes’ ties to Owens are legitimate. Both men have spoken about how Cody leaned on KO for advice about navigating and succeeding on the independents after leaving WWE back in 2016, and even introducing him to The Young Bucks. That does give him a reason to want to help Kevin & Sami in their fight against the man he’s set to challenge in SoFi Stadium in April.
He bolsters that position with the logical assertion that having a heel faction running roughshod over a show or promotion is bad for everyone not allied with that group. Naturally, one of wrestling’s last true blue babyfaces would want to play a part in stopping The Bloodline’s reign of terror.
We don’t know whether this is just Cody spitballing an answer (something he’s very good at, and a reason WWE wants him on top asap), or if it’s something WWE creative is cooking up to explain why they’re not main eventing WrestleMania 39 with the angle that’s had the whole wrestling world buzzing for months.
If it is the latter… are you buying it? Is there anything WWE could plot out that would make you okay with Zayn’s story with Reigns wrapping up at Elimination Chamber? Or are already in agreement that Cody’s story is too perfectly set-up in its own right to change or delay at this point?