Cody Rhodes Talks The Rock; Logan Paul Calls Out Roman Reigns; NJPW Eyes Ronda Rousey | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors
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Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Rhodes Confident The Rock Won’t Take His WrestleMania Spot
For the first time since The Rock revealed in September that he nearly headlined WrestleMania 39 against Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes responded this week to speculation that The Rock could supplant him as Reigns’ challenger next year at WrestleMania 40.
During an appearance on Busted Open Radio (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), Rhodes praised The Rock before expressing unwavering confidence that his spot at WrestleMania 40 is cemented regardless of what The Rock decides:
“I’m not flinching. I feel if The Rock and I were in the same room, he would expect nothing less from me. If you think it’s somebody else, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure you know it’s me. That’s the same attitude The Rock had when he was climbing the ladder.
“I don’t care who it is. If that happens to be The Rock. If it happens to be anybody. A wonderful Superstar like LA Knight, a stellar performer like Sami Zayn. Line them up and I’m going to do everything I can to outrun them. I mean that with the utmost respect. I wasn’t shook at all by Rock’s big day out. What I would say is: not flinching. If Rock is part of WrestleMania 40, that would be outstanding, it’s The Rock, but I don’t think he’ll be in my spot.”
During an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show in September, The Rock said he and Reigns were “locked in” as the main event of WrestleMania 39 before things fell apart when the parties involved could not agree on the next step coming out of WrestleMania:
That opened the door for Rhodes to win the 2023 men’s Royal Rumble match and face Reigns at WrestleMania 39, but Reigns prevailed thanks to interference from Solo Sikoa.
During the same interview with McAfee, The Rock said he was open to revisiting a match against Reigns at WrestleMania 40, and later that same day, he and McAfee appeared on SmackDown together and beat down Austin Theory.
Since Cody’s loss to Reigns, WWE has seemingly been telling the story of The American Nightmare going to great lengths to get another shot at The Tribal Chief.
All signs point toward a Reigns vs. Rhodes rematch at WrestleMania 40, although it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that The Rock could throw a wrench into those plans.
If The Rock makes it clear that he wants to face his cousin, it would likely be tough for WWE to turn down that dream match.
Even so, Rhodes seems to believe that Cody vs. Roman II in the main event of WrestleMania 40 has a strong chance of happening.
Logan Paul Calls Out Reigns, Other WWE Superstars
Fresh off his United States Championship win over Rey Mysterio at Crown Jewel, Logan Paul is ready to take on all-comers.
Speaking on the YouTube channel of his brother, Jake Paul, Logan discussed his potential future opponents (h/t Upton):
“Listen bro, whoever wants it, whoever wants it,” Paul said. “If it’s Roman [Reigns], if it’s Cody [Rhodes], if it’s LA Knight, I don’t give a s–t. I’ll take on both the Usos at once. I don’t give a damn.”
Paul has taken to pro wrestling like a fish to water since making his in-ring debut at WrestleMania 38.
The social media star has far exceeded expectations by consistently putting on excellent in-ring performances, cutting quality promos and fleshing out a believable heel character.
It seemed like it was only a matter of time before Paul became a champion, and it happened at Crown Jewel when Santos Escobar left a pair of brass knuckles in the ring and Paul used them to punch Mysterio.
Of the Superstars Paul mentioned, Knight is perhaps the most likely to face him for the U.S. title moving forward since Reigns and Rhodes look to be on a collision course with each other for WrestleMania 40.
Paul already has a match against Reigns under his belt, challenging him for the undisputed WWE Universal Championship last year.
Reigns won the match as expected, but Paul turned in a remarkable performance in what was likely the best bout of his career thus far.
The door may be open for Reigns and Paul to do battle again one day, but it probably won’t be in the cards for quite some time.
Rousey Receives Open Invitation to Join NJPW
Amid her foray into the world of independent wrestling, Ronda Rousey has a standing offer to work with a bigger company.
Speaking to Fightful (h/t Subhojeet Mukherjee of Ringside News), New Japan Pro-Wrestling star and ambassador commented on the idea of Rousey working for New Japan or one of its subsidiaries:
“I’m all for [Rousey in New Japan Strong or Stardom]. I’ve never met Ronda. I’m on [Wrestling Revolver Unreal]. I definitely look forward to connecting with her. If there is ever a possibility that Ronda could show up on a New Japan show and maybe in Stardom, it could be awesome.”
Rousey last wrestled a match for WWE at SummerSlam in August, losing to longtime friend Shayna Baszler in an MMA Rules match.
Not long after, Rousey made a post on Instagram that seemed to indicate she was completely done with wrestling, as she wrote: “Sorry, I couldn’t hear you through my retirement.”
Despite that, Rousey made a surprise appearance at a Lucha VaVoom event last month, teaming with AEW star and friend Marina Shafir to beat Taya Valkyrie and Brian Kendrick, the latter of whom helped train her before her pro wrestling debut.
It was later announced that Rousey will be appear at the Wrestling Revolver Unreal event in Los Angeles this week.
It is unclear if Rousey is content with making sporadic appearances on the independent scene or if she has her sights set on either returning to WWE or working with another major promotion like AEW or NJPW.
While Rousey is still best known for being the first dominant force and huge draw in women’s MMA, and the inaugural UFC women’s bantamweight champion, she achieved great success in pro wrestling in a short amount of time as well.
Over the course of two stints with WWE that lasted a little over two years, Rousey was a two-time SmackDown women’s champion, one-time Raw women’s champion, one-time WWE women’s tag team champion and one-time women’s Royal Rumble winner.
Most notably, she was part of the first women’s match to main event a WrestleMania at WrestleMania 35.
Rousey’s star power is undeniable, and any wrestling company would benefit from working with her, including NJPW.
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