It was the slap heard around the world. Cody Rhodes, son of legendary wrestler Dusty "The American Dream" Rhodes was the recipient of an open hand slap to the face by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at the end of Thursday's Wrestlemania XL press conference. The event was held at T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas Thursday afternoon.

In the last week, World Wrestling Entertainment needed a good distraction to turn attention away from Janel Grant's lawsuit against Vince McMahon. The storyline with Rhodes, The Rock, and Roman Reigns appears to be just that. Cody, who uses the "American Nightmare" moniker, was the winner of last month's Royal Rumble and had his choice of wrestling either Reigns (the Universal Champion) or Seth Rollins (World Heavyweight Champion) in the main event of Wrestlemania XL.

Instead of Rhodes choosing to "finish his story" and wrestle Reigns, he introduced The Rock, who wanted to show Reigns, his first cousin, who was actually head of the table. Instead of this segment getting the kind of cheers that the WWE was hoping for, fans all over social media hated the idea that a 51-year old former wrestler turned movie and TV star would be headlining Wrestlemania XL. Most of this dislike towards The Rock was due to the fact that he had not competed in a wrestling ring since 2016 and there was no way that Reigns would lose a match of this magnitude to someone who does not even wrestle anymore.

Ace Acosta for 600 ESPN El Paso.
Ace Acosta for 600 ESPN El Paso.

I give Paul "Triple H" Levesque and the rest of the WWE brain trust a lot of credit for realizing this and quickly pivoting to a different angle that came to a crescendo at Thursday's press conference. Rather than announce he was going to challenge Rollins at Wrestlemania XL, Rhodes chose Reigns as his opponent. Then, he defended his father's legacy while saying that the grandparents of Reigns and The Rock would be ashamed at their behavior. This was in direct response to The Rock's proclamation that his family heritage was the only one that mattered in the wrestling business.

If you do not watch the WWE, I can understand why this storyline sounds confusing. Rhodes is a second generation wrestler while Reigns and The Rock are both third generation stars. If you add in the Von Erichs, Harts, Poffos (Randy Savage), pro wrestling has plenty of royal families. But if you want to spice up a storyline, have one family insult the other and you have instant fireworks. That is what happened at T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas.

Since I was at Radio Row with Adrian Broaddus, Steve Foster, and Chris Fernandez all week, I was not able to attend the WWE presser in person. However, El Pasoan Ace Acosta did attend the press conference for us and he took plenty of great pictures including the infamous slap.

Wrestlemania XL Press Conference

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Cody Rhodes, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Paul "Triple H" Levesque, and many more were in Las Vegas for the Wrestlemania XL press conference.

Gallery Credit: Ace Acosta for 600 ESPN El Paso

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