Roman Reigns left The Rock standing alone in the ring (Picture: WWE)
Roman Reigns left The Rock alone in the ring moments after their path to WrestleMania 40 started to take shape.
It looks all but certain the Tribal Chief will defend the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against his cousin Dwayne Johnson in Philadelphia in April after SmackDown ended with a dramatic stare down.
After Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes essentially stepped aside to allow The Rock to challenge Roman at the Showcase of the Immortals, a graphic appeared promising a WrestleMania media event on Thursday.
It’s expected this will be where the dream match becomes properly official, although everyone is already certain that’s where it’s heading.
WWE has now released footage from after SmackDown went off air, with Roman posing with his title raised in front of The Rock before he and The Bloodline left the ring.
After shading his rival by refusing to engage, they walked down the ramp and headed backstage, leaving Dwayne to address the fans in attendance.
The Rock vs Roman Reigns seems set for WrestleMania (Picture: WWE)
‘It’s become very clear and evident to The Rock that when you want to create something iconic, and when you want to create something magical, you come to the Magic City,’ he said.
‘This is a city deep in history and ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I’m happy to tell you that tonight, all of us, tonight we made history in Birmingham, Alabama.’
Keeping things relatively short and sweet, he signed off with one of his iconic catchphrases, adding: ‘Birmingham, I thank you, I love you. If ya smell what The Rock is cookin’!’
He promised to make history (Picture: WWE)
The Rock’s last proper WWE match was against John Cena (Picture: WWE)
Once it’s fully confirmed, Dwayne’s match with Roman will mark his first official match since beating Wyatt Family member Erick Rowan in six seconds at WrestleMania 32 in 2016.
His last proper full-length match came three years earlier, when he lost to John Cena at WrestleMania 29.
This year’s bout has been talked about behind the scenes and by fans for years, with Roman’s special counsel Paul Heyman previously mocking the Black Adam actor for using it to keep his name out there.
Paul Heyman previously insisted The Rock was using Roman Reigns for clout (Picture: WWE)
Back in 2021, he exclusively told Metro.co.uk: ‘I applaud Dwayne The Rock Johnson for keeping his name out there in the media by expressing a desire to step into the ring with the number one box office attraction in sports, entertainment or sports entertainment, Roman Reigns.’
The rest of WrestleMania is starting to take shape too, with Cody Rhodes seemingly now in line to face Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Elsewhere, Bayley has split from Damage CTRL and chosen to face WWE Women’s Champion Iyo Sky, while Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley is expected to discover her own opponent in her homeland of Australia at Elimination Chamber: Perth later this month.
WWE SmackDown airs Friday nights at 1am on TNT Sports. WrestleMania 40 airs April 6 and 7 at midnight on the WWE Network and TNT Sports Box Office.
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