The Royal Rumble marks the beginning of the Road to WrestleMania, the grandest stage of them all in pro wrestling. One of the most interesting topics to talk about around this time of year is of course, who will win the Royal Rumble, as the winner generally headlines WrestleMania.
This year, there are several wrestlers who are major favorites to win. However, two of the names floating around most are Sami Zayn and Cody Rhodes. One interesting thing about these two is how their current situation in some ways mirrors what happened back in 2014…
In 2014, the plan was for Batista to win the Rumble and challenge the WWE Champion at the time, Randy Orton, to a title match at WrestleMania. Meanwhile, the rise of the “Yes! Movement” and Daniel Bryan was taking place around the same time. Fans wanted Bryan to headline WrestleMania, but that was not WWE’s plans at the time. They didn’t even book Bryan in the Rumble match… It took fans going all out to make WWE change their plans, and have Bryan as part of their WrestleMania plans for the world title.
A similar case seems to be happening today in 2023, with Cody Rhodes and Sami Zayn. If we go by the betting odds and story, Cody Rhodes is the favorite to win the Rumble, then face Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. Meanwhile, Sami Zayn has been part of one of the most interesting storylines in WWE of the last year — as an Honorary Uce in the Bloodline.
Wrestling fans have been loving Sami’s work, and feel that he should be the one to main event WrestleMania against Reigns. However, the reality is that signs are pointing to the story is being treated as a transitional feud for Reigns before WrestleMania. This could cause a major negative impact on Cody Rhodes’ return; he could get booed for not being Sami, just like what happened with Batista in 2014. But this time around, WWE will most likely not change their plans.
Yes! Movement > Honorary Uce?
Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns feels like the match WWE wants to book, and fans won’t be able to do anything about it. The only thing that could change these plans would be if The Rock was ready to get back in the ring. But the latest reports suggest he will likely be out of this year’s WrestleMania. Things don’t help Sami’s case considering the uncertainty of who will be the booker come WrestleMania. Vince McMahon could be looking to return to his old position, the one currently held by his son-in-law, Paul Levesque.
If fans feel strong about Sami Zayn in the same way they were about Daniel Bryan almost a decade ago, they need to start chanting for him and make WWE take notice. While Sami has momentum, it’s nowhere near as big as the “Yes! Movement” was back in 2013-2014. One thing is certain though, the story of Sami not being part of WrestleMania could have an impact on the Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns’ main event match.
Only time will tell how everything unfolds, but the parallels these stories have are something that can’t be ignored.
Let us know what you think in the comments below!