Brian Gewirtz details original idea for Rhodes-Rock WWE WrestleMania switch, provides update on documentary

Originally published at Brian Gewirtz details original idea for Rhodes-Rock WWE WrestleMania switch, provides update on documentary

Insight into the build to WrestleMania XL from Brian Gewirtz. 

It has been one month since WWE WrestleMania XL wrapped up. Night one saw Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Roman Reigns best Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes to set up the Bloodline Rules match between Rhodes and Reigns on night two. The following night, Rhodes overcame Reigns to win the Undisputed WWE Championship

On the Raw after WrestleMania, Johnson told Rhodes that their story is just beginning. Brian Gewirtz of Seven Bucks Productions guest appeared on The Ringer Wrestling Show and spoke in-depth about some of the highlights of the build to the WrestleMania XL main events and contributing to it. 

It started off with him being asked about the conversation he had with Johnson after the 2/2/24 SmackDown during which Rhodes handed over his main event match to The Rock. Gewirtz would address the status of the WrestleMania XL documentary and said The Rock is not ‘holding it hostage.’ He thinks there was an error of promoting it too soon because it was not ready to come out. 

Circling back to the segment with Rhodes and Rock, Gewirtz said Cody was supposed to be more enthusiastic about it. He compared it to how Julius Randle looks when the New York Knicks are winning but he does not seem elated. Gewirtz said he does not blame Cody for it because he’s real. After that initial segment, Gewirtz and The Rock chatted and there were two options on the table: They could push through and continue marching towards Roman versus Rock or they could do ‘something pretty incredible.’ 

So, first of all, let me just say, there is, believe it or not, there is an awesome doc that WWE is gonna be putting out. The Rock isn’t holding (it) hostage, you know, until he has approval of every frame. I think there was an error in terms of promoting it so soon because it wasn’t ready to come out. So, that was an error that was made. But, this is a doc that went from, I think, 11 minutes to 45 minutes. Now, it’s over an hour and it’s pretty awesome and it will be coming out in some form pretty soon is my understanding and it covers a lot of that stuff so I don’t wanna get too deep into it and spoil the doc, but I will say, and again, I will say this is my opinion. I will say Cody (Rhodes) is a human being who is genuine and real and he wears his heart and emotions on his sleeve and I will say, in Alabama, certainly, even if you tell me, dude, that will never work. That’s stupid to even propose it. But the idea was supposed to be, again — it’s like a Nixon-Kennedy debate a little bit where it’s like if you read the transcript, you’re like, oh, Nixon kicked his ass. If you watch the actual footage, you go, ah, it was a sweaty, terrible mess. Because Cody, it was supposed to be, in some form, like, yeah! F*ckin’ A! Go get ‘em Rock! You’re gonna get your ass kicked Roman! Let’s do this! And kind of this uplifting promo and instead, he looked like someone shot his dog in the face in the parking lot. Like you said, just look at his expression and by the way, someone else who even when the team wins, sometimes looks forlorn and upset and despondent, Julius Randle. Hey. So yeah, that, I don’t think helped matters. It might not have changed, it might not have affected anything. But certainly on paper — and by the way, I don’t even blame Cody for that because he’s real, he’s one of the realest people I’ve ever met so yeah, it’s like, he said what he had to say in the promo. But you couldn’t mask what he was really feeling and I think the fans felt that a lot. I think the fans felt like he doesn’t mean a word of this. This is being forced for him to say. He’s despondent. He’s literally doing the Michael Cera-Arrested Development-Charlie Brown walk out of the arena, when he’s supposed to be on cloud nine so, I think that had a lot to do with it and the conversation and it’s talked about in the doc but to touch on it here a little bit is we have two choices here, and by the way, so Rock, he communicates normally via voice message. I am very paranoid about voice messaging. I don’t know how to do it, I don’t like the sound of my voice if I have to hear it back so I always text. But also, because I get a lot of voice messages from him and I don’t wanna miss anything, I save them all. So I saved our conversation from post-Alabama and yeah, it’s essentially, to sum it up, it’s like, ‘We have two choices here. We can push forward,’ like WWE in the past has often done, which is like, yeah, let ‘em get it out of their system and eventually, we’ll do what we need to do. Or, we could do something pretty incredible, because we’ve always, always, always have been, in terms of putting promos together of like, ‘Ah, if I was a heel again, I could have so much fun. I never actually pulled the trigger,’ but it’s also been on the back of Rock’s mind as far as like, hmm, can we? Is it possible? And he’s essentially brought the idea in of, ‘You know what? Let me talk to you about Vegas for a minute’ and I’ll leave it at that. But it was certainly something like, yeah, a choice needed to be made. Go ahead and push forward and they’ll hopefully — it’ll die down and blah, blah, blah. Or, not only react to it, but make it better and create something that the world is just not ready for in a good way. 

Gewirtz touched on The Rock’s long-form promos that he released on social media and how that came to be. He then spoke about the communication between The Rock and Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque’s team at WWE. 

He looked back at the 3/25 Raw in Rosemont, Illinois where The Rock whipped Cody with a weight belt in front of his travel bus and continued to do so off-air. Gewirtz was not aware that Rock would continue beating Rhodes after the show ended. 

Gewirtz shared that it was supposed to be content for WWE’s social media pages but that was not communicated by the stage manager or producer to the creative team. 

