Cody Rhodes The Rock Brian Gewirtz Screen grab: WWE

With WrestleMania XL less than three weeks away, the ongoing feud between Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Cody Rhodes is kicking into gear.

And while the build to WWE’s biggest show of the year has seen the two stars take swipes at each other on the air and social media, now The Rock’s personal writer is also getting involved.

But before we get to that, first, some backstory.

The main event feud for this year’s WrestleMania focuses on Rhodes’ pursuit of the WWE Universal Championship, which has been held by Roman Reigns for more than three years. Reigns successfully defended the title against Rhodes at last year’s WrestleMania, with Rhodes’ victory in this year’s men’s Royal Rumble match giving him the right to challenge “The Tribal Chief” to a rematch.

Only rather than challenging Reigns — as he heavily implied he would — Rhodes seemingly handed his title shot over to The Rock, Reigns’ real-life cousin who also happens to be arguably the biggest star in wrestling history. This led to a revolt from the fans (#WeWantCody) and WWE seemingly switching its plans on the fly, with The Rock and Reigns teaming up as heels (bad guys) against Rhodes and fellow WWE superstar Seth Rollins.

The end result is pair of WrestleMania main events, with The Rock and Reigns facing Rhodes and Rollins in a tag team match on Night 1 and Reigns facing Rhodes for the Universal Championship on Night 2. If Rhodes and Rollins win the tag match, then the singles match between Rhodes and Reigns will be devoid of interference. But if The Rock and Reigns win the tag match, then the singles match will be “Bloodline Rules,” which essentially means that Reigns can legally cheat however he wants to win.

Got it?

The last few weeks have seen the four participants engage in wars of words, with the latest edition coming on Monday’s episode of WWE Raw as Rhodes addressed The Rock in a promo. And like all great wrestling promos, “The American Nightmare” blurred the lines between reality and fiction, crediting The Rock’s personal writer for coming up with the Hollywood star’s new nickname, “The Final Boss.”

“Kudos to Brian Gewirtz for that nickname,” Rhodes said. “Perhaps you are the actual, literal, final boss.”


While Rhodes’ reference to Gewirtz likely flew over the heads of casual fans, it was the type of “insider” reference that makes online “smart marks” (smarks) like myself think, “Wow, this is getting personal.” Despite Larry David’s insistence otherwise, we all know this is scripted. But the more you can do to make the audience think that the heat between two rivals is authentic, the better.

And it didn’t stop there.

Taking to X after the show, Gewirtz responded to Rhodes’ callout. And while The Rock’s creative consultant denied creating the “Final Boss” nickname, he did take credit for another one of The Great One’s recent lines.

“‘Final Boss’ isn’t anything I came up with. @TheRock calls himself that because he is that,” Gewirtz wrote. “If it makes you feel better @CodyRhodes, I was the first to tell him about your spectacularly stupid goofy ass dog.”


Oh yeah. That’s the good stuff.

While The Rock and Rhodes could have gotten by based on their star power alone, they’ve taken the feud to the next level by making it appear extra personal. The invoking of Gewirtz not only adds to that blurring of the lines, but also enhances the perception of The Rock’s “Hollywood” heel persona heading into WrestleMania XL.

Isn’t pro wrestling the best?

[Brian Gewirtz on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.