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What Does The Rock and WWE Gain with WrestleMania XL: Behind The Curtain?

For months, WWE fans have been eagerly awaiting the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson-produced documentary, WrestleMania XL: Behind The Curtain.

The concept of the project was intriguing from the start. The Rock had his own camera crew capturing his return to WWE and documenting the journey to his eventual WrestleMania match. It highlighted the excitement surrounding his return, the setbacks, particularly for Cody Rhodes, and how Paul “Triple H” Levesque and his team finalized the main event: the “American Nightmare” and Seth Rollins versus Roman Reigns and the “Final Boss.”

For fans who weren’t closely following the behind-the-scenes drama from January to the first weekend of April, or those who didn’t watch the promotion’s television throughout the early year, the documentary provides plenty of entertaining tidbits. Moments like when Rhodes discovered the potential Rock-Roman match or the key backstage meetings that decided the final main events are particularly noteworthy.

However, for well-informed fans who followed every step of the way, the documentary comes off as a form of propaganda, if not outright revisionist history.

Consider the revelation that Rhodes was informed the day of the Rumble about the possible Rock-Roman match. If that were true, why did Rhodes, being a loyal company man, point at Reigns and declare his intention to face him, with cameras capturing this and Michael Cole emphasizing it? Wouldn’t it make more sense for Cole to play up the ambiguity and for Rhodes to avoid making such a direct call-out?

The promotion did try to spin this narrative, showcasing The Rock engaging with writers and media to find a way to satisfy everyone. But this feels more like a revisionist spin rather than genuine in-the-moment reactions. Especially considering the documentary clarifies that the initial plan was Rhodes-Reigns, which then shifted to Rock-Reigns, before finally landing on the main event fans saw.

Ultimately, the show provides an insider’s view of The Rock’s return, portraying him as a hero who answered fans’ calls for another match. Even though a Rock-Reigns match now feels improbable in the near future, fans have the ongoing feud between the “Final Boss” and the WWE Champion to look forward to, which serves as a solid payoff to what was a highly debated situation.

On the subject of The Rock’s return and its impact on the WrestleMania 40 plans, the “Final Boss” makes a striking statement in the documentary. He explained how he chose to step aside for Cody Rhodes and his “Cody Crybabies.”

“I called Nick and Triple H, and I called Ari,” The Rock shared, “and I said, ‘Here’s how I’m feeling. We can push forward with this main event, and the majority of the world who don’t watch WWE will love the idea of Rock and Roman, and we’ll tell an amazing story.

“We could do that, but my gut tells me, Ari, Nick, and Triple H, I don’t like that even a segment of fans are upset about it. I knew the choice was essentially mine. Either we push through with this main event, or we don’t, and I chose the latter. I told them we should go with Roman vs. Cody, let Cody finish his story, because it’s critical and important to those fans, the ‘Cody Crybabies’ as I called them.”

Technically, everything The Rock said is correct. Casual fans would have enjoyed Rock-Reigns, and even if it undermined Rhodes’ match, hardcore fans might have eventually accepted it too. Yet, the way he frames it rubs some fans the wrong way. WWE capitalized on the “We Want Cody” sentiment as much, if not more, than the organic fan support seen at shows and online. If The Rock wants to claim that win, he can, though it’s clear it’s not entirely accurate.

Source: various sources