I mean, it was an awesome experience, because you know, when Rock does something, he’s not gonna do it half-assed and he’s gonna go all the way with it and I know — I think it was in Phoenix. The first promo with Rock and Roman (Reigns) and I wasn’t even there. I missed a chunk of TV at one point because of a family emergency thing, but I noticed as I watching it, that they didn’t get to half the promo they were supposed to cut. That’s the peril of going on last on a live show, and I’m like, did you have to introduce Bron Breakker for five minutes in the segment before? Could that not have been saved maybe for next week’s show? That’s what I was thinking when I was watching it, because I knew there’s no way they’re gonna be able to get this promo out. 

So, I communicated with Rock afterward, like, ‘What are we gonna do? You didn’t get to cut half the promo,’ and he’s like, ‘Nah, it’s cool. I’ll just cut it on social media. It’ll be fine’ and that’s kind of how that started and when he did, it’s like, yeah, I’m doing this, I’m doing it full scale and I’m gonna say whatever I want. He’s reached a point in his life now, which, we all hope to get there at some point which is I’m gonna do what I wanna do and I’m not gonna do what I don’t wanna do and this is how I’m gonna do it… There was certainly like a, ‘Oh, what’s happening? What are we doing?’ That we needed to communicate to WWE. But it certainly wasn’t like, hey, getting a call from Triple H who’s saying tell Rock to cut out that Instagram stuff because all it does is give massive amounts of views and attention to the angle and the product and everything. It’s communication stuff sometimes, where, like, I got a call from Ed Koskey, who you guys know, the head writer of Raw after that Chicago thing and he’s like, ‘What is this after-the-camera stuff that happened?’ And to be honest, this is gonna sound crazy, but I didn’t even know about it (The Rock continuing to beat Cody off-air after 3/25 Raw), because I like watching these things from the crowd when I can. In Chicago, Allstate Arena has that weird setup where the locker rooms, you could walk right out into behind the curtain area, you know, like on the second level or whatever and kind of watch. So I watched all of it from there and then, when I got back, I was confused for a moment because Rock is still cutting a promo on Cody and I’m like, that’s odd. Did I get kidnapped by aliens and take five minutes out? I don’t understand what happened, and then he stopped back (on) the way to his trailer and I didn’t even realize they were shooting something for what would be later posted on Instagram and neither did WWE because apparently, the stage manager, the producer, whoever it was that was supposed to communicate that to the creative team never did. So, it was like a little confusion there, but once everyone got together on the same page and talked it out and they saw what the final post was gonna look like, they were like, ‘Oh yeah, can we promote it for you?’ That’s how great it was and it worked out but yeah, I saw all the things that you guys all saw about, ‘Talent are up in arms because The Rock gets to curse and we don’t get to curse’ and I didn’t see any of that and granted, I might not be the first person people run to if you’re in the WWE and start complaining about — but at the same time, it’s like, for me and I don’t know exactly but, what’s stopping anyone from doing what Zack Ryder used to do? Matt Cardona, and go online and cut a promo and you might have to beep the curses or at least see if you could approve it, get it approved and everything. But, there’s no stopping anyone from taking extra measures once TV is over to try to get themselves over or their character over or their promo over. Whether you need to ask first and then get clearance to do it or post it and then get permission later, it’s like, Drew’s doing that to an extent with his social media. Becky (Lynch) did it all the time and I thought it was awesome. 

When it comes to projects and stories that Gewirtz has been involved in, he said contributing to what The Rock, Seth Rollins, Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns were involved in is the most fun thing he’s ever done. 

People have asked me before… ‘What’s your favorite angle you’ve ever contributed to or worked on?’ And I always went to (Chris) Jericho-Shawn Michaels, because it’s not talked about in the same space as Austin-McMahon but it also was a very layered story that lasted many more months than it should have and it had a great payoff and everything else but I think Rock-Roman-Cody-Seth exceeds that. This has been like the most favorite thing that I’ve ever been able to contribute to and it was a blast. Especially too when you get into the grind of also television production and selling shows and reading scripts and doing general meetings… Now, I get to go to summer camp for a bit, from January through the beginning of April and something that… There’s some people on team Seven Bucks… They were texting me like, ‘Oh my God, I wish I could have been there. That looked like so much fun.’ That really made the whole experience really, really rewarding.

Towards the conclusion of the interview, the future was brought up and what that could look like when it comes to the same parties that were involved in the WrestleMania XL main events. 

Gewirtz said nothing is in ink, but there are things written out in pencil. He stated that he’d love to run it back for WrestleMania 41, but did not specify exactly what he was talking about. 

Nothing happens until they step through the curtain and it happens. There’s so many variables. A lot of things can happen, cannot happen. There’s certainly stuff that’s written in pencil and stuff that people might want, people might not want. But, if we get to run it back for WrestleMania 41, I’d be thrilled, I’d love to do it. I think it’d be great. I wanna get back into it with Cody’s dog… People are like, ‘How could you say that? He’s a good boy.’ I’m like, of course he’s a good boy. Everyone knows he’s a good boy. He’s just a stupid dog. That’s all I’m saying. There’s smart dogs and there are dogs that aren’t so bright. Pharoah’s not that bright, but he’s certainly a good boy. I’m not denying that. So yeah, I would love to get back into all that stuff. If that phone call happens and we’re thinking about the same person, yeah, I don’t have any issues. In fact, just the opposite. I’d be extremely thrilled to run it back.

Reigns has not been on television since WrestleMania and Paul Heyman removed his name from the WWE Draft. The Rock is filming a movie about MMA pioneer Mark Kerr. 

Seth Rollins is recovering after undergoing surgery and Cody Rhodes is heading into his second defense of the Undisputed WWE Title at the King and Queen of the Ring Premium Live Event. 

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit The Ringer Wrestling Show with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.