WrestleMania 40 Night 1 preview: The Rock returns to the ring for a crucial tag team match

WrestleMania 40 descends on Philadelphia starting Saturday night in what is expected to be WWE's largest premium live event in company history.

WrestleMania will take place at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. The weather is expected to clear after rain drenched the Northeast for much of the week.

WWE Chief Content Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque revealed the card for the first night of WrestleMania earlier in the week. One match will have implications for Night 2 and there will be three matches with championship implications.


Here's what fans can expect.

Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns and The Rock

The Rock faces Cody Rhodes

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Cody Rhodes face off on stage as WWE Wrestlemania XL kicks off on February 8, 2024, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Louis Grasse/PXimages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The path to the greatest tag team match in WWE history was filled with jagged stones.

Cody Rhodes won the Royal Rumble match for the second year in a row, eventually setting up a rematch with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 40 for the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship. That plan was put to the ultimate test when The Rock returned to WWE and challenged Reigns for the championship to set up what could have been a major event.

Seth Rollins even advocated for Rhodes to fight him for the World Heavyweight Championship, which Rollins won earlier in the year to become RAW's top dog. But even though it looked like Rhodes was going to pass the torch to The Rock, growing fan support influenced “The American Nightmare” to take on Reigns for the title.

Kicking off WrestleMania 40 in Las Vegas, all four men faced off, setting the stage for the tag team match. The Rock slapped Rhodes in the face and the two sides had to be separated.

In the days since, The Rock has since recognized Reigns as his tribal leader, defeated Rhodes twice and set a stipulation for their match. If he and Reigns win, then the Night 2 championship match will be a Bloodline Rules Match.

Three of the four competitors will be involved in Night 2 and, if The Rock and Reigns win, then all four may have to pull double duty in Philadelphia.

Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Becky Lynch

Becky Lynch takes on Rhea Ripley

Becky Lynch meets Rhea Ripley on stage as WWE Wrestlemania XL kicks off on February 8, 2024, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Louis Grasse/PXimages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rhea Ripley main-evented WrestleMania 39 Night 1 and won the Women's Championship from Charlotte Flair. After over a year as champion, she will defend the RAW Women's Title against Becky Lynch.

Ripley and Lynch are at the top of their game. Ripley destroyed almost every competitor in her path, including Nia Jax in her home country at Elimination Chamber in February. Lynch also had to go through Jax after winning the Elimination Chamber Match, as Jax was unhappy with the result in the days following the premium live event.

Weeks of trash talk culminated in Lynch's confrontation with Ripley on “The MMA Hour” and then a brawl on the “Monday Night Raw” finale before “Mania.” It's safe to say that things have been extremely heated between the biggest stars.

This could truly be the first chapter of a long-running feud.


Gunther (c) vs. Sami Zayn

Sami Zayn in Houston

Sami Zayn speaks to the crowd after winning his match on WWE Monday Night RAW at Toyota Center on March 11, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)

Gunther has held the Intercontinental Championship for over 400 days, but his reign could come to an end against a determined Sami Zayn. Both competitors had winning moments at WrestleMania 39, with Gunther defending his title against Sheamus and Drew McIntyre while Zayn and Kevin Owens captured the undisputed tag team championship from The Usos.

Gunther has dominated since WrestleMania 39, consistently defending his title against The Miz, Kofi Kingston and Chad Gable, among others. But Zayn seems to be hungry for gold.

It's been a long time since Zayn left The Bloodline and got out of Reigns' crosshairs. He earned his shot at the Gunther title in a gauntlet, beating out Gable, Bronson Reed, Shinsuke Nakamura, Ricochet and JD McDonagh. He also picked up singles wins over Ivar and Nakamura over the past month.

This will all come to a head on Saturday evening.

Jey Uso vs. Jimmy Uso

Jey Uso speaks

Jey Uso speaks to the crowd during WWE Monday Night RAW at Toyota Center on March 11, 2024 in Houston. (Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)

The fight between Jey and Jimmy Uso has been a long time coming. It's been a long few months for both brothers as Jey left The Bloodline and Jimmy solidified himself behind Reigns and Solo Sikoa. The two brothers defended Reigns and Sikoa in a Bloodline Civil War tag team match at Money in the Bank.

But Jimmy's face run would end at SummerSlam when Jimmy would knock Jey out of the ring as he was about to pin Reigns to win their tribal fighting match. Jey appeared on the next episode of SmackDown, superkicking Bloodline and leaving the brand. He later revealed that he would rejoin RAW and attempt to make amends to those he wronged while in the faction.

Jimmy continued to be a thorn in the side of the SmackDown roster, while Jey would briefly become tag team champions with Rhodes.

As Rhodes turned his attention to the Bloodline, Jey Uso aligned himself with him. Jimmy would insert himself into Jey's match against Gunther, costing him a shot at the Intercontinental Championship.

Naturally, only a match could settle the score between the two.

6-pack ladder match for the tag team titles

Damian Priest vs. R-Vérité

Damian Priest, right, wrestles R-Truth during WWE Monday Night RAW at Toyota Center on March 11, 2024 in Houston. (Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)

Tag team and ladder matches have always been an epic combination. But with two sets of tag team titles on the line and six different teams vying for championships, anything can really happen.

“Monday Night Raw” host Michael Cole said the match would end when both belts were removed from the top of the ring. This could mean that Judgment Day – led by Finn Balor and Damian Priest may not be undisputed champions by the end of the night.

Here are the tag team competitors for the match: The Miz & R-Truth, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods, Austin Theory & Grayson Waller, Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate and Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa.

Jade Cargill, Naomi and Bianca Belair vs. Damage CTRL

Kairi Sane and Asuka team up

Kairi Sane and Asuka enter the ring during WWE Monday Night RAW at Toyota Center on March 11, 2024 in Houston. (Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)

Damage CTRL appears to be at a crossroads as it heads into WrestleMania weekend. Iyo Sky will defend her Women's Championship against Bayley on Night 2 after Sky, Dakota Kati, Kairi Sane and Asuka kicked Bayley out of the Damage CTRL faction.

But while Sky focuses its attention on Bayley, the rest of the group will now have to face Bianca Belair, Naomi and Jade Cargill. Belair has been dealing with Damage CTRL members for about two years and will have backup.

Naomi last appeared at WrestleMania 38 Night 2 with Sasha Banks as they won a fatal four-way match. Cargill makes his first appearance at WrestleMania.


Rey Mysterio and Andrade vs. Santos Escobar and Dominik Mysterio

Dominik Mysterio stretches Rey Mysterio

Dominik Mysterio wrestles Rey Mysterio during WrestleMania Goes Hollywood at SoFi Stadium on April 1, 2023, in Inglewood, California. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Rey and Dominik Mysterio had an epic match at WrestleMania 39 with the elder WWE legend eliminating The Judgment Day member. It seemed like their feud was on set as Rey recovered from a torn meniscus and Dominik tried to keep Judgment Day together.

But in recent weeks, Dominik has aligned himself with Santos Escobar and the rest of Legado Del Fantasma. Rey returned to team up with the LWO. Last week on “Friday Night SmackDown” he demanded a tag team match against his son and Escobar. He brought in Dragon Lee to partner with him.

On “Friday Night SmackDown”, Lee was attacked by an unknown assailant before Zelina Vega had a match with Elektra Lopez. Rey accompanied Vega and Escobar, Dominik and Andrade accompanied Lopez to the ring. After Lopez won the match, Escobar and Dominik defeated Rey. Andrade refused and turned on Escobar and Dominik.

Andrade signaled he was ready to team with Rey and he replaced Lee.


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