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The Rock Vs. Roman Reigns: A History Of Their WWE Feud

 The Rock on Raw; Roman Reigns on SmackDown.
The Rock on Raw; Roman Reigns on SmackDown.

When WrestleMania 40 takes over Philadelphia in early April, there’s a good chance we will see one of the biggest matches of the modern era and one of the most exciting matchups of the 21st century. Though a one-on-one bout has yet to be confirmed between the two, it appears as if WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns will take on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a match that could be up there with the latter’s WrestleMania 18 match against Hollywood Hulk Hogan, at least in terms of mainstream appeal.

The two “cousins” have been teasing a showdown ever since The Rock returned to WWE at the start of 2024, but their history goes back years. This is something that has been a long time coming. Let’s break down a history shared by these two future WWE Hall of Famers and their potential fight for the title of “Head of the Table.”

Roman Reigns holding up his titles after beating Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 39
Roman Reigns holding up his titles after beating Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 39

Roman Reigns And The Rock Are Both Members Of The Anoa'i Family Wrestling Dynasty

When it comes to family dynasties in the sport of professional wrestling, few are as prolific and successful as the Anoa’i family. Taking a look at the family tree, you’ll find all-time great Pacific Islander wrestlers like Rikishi, Yokozuna, the Wild Samoans, and countless others with successes in the ring dating back to the early days of WWE. In today’s WWE, Roman Reigns is, without a doubt, the biggest name in the family and he has used the dynasty’s history and dynamics the past few years as part of the Bloodline stable.

Though The Rock isn’t an actual relative of Roman Reigns, he’s considered part of the Anoa’i family because his maternal grandfather, Peter Maivia, and Amituana'i Anoa'i were “blood brothers,” and that connection has sustained over the past few decades. Not quite blood, but closer than friends, these two WWE superstars have been a part of each other’s lives for years.

The Rock and Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble 2016
The Rock and Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble 2016

The Rock Tried And Failed To Get Roman Reigns Over With Fans At The 2015 Royal Rumble

The Rock and Roman Reigns’ WWE interactions go back to the early days of The Shield when the dominant stable performed the signature triple powerbomb on the People’s Champion. However, the family connection between the future Tribal Chief and wrestler-turned-actor didn’t become a part of the story until the disastrous 2015 Royal Rumble where The Rock tried to put Reigns over in front of a Philadelphia crowd that was just not having it.

If you watched the PPV live or at least watched the video afterward, you’ll probably remember the look of confusion on The Rock’s face as the chorus of boos rained down upon the ring like trash after a big heel turn in the territorial days. When their feud begins to pick up, this moment is all but guaranteed to play a major role in their story heading into WrestleMania.

Uli Latukefu and Bowie Walton on Young Rock
Uli Latukefu and Bowie Walton on Young Rock

A Showdown Is Teased On Young Rock

Young Rock featured all kinds of depictions of WWE superstars ranging from icons of the Rock ‘n’ Wrestling days to the Attitude Era, but it spent even more time focusing on the dynamics of Dwayne Johnson’s larger-than-life family. During the show’s second season, a potential showdown between The Rock and Roman Reigns was briefly teased.

In the episode, the family is sitting around watching wrestling when a young Joe Anoa’i (Bowie Walton) grabs ahold of his cousin (played by Uli Latukefu) and challenges him to a match. However, Dwayne tells his preteen cousin that the world isn’t ready and that a match that big could only happen at WrestleMania. The following season, the show would show the Universal Championship in The Rock’s office, further fanning the flames of a rumored showdown between the two.

Dwayne
Dwayne

Dwayne Johnson Started Teasing A WrestleMania 40 Match In September 2023

There were rumblings of a WrestleMania 39 match between The Rock and Roman Reigns when Dwyane Johnson was promoting Black Adam in October 2022, but that bout never came to fruition. Nearly a year later, in September 2023, Johnson shed some light on the situation, telling ESPN’s The Pat McAfee Show that while there were talks to have a match between the two, the plans fell through and they decided to get together at a later time to figure it out.

During the same appearance, The Rock did more than leave the door open for a return match against his cousin at WrestleMania 40 when he lifted his trademark eyebrow for the crowd and said he was “open” to a fight. Though Johnson didn’t bring up his cousin or a potential match when he made a surprise appearance on SmackDown later that night, his showing up was a sign that he was back in the fold.

The Rock on Raw
The Rock on Raw

The Rock Returns At WWE Day 1 2024, Asks If He Should ‘Sit At The Head Of The Table’

On New Year’s Day 2024, The Rock made another surprise appearance on WWE TV when he showed up at WWE’s Day One, a special episode of Raw. After cutting down former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal in the middle of the ring, Rocky did everything from poke fun at his Baywatch movie to going through his repertoire of catchphrases and poses. But before the most electrifying man in sports entertainment exited the ring, he not-so-subtly teased a match with Roman Reigns when he asked if he should “sit at the head of the table.”

This obvious jab at Reigns, who has long claimed to be the “head of the table” throughout the excellent Bloodline story, got wrestling fans and the internet extremely hyped for what could be happening down the line. Well, everyone except for the WWE Universal Champion.

Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman on SmackDown
Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman on SmackDown

Roman Reigns Laughs Off The Rock's Comments, Paul Heyman Reacts In Promo

In the aftermath of The Rock’s return, the internet was going crazy with talk about the implications of his jab at Roman Reigns, but the Tribal Chief didn’t seem too worried about it on the next episode of SmackDown when he just brushed off a question about the comments and laughed as he walked away.

That same night, Paul Heyman, the Tribal Chief’s Wise Man and closet confidant, spoke for Reigns and dropped a blistering promo where he said that just because The Rock name-dropped Reigns, it didn’t mean he was going to get a shot to sit at the Head of the Table. Heyman said that to sit at the table, one must be “invited to a dinner of relevancy,” and The Rock has received no invitation, nor will he. We’ll have to see about that…

A lot can happen between now and April and this feud between The Rock and Roman Reigns could go in any direction on the Road to WrestleMania. But the only way to watch what could be the biggest WrestleMania match in years, as well as other upcoming WWE events, is with a Peacock subscription.