An American Nightmare is coming to the grandest stage of them all. Cody Rhodes punched his ticket to WWE WrestleMania 39 this past weekend when he won the men's Royal Rumble match, guaranteeing him a world title bout at April's showcase of the immortals. With one man holding both of WWE's top prizes, Rhodes's decision was already locked in for him the second he tossed Gunther over the top rope: he would be facing Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns at WWE WrestleMania 39.
While Rhodes eventually said his opponent's name at the conclusion of his Monday Night Raw promo earlier this week, his focus thus far has been appreciating the position he has put himself in.
"The irony and the potential of a Rhodes going on last [at WrestleMania], when my dad spent eight years competing against WWE," Rhodes said on Impaulsive. "I spent three and stirred up as much trouble as I could possibly stir up. The irony of the potential of going on last under the brightest lights on the grandest stage is just why this place is so good."
Rhodes's return at WWE Royal Rumble marked the first time that he's wrestled since June 2022, as he spent the back-half of last year on the shelf with a torn pectoral. With two matches under his weight belt now, Rhodes has not looked like he's lost a step, but he's emphasized that he wants to continue to earn his WWE WrestleMania 39 main event.
"If a guy or girl is 'the thing,' if they're ready, then they're moving it forward. That's what we're going to push," Rhodes continued. "The idea of it, I don't want to end up like TCU in the National Title game where [you think], 'Maybe I wasn't supposed to be there.'"
TCU was defeated by Georgia 65-7 in the CFB National Championship, the biggest blowout in the title game's history.
"I don't want to shrivel under the lights. I am very much just now letting it all sink in, what we're doing," Rhodes added. "I want to let it all sink in now so I can stop doing the, 'This is amazing, this is going to be great.' You want to pretend like you've been in the end zone. I want to show up, and we've got to deliver. I have to finish the story."
When it comes to what separates himself from Reigns, Rhodes sees one crucial advantage in his favor.
"I think at the end of the day, I want it more," Rhodes concluded. "I hope that's what it comes down to."
Rhodes and Reigns are expected to do battle for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship on WWE WrestleMania 39 Night 2, which goes down on Sunday, April 2nd.