Cody Rhodes Reveals How WWE Royal Rumble 2024 Was "Such a Low" in His Career

Rhodes found out about The Rock replacing him on the day of the event.

In an alternate timeline, WWE WrestleMania 40 would have ended very differently. Going into this past January's WWE Royal Rumble, the stars seemed to be aligning for the Showcase of the Immortals' weekend of main events to be CM Punk vs. then-WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes vs. then-Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. That made it all the more unpredictable when Punk and Rhodes were the final two in the multi-man battle royal, and all the more shocking when Rhodes tossed Punk over the top rope to win his second consecutive Royal Rumble Match.

While Rhodes did not blatantly announce which title he would challenge for at WWE WrestleMania 40, he made his intentions abundantly clear by pointing at Reigns in his skybox. After the premium live event ended, Rhodes spoke passionately at the post-show press conference, leaving his usual humility at the door in order to put his foot down about his status within WWE.

"Here's the news. Here's the headline: I am the guy. And I have been the guy," Rhodes stated. "I am a three count or a submission away from being the quarterback of the greatest and most prosperous era in the history of sports entertainment."

Cody Rhodes Re-Contextualizes WWE Royal Rumble 2024

(Photo: WWE)

The American Nightmare's impassioned words from January take on a whole new meaning when that day is re-contextualized.

"I found out the possibility of The Rock vs. Roman Reigns the day of the Royal Rumble," WWE Champion Cody Rhodes revealed to Busted Open Radio. "I had to leave that room, head up, and make sure no one knew what could possibly happen."

Weeks prior, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson had made another one of his one-off WWE appearances, berating a midcard heel before hitting a finisher on him to pop the crowd. Instead of ending with a catchphrase, The Rock teased sitting at "the head of the table," the first verbal hint at the long-awaited Rock vs. Roman Reigns match. When it became clear that the only way Rock vs. Reigns could happen at WWE WrestleMania 40 was by forcing Rhodes to sit on the sidelines, fans expressed distaste. That distaste turned into a full-on revolt when WWE blatantly stepped back Rhodes vs. Reigns plans by having Rhodes gift his Royal Rumble victory to The Rock on an episode of WWE SmackDown.

"It was probably one of the more difficult days I've had in the wrestling business. How could I complain when you're winning the Royal Rumble and you're pointing at the sign?" Rhodes continued. "It was such a high, such a low."

WWE didn't take long to course correct, locking in Rhodes vs. Reigns as the WWE WrestleMania 40 main event just five days after it was controversially changed. This whole situation ended up being a blessing in disguise, as it led to The Rock doing some of the best character work of his career and a multi-generational conclusion to Reigns's four-year run with the title.

Rock is expected to face Rhodes upon his WWE return, likely close to WWE WrestleMania 41 season.