Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Bring It

Last night's Raw was a game-changer. After a seven year absence, The Rock returned to World Wrestling Entertainment and will be the "host" of WrestleMania 27. The Rock electrified the crowd last night and showed us why he just might be the most charismatic Superstar in the history of the industry. My heart raced for the reveal, I screamed out loud on my couch for the music, my jaw was on the floor for almost 30 minutes, and the hair on the back of my neck still stands when I watch the replay... but let's be clear, this is not the solution to WWE's problems and it is possible that it could cause more.

I keep seeing all these people that haven't watched wrestling in years or "know people" that haven't watched wrestling in years, that tuned in last night and say they're going to order WrestleMania now since The Rock will be there. If that's true, I don't expect them to hang around for Raw the following night, or Extreme Rules the following month, or SummerSlam, or even WrestleMania 28. These are not the people WWE needs to be catering to, they're fair weather fans who aren't going to get hooked when their favorite person around is a non-wrestler who hasn't been seen in seven years, but in their eyes is still better than everyone else.

The Rock hasn't wrestled a match since WrestleMania 20 and his appearances were extremely sporadic at that point. In that time, WWE has put all of their efforts behind John Cena, he's had an uninterrupted run at the top and hasn't had to play second-fiddle to Stone Cold like The Rock did. In the six years Cena's been the guy, he hasn't come close to The Rock's level, just look at the reaction from the fans, "CENA SUX! ROCK RULES!" "YEAH, ROCK REALLY TOOK IT TO CENA! ROCKY! ROCKY! ROCKY!" A guy that's been gone for seven years resonates more with the fans than the #1 guy in the company, again, I don't know if that's an environment WWE wants to encourage.

If the eventual payoff is The Rock giving his "stamp of approval" to John Cena like Mike Tyson did with Stone Cold at WrestleMania 14, or Andre the Giant did with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 3, I get that and it'll be a cool moment, but most likely short-lived. Cena haters aren't going to become Cena fans because he got a man hug from The Rock after beating The Miz for his tenth World Title and it still won't make Cena as big and as popular as The Great One.

And that attitude will trickle down the card as well. The roster is young and has been pushed quickly to fill certain voids left by the likes of Batista, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, and Triple H. That's not their fault, WWE probably should've been better prepared for something like this, but they've made the most of it in a short timespan. But now The Rock's here, and while The Miz and Alberto Del Rio are tremendous performers, when put next to The Rock, they're pretty much "who in the blue hell are you?" fodder. Rock would wipe the floor with these guys without even going outside his catchphrase Rolodex.

And that's really the crux of the issue. As excited as I am for The Rock to be here, it really shows the gap between wrestling's peak and wrestling today. The Rock is over here, the rest of WWE is way over there and between them is the Grand Canyon. There are a lot of reasons for that, WWE has put more of an emphasis on their own brand than individual stars since The Rock's days, they didn't adequately prepare for the loss of Austin and Rock, and to be blunt, no one's come along that's as good as they were. I like John Cena, I think he's a once in a lifetime performer and the most valuable asset in wrestling today, but he's not The Rock or Steve Austin. That's not a knock on him, that's just the reality of the situation.

But I hope Cena doesn't operate under that reality when he responds to The Rock. I don't want to see "aw, shucks" John Cena who's so super respectful to all those who came before him, I want to see him get in there and trash The Rock right back. Call him out for leaving for seven years, point out the fact that if he said "Barney's anus" in 2011, he'd be booed out the building, yet The Rock somehow gets cheered, this is the one time I want to see Cena get mean. Play up that tension, make it look like these two could go at it, then when we do get the handshake at WrestleMania, it'll at least look like two peers rather than The Rock "passing the torch" to his little buddy.

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade or take away from the euphoria of The Rock's awesome return, because it was awesome, but let's not act like WWE's all better now or that The Rock is the savior of the wrestling industry. This should be a great short term boost, WrestleMania will be tons of fun, even if I have no idea what Rock's role as "host" will be, but the real work begins when The Rock leaves to film Faster Furi6user.

6 comments:

  1. Oh, this is entirely what I thought last night and why I think I felt not so "ZOMG, IT'S THE ROCK" here because everything he said came with this feeling of "remember when this shit was 'cool'?" as if coolness should goddamn matter about a televised product that is entirely devoid of "cool" as far as populist opinion goes. It at best is annoying and at worst is kind of miserable, and not because ZOMG WRESTLING SUCKS but because I was made aware of the difference last night. Ignorance is still bliss and Rock did his damnedest to suddenly be like "ugh."

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  2. wow you guys are down, no one says this when other legends return.
    this is the rock peeps he is here for the same reason austin is hosting tough enough these guys carnt work anymore so they are doing what they can, which is entertain on the mic, its great to see him back and i don't think its a bad move for the wwe as it will push a lot of old fans who every now and then get a wrestlmania to buy it.

    anyway I'm gonna ride my train of bliss as long as it lasts and enjoy the most electrifying man runs his mouth and get the biggest pop in years plus now all we need is sting and oh my we will have a special mania, which will give the young guys 1 more year till they are needed to sell mania

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  3. Other legends aren't The Rock. The Rock isn't like Austin either, Stone Cold can't wrestle anymore, and even if he could, he hasn't come to WWE TV to call out John Cena at WrestleMania.

    The Rock is physically capable of still wrestling and based off last night, could clearly still carry the company. That's different than Diesel showing up for the Royal Rumble or Roddy Piper doing a special edition of Piper's Pit. Those guys, for the most part, are done and couldn't lead WWE in 2011, The Rock could... but won't, and that makes WWE, and everyone in it, look like they're a notch below him.

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  4. They guy went out in his peak and I can respect him for that, HBK could still go if he wants to but walked away and when he comes back everyone will love him to, I just don't think you can blame a guy for being too good, there is no one around at the mo, except maybe CM Punk, who they could just hand a mic say you have 30 mins too and captivate the audience.

    I undestand your view but both our opinions come from the same place, the rock is the very best entertainer to grace the ring and we miss him doing it more often, as I said if this can make sure the no. Stay high for mania that means wwe have 1 more year to build the young guys and that's a good thing

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  5. It's not that I'm blaming The Rock, if anything I'm blaming WWE for not better preparing for The Rock's exit. Or Stone Cold's. Or the recent exits of Shawn Michaels, Batista and Chris Jericho. Or Triple H and The Undertaker becoming special attractions.

    The Rock is just doing what WWE's allowed him to do, if they didn't want him to go out there and trash talk Cena, then he wouldn't have been asked to do this. I know some people have taken issue with his style before, but I love The Rock. All I'm saying is, he makes everyone else look like small potatoes, including the most valuable name in the industry today, and that could hurt WWE in the long run.

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  6. I'm sure vinny mac has a plan, I think he was allowed to do it cox vince knows that the majority of "smart" fans hate Cena and the rock is the man they loved, it seems to me that they have book Cena playing up to this hate with things such as this, the hornswoggle rumble bit , I think they want that mixed reaction, also they had a shot of a few kids booing the rock after that stuff but we will see I hope it ends with a AA to the rock him gettin up and shaking his hand, which will really piss off the "smart" fans, and I'm really looking forward to a cent off old promo aka rap vs the rock

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