Wrestling aficionados are abuzz with speculation as Cody Rhodes expresses his desire to conclude his saga by dethroning the reigning Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns, at the grand stage of WrestleMania 40. However, wrestling veteran Bully Ray raises intriguing questions about the future of Reigns' title run.
As WWE subtly shifts historical narratives, Ray ponders whether Reigns will manage to retain his title, potentially ascending to the pantheon of WWE World Champions—a status seemingly affirmed by WWE's recent narrative choices.
On a recent episode of "Busted Open Radio," Bully Ray questioned his co-host Dave LaGreca about WWE's historical acknowledgments, specifically the conspicuous absence of Bob Backlund's name—a former long-reigning champion.
This omission was notably apparent when Michael Cole, on "WWE SmackDown," failed to mention Backlund's legendary reign from the late 70s to early 80s, focusing instead on Reigns' pursuit of Hulk Hogan and Bruno Sammartino's records.
Backlund's Reign Revisited
WWE once celebrated Backlund's reign, which exceeded 2,000 days, despite a couple of contentious losses. Bully Ray suggests that WWE's recent narrative could be paving the way for Reigns to eclipse Hogan's 1,474-day title reign by September of the following year, positioning him just behind Bruno Sammartino in longevity.
This narrative shift may have significant implications for Cody Rhodes' ambitions. Bully Ray speculates that sidelining Backlund's legacy could be a strategic move unfavorable to Rhodes' potential showdown with Reigns at WrestleMania 40.
"Why discard Backlund's legacy now, when it has been integral since the beginning?" Bully Ray questioned, highlighting the importance of historical precedence in the WWE narrative. A producer chimed in with a reminder that WWE commentator Corey Graves did reference Antonio Inoki's victory over Backlund following the NJPW founder's passing last year—a nod to history that may offer some context to WWE's current storytelling direction.
The long-term plan rumored earlier this year hinted at a rematch between Rhodes and Reigns, following their encounter at WrestleMania 39. The exact timing and venue of this highly anticipated match remain uncertain, with WrestleMania 40 being a strong contender.
Reigns, who has held the WWE Universal Championship since August 2020, has seen his reign surpass 1,100 days. Reigns, now a part-time performer, has defended his title sparingly this year, with one of those defenses against Rhodes at WrestleMania 39.