WWE’s decision to replace Cody Rhodes with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the WrestleMania lineup against Roman Reigns on SmackDown has sparked protests among fans.
Despite Johnson’s popularity, a video of the announcement on WWE’s YouTube channel received over half a million dislikes, with only around 100,000 likes. Fans expressed their preference for Rhodes, who challenged Reigns at the previous year’s WrestleMania, by trending the hashtag #WeWantCody, advocating for Rhodes to compete against Reigns.
This change disappointed fans who were eager to see Rhodes “finish his story” by winning the championship his father, Dusty Rhodes, never did. Rhodes was originally set to face Reigns but was redirected to replace an injured C.M. Punk, leading to speculation about a match against Seth Rollins instead. Fan backlash over these changes has grown, potentially influencing future storyline directions, with WWE wrestlers now engaging with the #WeWantCody hashtag, indicating the fan response might be integrated into the storyline.
As the contentious response spread across social media, Johnson posted early Sunday that he’s got “tough skin, love the passion.”
This controversy coincides with WWE grappling with negative publicity due to allegations of sexual assault against its founder Vince McMahon, who resigned amid the scandal and is under federal investigation.