Is the WWE working its fans about its WrestleMania 40 plans? A recent story from Sports Illustrated's Justin Barrasso suggested that the WWE was changing up its plans for WrestleMania 40. However, a new report from WrestleVotes seems to cast doubt on the plans. As WrestleLamia will suggest, the conflicting reports may be a case of the WWE working the media in order to work the fans, keeping them guessing about The Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.
WrestleLamia provided details on Barrasso's report in our latest news video. Barrasso's report presented a much different card for WrestleMania than the one fans have heard rumors about.
First, let's look at the recent rumors on potential WrestleMania matches:
Rhea Ripley vs Becky Lynch
World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins vs CM Punk
Gunther vs Brock Lesnar
Undisputed Champion Roman Reigns vs The Rock and/or Cody Rhodes
Like all rumors, these weren't confirmed, but the WWE's booking suggested at least some of these matches would happen (with the Gunther vs Brock match being the only one that was more a case of the WWE Universe's hopes than any evidence).
Some of these rumored matches seemed to fly out the window after a report from Sports Illustrated's Justin Barrasso. Barrasso noted some changes, including:
World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins vs Gunther
Cody Rhodes vs CM Punk.
Barrasso brought up the long-rumored Roman Reigns vs Rock match:
The latest news that Dwayne “There was already a possibility that it would occur–Rock wasn’t ad-libbing on the New Year’s Day edition of Raw when he delivered the line about being the true head of the table–but his addition to the board provides even more incentive for this to occur. Rock” Johnson has joined the Board of Directors for TKO–WWE’s parent company–has opened a new window for him to return to the ring at WrestleMania.
As for Cody (who, up until recently, seemed like a lock to face Roman at WrestleMania 40), Barrasso noted:
Where does this leave Cody Rhodes? Multiple sources close to WWE Head of Creative Paul “Triple H” Levesque have indicated that Rhodes will not headline this year’s event, nor will he “finish his story” at WrestleMania. But there is still a new chapter to write with a marquee matchup to be had… against CM Punk.
Could Barrasso's information be off? WrestleVotes is reporting:
What should fans make of these two reports? The WWE is known for working fans about their future plans. This isn't reserved to the WWE. The entertainment industry knows that more than a few fans from different mediums such as film, TV, and comic books (to name a few) like to know what surprises their favorite creator(s) have planned.
At the same time, these creators don't want to ruin surprises for consumers so they occasionally resort to trickery to reduce or eliminate spoilers. For example, a movie or TV show may have several alternate endings filmed to throw people off. In an age where information can be spread instantly, who can blame them?
Such is the case with the WWE. They want to keep fans guessing whether Cody will finish his story at WrestleMania, who will win The Royal Rumble, and if Damien Priest will successfully cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase.
As WrestleLamia has suggested before, wrestling news sites can only rely on their sources. If a source provides erroneous information or is told to suggest something different than what's actually planned, a reporter can only use their judgment and seek multiple sources.
The WWE wants to keep fans guessing because surprising the WWE Universe is a major storytelling component. Don't be shocked when a news source reports something and something entirely different happens. If it occurs on a regular basis, it's time to find a different news source. However, like any news, consumers have to apply critical thinking. They must also remember that wrestling is still built on fooling the audience, so adopting "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's DTA (don't trust anybody) policy is a good idea.
Photos Credit: WWE