WWE Rumors: The Rock's WrestleMania Match; Cody Rhodes' Injury; The Usos' Tag Titles

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 20, 2023

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Actor Dwayne Johnson attends the "Black Adam" premiere at Cine Capitol on October 19, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Beatriz Velasco/Getty Images)
Beatriz Velasco/Getty Images

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.

The Rock Reportedly Now 'Less Likely' to Compete at WrestleMania

The rumored match between Roman Reigns and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at WrestleMania 39 in April reportedly may be in jeopardy.

According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Subhojeet Mukherjee of Ringside News), The Rock has "indicated" to WWE officials that he doesn't feel he has enough time to get into the kind of shape he needs to in order to have a WrestleMania main event match against Reigns.

Meltzer noted that while it is possible The Rock is keeping his true intentions close to the vest, it is now less likely than initially thought that he will compete at WrestleMania, although he left the door open to do something in the future.

Per Meltzer, WWE has long had a backup plan in place since it was always known that The Rock wasn't a sure thing for WrestleMania until he fully committed.

Although neither WWE nor The Rock have ever suggested a WrestleMania 39 match was in the cards, fans have often discussed it, especially since Reigns is his real-life cousin and in the midst of one of the most dominant world-title runs in WWE history.

The speculation ramped up a bit this week on Raw when it was announced that on next week's 30th anniversary celebration for Raw, an acknowledgement ceremony will be held for Reigns, featuring every generation of his family.

Since The Rock is part of his family, the assumption was he would either appear or simply not show up, the latter of which would give Reigns a reason to want to fight him.

There was also some thought that The Rock could be a surprise entrant in the men's Royal Rumble match on Jan. 28, and potentially even the winner.

If it turns out that The Rock is not in the plans for WrestleMania 39, all signs point toward Cody Rhodes winning the Rumble and being Reigns' opponent.

Rhodes Was Reportedly Not Cleared to Wrestle As of This Week

Cody Rhodes announced this week on Raw that he will be part of the men's Royal Rumble match next weekend, but he reportedly had yet to receive clearance to wrestle at that point.

According to Meltzer (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), Rhodes was not officially cleared to return from a torn pectoral muscle when the video package aired on Monday's Raw, but it is likely just a "formality."

Meltzer also reported that Rhodes, who has been out for over seven months, has recently been training at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.

Prior to his scheduled Hell in a Cell match against Seth Rollins at the Hell in a Cell premium live event in June, Rhodes tore his pec, which put the highly anticipated bout in question.

Despite the severity of the injury, Rhodes wrestled through. That made for one of the most memorable moments in wrestling in quite some time, as he revealed his badly bruised chest when the match began.

The American Nightmare picked up the win, but Rollins attacked him on the following episode of Raw, which was WWE's way of writing him off television.

Fans have assumed ever since then that Rhodes would be back for the Rumble, and a series of vignettes in recent weeks confirmed that to be true.

Rhodes is viewed not only as one of the top contenders to win the men's Rumble match, but also the odds-on favorite.

If he pulls off the feat, he will have a guaranteed world title match at WrestleMania 39, and his opponent would likely be Reigns in the main event.

WWE Reportedly No Longer Treating Tag Team Titles as Unified

The Usos have defended the undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships for the past several months, but WWE has reportedly changed the way it will present the titles moving forward.

According to Meltzer (h/t Upton), WWE is now treating the Raw and SmackDown Tag Team Championships as separate titles. The decision was reportedly made by WWE head of creative Triple H since it may lead to fans having more belief that The Usos may lose one set of titles rather than both in a title defense.

On next week's episode of Raw, The Usos will defend only the Raw Tag Team Championships against The Judgment Day.

It was also recently announced on SmackDown that a tournament will be held to determine the No. 1 contenders for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.

The Usos are already the longest-reigning tag champs in WWE history, having held the SmackDown tag-team titles for well over 500 days. In May, The Usos added the Raw tag-team titles to the equation when they beat RK-Bro in a unification match.

While The Usos had been defending both sets of belts ever since then, it is clear that a significant change was recently made.

The alteration could be WWE's way of breaking up the tag titles again without forcing The Usos to lose the distinction of being champions, and it is fair to wonder if WWE may also be testing the waters to do something similar with Reigns and the undisputed WWE Universal Championship in the future.

Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: profanity).