Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

WWE Superstars That SHOULD Challenge Cody Rhodes for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship

A photo of Cody Rhodes and Gunther at WWE Royal Rumble 2023.

Cody Rhodes finally achieved his ultimate goal of becoming the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion by defeating the monstrous and legendary Roman Reigns at WWE WrestleMania XL.

This journey took almost two years to complete, but the “American Nightmare” will not be denied anymore and got the job done spectacularly. However, as Rhodes said on The Pat McAfee Show, the real work begins now.

With that in mind, let’s discuss some of the most intriguing challengers standing in the way of Cody retaining his spot atop the WWE mountain.

The Rock

Let’s get the big Brahma-sized elephant out of the room right off the bat. On the Raw after WrestleMania, all signs pointed to The Rock challenging for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship sooner rather than later.

The ‘People’s Champ’, after kindly asking to hold the championship in his hands, said that holding it felt good and right. After that, he handed Cody an unknown item, quickly stating after this exchange that the champion “better not break his heart again.”

That mysterious handoff created an immediate buzz around this potential matchup. It will probably be the catalyst of a main event bout between the two at either SummerSlam or even next year’s WrestleMania 41.

Before we all forget, The Rock did pin Cody in the main event of WrestleMania 40 night one. So, the new champion has not beaten the ‘Final Boss’ yet. The Rock will go away for a bit, and we’ll probably know more about it in the coming months.

However, if or when this happens, it’ll be another monumental about between two iconic third-generation superstars that the WWE Universe will not hesitate to pay big bucks for to see.

Randy Orton

This is probably the easiest one to predict, and it’s a good bet this will happen. Randy Orton has a tremendous history with Cody Rhodes. Both were part of the Legacy stable, which saw the third-generation superstars run roughshod over the WWE landscape.

They’re also great friends outside of the ring.

With such a connection, WWE would be neglecting a huge opportunity by not pulling the trigger on this at some point. The story writes itself, needing only a few tweaks to fit the professional wrestling mold of story-telling.

Cody Rhodes could play the role Randy Orton was in 20 years ago when the latter won the World Heavyweight Championship and was effectively shunned by his mentor Triple H.

Alternatively, this could be a face-vs.-face affair in which the master challenges his student, testing what he’s truly made of. Whatever WWE goes with, this is going to be a “must-see.”


Like Orton, albeit to a lesser degree, The former WWE Intercontinental Champion Gunther has had his problems with Cody Rhodes. At the 2023 Royal Rumble event, these two put on an absolute show in their mini-match during the Men’s Royal Rumble Match.

Gunther was extremely close to closing the book on this story before the most important chapter was ever conceived. With the ‘Ring General’ losing his coveted Intercontinental Title to Sami Zayn at WrestleMania XL, it seems likely that WWE is him positioning to be the next main event heel.

With Cody Rhodes being the biggest hero WWE has had since John Cena, it’s high time to install the ultimate villain, hellbent on dethroning the ‘American Nightmare’ off his throne.

This example is a bit extreme, but Cody Rhodes vs. Gunther could be the Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant of this generation. A bout that features contrasting styles and unique ways of drawing people in, Gunther against Cody could be the next great main event rivalry.


This is a Darkhorse pick if there ever was one, and that’s by no means disrespecting the incredible ‘Celtic Warrior.’ This week’s Raw saw a hype package for the return of Sheamus. After months out of action, one of the toughest and most imposing figures WWE has will be back and better than ever.

If you want somebody who could have ‘banger after banger’ with Cody for the rest of the calendar year, there’s no better dance partner for the new champion to grapple with.

While Sheamus is slated to join the Raw brand, if we’re going by the vignettes that aired Monday night, and Cody is more than likely going to SmackDown to be the brand’s top champion, the incoming WWE Draft could fix that problem easily.

Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa

With The Rock going away for a while and Roman Reigns nowhere in sight, The Bloodline will need someone to step up and carry this whole faction for the time being. That responsibility will inevitably fall on brothers Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa.

Like the ‘Tribal Chief,” both have tremendous bad blood with Rhodes. With ‘Main Event’ Jey Uso on Raw challenging for Damian Priest’s newly-won WWE World Heavyweight Championship, it’s about time for either or both Jimmy and Solo to get theirs and challenge for a world title.

Jimmy has all the motivation in the world to challenge for Cody’s title. His brother did it, his cousin was the champion, and it’s an easy story to tell that the ‘often neglected’ member of The Bloodline finally rises to the occasion.

On the other hand, Solo is one of the individuals that will guide WWE for the next one or two decades. If the company wants to expedite Sikoa’s road to stardom, this is the way to do so.

Seth Rollins

The Architect followed through on his promise to be Cody Rhodes’ shield. Seth Rollins was tremendous on both nights of WrestleMania 40, truly living up to the ‘workhorse’ moniker. Rollins took every proverbial bullet for Cody that night, ensuring the ‘Grandson of a Plumber’ achieved what he set out to do.

With all that in mind, it’s not a stretch to say that Seth Rollins would want the favor returned at some point down the line, right? Reports have come out that Seth Rollins will have a much-deserved break after that grueling weekend, with no return date specified.

It might be a while before we see this, but it wouldn’t be a surprise since this potential matchup is backed by all the history one can only dream of.

More From LWOS Pro Wrestling

Header photo – WWE – Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE content on the WWE Network and Peacock.


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