WWE WrestleMania 40 Kickoff Recap and Highlights

WWE held the WrestleMania 40 Kickoff from T-Mobile Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, airing live on Peacock, the WWE Network, and on various social networks.

The stream kicked off with footage of Roman Reigns and The Rock arriving in Vegas the night before, followed by a video package highlighting the history of WrestleMania.

Kickoff Panel: Pat McAfee, Big E, CM Punk, and Michael Cole

The rest of the panel is introduced by Cole, with each given an chance to speak on the situation surrounding Cody Rhodes, Roman Reigns, and The Rock. McAfee talks about Rock’s appearance on his show earlier today, bringing up the former WWE Champion’s remarks about the fan support for Rhodes. Punk addresses the similarity to his situation in 2013 before saying the road to WrestleMania is going to be “really, really spicy” and the difference between box office and making a name for one’s self. Big E wants to “beat the drum” for Rhodes, addressing Cody’s chance to finally finish the story.

Jackie Redmond says Rock is ready to address the media about the upcoming event, before we go to Byron Saxton who attempts to interview Paul Heyman about the mood Roman Reigns is in. Heyman mocks Saxton, claiming that until Roman Reigns is defeated, the main event of WrestleMania revolves around the Tribal Chief.

The panel is asked who they think Roman wants to face at WrestleMania. They largely agree that Roman wants to face The Rock, with Punk noting that it’s more about who Roman doesn’t want to face…and that is Cody Rhodes.

WWE then announces their partnership with X to present WWE Speed, a new video series featuring timed matches between WWE Superstars coming exclusively to the social platform in Spring 2024.

Paul “Triple H” Levesque is introduced, talking about the history of WWE and WrestleMania before talking about a new era and “all-new WWE” promising the fans they “ain’t seen nothing yet,” saying that we are now on the road to WrestleMania.

Bianca Belair is introduced next, talking about the chance to kick off WWE’s version of the Super Bowl in the building where the Big Game takes place this weekend. She talks about her upcoming Hulu series and addresses her undefeated streak at WrestleMania and looks ahead to WrestleMania 40, stating “you cannot spell WrestleMania without E-S-T.”

WWE Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley is out next, talking up being the most dominant woman holding a title in the company before noting that Bayley has made her choice to go against her former friend Iyo at WrestleMania. She talks about the challenge ahead of her when she heads home for Elimination Chamber Perth…and is interrupted by Becky Lynch.

Becky calls out the champion, promising she will win the Elimination Chamber to earn her shot at Mami’s title…assuming Ripley makes it past Nia Jax in Perth. This leads to a stare down and some jaw jacking before Adam Pearce intervenes.

We get some hype for the matches mentioned during these segments, when Elimination Chamber takes place February 24 from Optus Stadium in Perth.

Out next is Seth Rollins, as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion hypes himself up before calling out the man who can decide the main event of WrestleMania…the two-time Royal Rumble winner, Cody Rhodes.

Only it’s not the American Nightmare who comes out next…but the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns.

After the Tribal Chief demands that the Vegas crowd acknowledge him, Rollins quips that Reigns “finally showed up for work” leading to a retort from Roman about Seth’s shoes for the occasion. Reigns calls Cody Rhodes “Mr. Hesitation” saying it is no longer his decision but Roman’s to decide the main event…and Roman chooses The Rock.

Rollins can be heard saying “that’s now how this works” as The Rock steps out next, to a mixed crowd given recent events. “Rocky” chants are intertwined with boos as the Rock lets the reaction sink in before declaring “Finally…The Rock has come back to Las Vegas!”

Rock asks the crowd if they think Reigns will beat The Rock at WrestleMania or if The Rock will beat the Tribal Chief…and both options get a mixed reaction. He then asks if they think The Rock versus Roman Reigns will be the biggest main event in WrestleMania history…and the crowd ramps up their boos in response.

Rock welcomes members of the press, addressing the WWE Universe amidst more boos and chants of “We Want Cody”…to which Rock welcomes members of the press to “the Cody crybabies.” He wants to show the crowd something, stating they may or may not like it or love it…but they will respect it. With that, he unveils a graphic of the Bloodline Samoan Dynasty family tree, noting his and Roman’s grandfather’s at the top of the tree and taking about the promise they made long, long ago..

Rock points to this as proof of how important the match is, and if the people don’t think this is the case…in simple Rock speak, it doesn’t matter what they think. He calls the match as being “bound by blood” before he and Reigns basically shake on it…only for Cody Rhodes to interrupt. He calls out Roman trying to call the shots, saying it is not his right to determine the WrestleMania main event…it is Cody’s, as the winner of the Royal Rumble.

Cody has made his decision…and he chooses Roman Reigns.

Roman doesn’t take kindly to this, telling Cody that the Rock/Reigns match is a done deal and to “go to the dummy in green” as he had his chance last year and is now irrelevant…just like his dad. Triple H and the General Managers have shown up by this point, and it becomes apparent they’re here in case they need to intervene as Cody lashes out at Reigns, bringing up his and Rock’s grandfathers by saying if they were here they’d be ashamed.

Rock steps in, running Rhodes down for bringing up their family…and now, we have a problem. With that, Rock slaps Cody across the face as the staff step in to intervene amidst the chaos!

The panel is asked about what just happened, with Punk saying he wants to see Cody punch Rock in the face and Big E admitting the scene is “a lot to digest” as McAfee tries to make sense of everything that went down. He says Rock went to bat for his entire family, with what may have been a bit of flexing by trying to take this main event spot. Punk acknowledges the fact Rock is on the TKO Board of Directors as the panel tries to discuss what happens next for everyone involved.

Backstage, Jackie Redmond tries to get a word with Triple H about what happened before The Rock interrupts, telling the Chief Content Officer he needs to “fix this” or else he and Roman will before the pair walk off.

The panel addresses this as well, with Punk saying personal issues can get solved by letting the men fight, to which the rest of the panel essentially agrees. Cole brings up the many questions we are left with following tonight’s Kickoff event and thanks fans for watching before the stream comes to a close.