The Rock The Rock joined The Pat McAfee Show on Thursday to discuss the muddied Mania XL main event, and the reactions that have followed.

The WrestleMania XL main event is… well, there’s still a lot of ambiguity in the air. As a massive press event is set to unfold later Thursday in Las Vegas, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson decided to get himself involved in the mania again.

Johnson appeared on Thursday’s episode of The Pat McAfee Show. During that appearance, the Mania XL main event discussion came up. There’s been a clear direction involving WWE superstar Cody Rhodes, but after a shocking moment last Friday night on SmackDown, The Rock also appears involved in the thick of it.

Hysteria ensued, and a swath of Cody fans surged to rally behind their beloved babyface. On Thursday’s episode, The Rock publicly addressed the situation to McAfee in classic Rock fashion- or at least an attempt at it.

“There’s the other passionate fans of Cody. And they’re called the Cody Crybabies,” Rock said. “It was the Cody Crybabies. These are grown ass men. ‘Yeah, Cody’s gotta finish his story! His story right now!’ ‘Dad, you wanna go outside and play catch with me?’ ‘Not now, I’m upset!’ The wife comes in. ‘Hey honey, do you wanna go have sex?’ ‘Not now! Cody has to finish his story!'”

More from Rock:

“At the end of the day, you’ve got the Cody Crybabies, the Cody fans, and you have Cody himself. And there’s a clear distinction between the three. But The Rock says this: Those Cody Crybabies, the ones for every ten tweets they’re shoving a Chicken McNugget in their mouth, for every 20 tweets, they’re shoving two McNuggets up their ass! The Rock says this. All you gotta do is know your role, shut your mouth, and enjoy the ride that The Rock is gonna take your candy asses on it. So hashtag that! Hashtag shut your b—- asses up! Hashtag Cody Crybabies.”

For the uninitiated, let’s bring things up to speed:

Back on January 27th, Cody Rhodes won the 2024 Men’s Royal Rumble Match. Rhodes pointed at the WrestleMania sign during his celebration and turned his attention elsewhere. He then pointed at WWE Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns, signifying that the long-awaited sequel to the WrestleMania 39 about everyone still talks about now was next in line.

As we know it, things appeared to take a drastic change last week. Rhodes appeared on Monday Night Raw but couldn’t mind his own business. World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins came down to the ring and goaded, and at times appeared to beg, Rhodes to challenge him instead. Cody said he’d wait on it and tabled a pivotal segment between Rhodes and Reigns for last Friday night’s episode of SmackDown.

Well, that didn’t quite happen either. Rhodes told Reigns he wanted to “take everything away” from WWE’s Tribal Chief… “but not at WrestleMania,” Rhodes added. That brought The Rock out.

Since then, nothing’s quite been announced but has been heavily teased. The Rock and Roman Reigns stared each other down and appeared to signify that they were going to wrestle at WrestleMania XL instead. As Smackdown went off the air, the Press Event was advertised heavily in the lower third, as they slapped a conveniently timed graphic up while Rock and Reigns stared each other down.

In an attempt to be fair, let’s point out this: Over the weekend, Ava Raine, Johnson’s daughter, became the subject of death threats and harassment from wrestling fans. Presumably, the ones who were upset that it appears like Rhodes isn’t getting the title shot that his fans have believed he was going to. This is unjustified, wrong, and frankly, wild behavior that shouldn’t be tolerated. There’s no reason or rationale behind sending threats to Raine, an on-screen character on WWE NXT, who has no affiliation to the situation other than her family connection.

So, to that end, does The Rock’s tirade make sense? Of course, it does. In targeting those people, the “crybabies,” as Rock referred to, he likely refers to the insane crowd. There are plenty of ways to catch these people, as they’re usually pretty broad and obvious.

But there is an issue with this. While it’s fair to argue that Rock clearly distinguished who his onslaught was toward, it’s hard to think or trust that the fanbases are nuanced enough to distinguish themselves.

Amid all the hysteria, it’s true that there were plenty of rational people out there who were irritated by this situation. It doesn’t even make a lot of sense when you piece the entire angle together. Making things make sense is not only a priority in wrestling, it was also an issue for several years before.

Everyone suddenly being okay with the proceedings doesn’t really match the beat of the drum that’s been beaten for many years. Part-timers online were often given the business.

If someone argued that they were there for “business,” they’d get shot down, and rightly told that it doesn’t matter to them, and that they want someone who’s there all the time to be rewarded. Fast-forward to 2024, and the conversation seemingly has reversed for some reason.

So, in other words, even while distinguishing the groups? It still kind of misses the mark. Pro wrestling relies heavily on connection and investment. It’s not professional sports, and despite attempts to “sportsify” wrestling, it rarely ever works for a reason.

The temperature and the tone have changed all around us. When people see “business” moves being made to shortchange other people, they don’t usually just ride along with it. They rebel. They clash. And Cody fans, whether they’re “crybabies” or not, are just doing that. Supporters of this projected match between Rock and Reigns have cited WrestleMania as being the end-all spectacle, and that it involves two mega-stars, so they have to push their chips in to make money. The problem with that thought is that WrestleMania XL has been sold out for several months. So from that end, you’re only playing for the margins. Is that worth it?

Rock’s material, for 2024, also came under fire. It was pretty weak to rely on jokes alluding to “lonely wrestling fans.”

Cody’s fanbase has wanted something for nearly an entire year, and after much swearing up and down that the sequel would lead to the conclusion they deem right, it’s now up in the air. The ambiguity still exists. It’s not like they never hinted at it, either. Mocking over investment or care in a storyline is kind of ridiculous, especially since it’s the entire point of it.

There’ve been factions developed who have thought this over the week, and Rock’s comments definitely don’t put out the fire. There’s plenty of merit to being disappointed that something that appeared promised was pulled under the rug from him, and Rhodes going with the other Option might not even stand a prayer unfortunately.

Not to mention: Let’s say the company proceeds with Rock-Roman. The Rock cut a promo on the fanbase of the biggest babyface in the company. Is that supposed to help things?

The truth is that this situation never really needed to happen. The Rock joined the TKO Board of Directors and seemingly weaved his way into the discussion. And the WrestleMania main event picture. We’ll likely know, one way or another, how it will all unfold Thursday night. But all the ambiguity continues to be so very needless.

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022