When Cody Rhodes seemingly handed off his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship opportunity to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson right after winning the 2024 Royal Rumble, it turned heads around the professional wrestling industry.

Why, many wondered, would Rhodes win a match that guaranteed him a title shot, point at Reigns in his skybox, and effectively announce that “I want you!” in the ring at the end of January only to pass it off to The Rock at the beginning of February in order to give the Hollywood Superstar a vanity match for the biggest prize in sports entertainment? And why did the match fall apart a few weeks later, giving fans what they wanted all along?

Was this booking strategy simply thrown together based on the way the wind was blowing that particular week? Or was this all part of a bigger strategy? Well, in an interview on Busted Open Radio, Seven Bucks SVP Brian Gewirtz revealed how the ultimate main event of the show came together, and how The Rock felt about changing his plans.

“He proposed a tag match, as the main event of WrestleMania. He liked the elements, he liked teaming with Roman, the image of bada**ery, the throwback to WrestleMania 1 and the tag match that main evented. I said, ‘I love the tag match too, but that can't be the main event. That can be night one, but I don't think there is a world that exists anymore that can't end with Cody beating Roman for the title on night two.' It was agreed,” Brian Gewirtz revealed on Busted Open Radio via Fightful.

“‘Figure out a way to get the tag match to the singles match.' We had an idea, by the time we got to the press conference, it was a different stipulation than it ended up being. I don't think anyone loved them. Without getting into specifics, it was more, ‘If this team wins, this is the match. If this team wins, this is the match.' It was problematic because it required Cody winning twice. You need that emotional release. He has to lose the first night. You have to have Cody win when he wins with everything on the line. Two days after the press conference, I threw out Bloodline rules, or everyone is banned from ringside to Rock. Rock loved it. He called Nick (Khan), Ari (Emanuel), he talked to Triple H. I talked to Ed (Kosky) and Bruce (Prichard) on the creative team. Everyone was like, ‘Great, this is what we're going to do now.' We're off to the races, and then everything started flowing.”

If WWE had to change up the main event picture of WrestleMania 40, again, after Rhodes pushed himself into the main event, it's nice to know that The Rock was willing to do what made the most sense for the business instead of what put himself in the best light. Granted, he still got a main event win at WrestleMania 40, but in the end, Rhodes got his moment, creating a new feud that won't be paid off any time soon but could be in the future, which is all that matters.

The Rock holds no ill will towards Cody Rhodes for getting over.

Elsewhere in his interview with Busted Open Radio, Brian Gewirtz further clarified why Paul “Triple H” Levesque couldn't keep Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the main event of WrestleMania 40, with the former WWE writer declared that “The Great One” didn't hold it against his eventual Night 1 foe.

“The idea, it wasn't necessarily my idea, but we all said, ‘This is where we're at.' The story for Cody is to win the belt that his dad could never win. It's not to beat Roman Reigns and not to do it at WrestleMania. It's technically, obviously, that's the ideal place to do it, and it's the best version of it, but the idea is, ‘I need to win this belt.' I'm not saying this is a good idea, but it's where we were left after the injuries and everything else. If Cody himself somewhat endorses this idea and paves the way for Rock and Roman, and he does it in a confident, ‘I know what I'm doing.' Maybe, maybe not, but maybe the audience would go along with it. It is nearly an impossible situation to put Cody in. He can't be like he just won the Showcase Showdown on Price is Right. People would be like, ‘That's insane, he would not be happy about this.' If he's too morose, that's also not ideal. Certainly more natural, but not ideal. You're hoping for a sweet spot of steely confidence. ‘Roman, you're going to get f**ked over twice and I'm going to finish my story in the end.' You don't know how it's going to go until they step through the curtain. Cody and Rock did the segment. It was a little more downtrodden than I was expecting, watching from the audience, but it's an impossible position,” Brian Gewirtz noted.

“This is why I said I don't blame Cody. Cody and Rock side barred on this. I think Cody's attitude was, ‘I don't like the decision, but I understand the business to be done here. I'll go ahead the best that I can do it.' He did it. At the time, we certainly weren't thinking, ‘Cody ruined our brilliant creative.' All of us going into it were like, ‘I don't know if this is going to work, but let's see what happens.' For a second, it seemed fine, because the crowd popped big. Rock and Roman had their stare off. Everyone in Gorilla was like, ‘Great, we're on track.' Then, the vitriol came.”

Did Rhodes go into business for himself on the Road to WrestleMania 40, using every tool in his belt outside of outright politicking for the main event to anyone with a microphone and a platform? Maybe so, Rhodes cut his promos in a way that suggested that he was being screwed over, and that caused fans to get in his corner. Still, in the end, the match worked out the way it was supposed to, and even if Triple H didn't see it at first, he got to the correct conclusion in the end.