The professional wrestling industry has no shortage on the embittered and rant-happy. Sure, it can be an ugly business with unhappy endings, and those who choose to sound off about its pitfalls have every right to be heard. But there eventually comes a time where it becomes necessary to move on.
When I see fit, I will single out those who have abused their piss-and-moan privileges and request that they cease all complaints and/or diatribes and live what's left of their lives. Taking cues from an old Chris Jericho catchphrase, I implore you—the disillusioned wrestling personality—to please shut the hell up.
Disclaimer: For those if you who suggest I turn the other cheek and ignore subjects of #STHU articles rather than write about them, this read is not for you. In case you haven't noticed, I'm not in the 'ignore developing stories' business.
Apparently, professional wrestling has morphed into a team sport seemingly overnight.
Now that the evil empire of the Rock and his fire-breathing entourage are set to return to RAW, WWE's likely bottom-feeders have come out of the woodwork to express their legitimate disapproval.
It all started, and in many ways continued, on a very entertaining edition of RAW this past Monday.
Vince McMahon John Cena gave a rallying cry in support of all those brave men and women who sacrifice their minds, bodies and health insurance to become professional wrestlers.
Reiterating a familiarly ignorant criticism of the Rock, Cena continued to admonish "Dwayne" for leaving the WWE for the heel life of spending more time with his family, prolonging his ability to walk, bypassing the inevitable Greek Tragedy that befalls many pro wrestlers, and of course, rolling around with an entourage.
Cena's remarks this past Monday were done under the guise of Cena going "off of the cuff" in a shoot promo, thus upsetting Vince McMahon—who we at home are supposed to believe is thrilled with the fact that his once-mighty empire still needs the Rock to draw one million buys at WrestleMania.
At one point, prior to taking yet another poignant jab at the Rock, Cena said "Vince is probably going to fine me for this..."
The great irony of Cena's seemingly poignant comments, in defiance of Vince McMahon for bringing in the Rock, was that they were likely heavily influenced by the ego-maniacal chairman of WWE himself. A chairman whose ego was bruised when he learned that his product had eroded to the point where he needed help from a man he once (and probably still) resented for "using him" only to move on to greener pastures.
The nerve of Dwayne. To use an innocent company for his own gain only to discard them when he no longer needed them. The WWE would never do such a thing.
In all honesty, John Cena probably has no beef with the Rock. If anything, he would probably give his left tricep for the Rock to warm up to him enough to give him tips on how to become a real movie star, let alone say the words "John Cena" on Leno.
In firing up the Minneapolis crowd about the Rock using the WWE Universe for his own gain, Cena was simply being a good soldier and re-propagating the all-important demand of loyalty that the WWE implores on its independent contractors. Loyalty which, of course, the WWE oftentimes fails to return.
But the fun didn't stop there. Following Cena's fervent promo, a WWE Superstar—not important enough to get away with similar talk in a real-life capacity—texted the spam-filled, all-caps dirtsheet PWInsider.com, echoing gripes similar to Cena's:
"[The Rock] comes in to use WWE to get back the audience he lost doing Disney movies, which is fine but he’s been back over a year and name one person he helped make a bigger star since then? No one."
The notion that the Rock has to lay on his back for a mid-tier talent in order to make them a star and justify his questionable return is laughable at best.
Just last month, Dolph Ziggler seemed to be on the verge of being main event material. Throw in a poorly-booked match against CM Punk—where he was virtually beaten four times in one match—followed by a performance in the Elimination Chamber where Ziggler resembled more of a spray-tanned basketball than a wrestler, and he's now an afterthought. Is that the Rock's fault?
And while the Rock certainly disappointed at the box office with his Survivor Series appearance, he helped achieve monster revenue numbers for WrestleMania XXVII, as the pay-per-view drew more than one million buys for the first time in three years.
The Rock on a WrestleMania card will drive many people to watch the card who wouldn't have bothered had he not been advertised.
With all these added eyeballs, should a less-sexy name like Dolph Ziggler or Daniel Bryan step up to the plate and steal the show, they could convince these interested parties to stick around and invest in their talents long after the Rock leaves. If that's not an example of the Rock helping to make somebody a superstar, I simply don't know what is. You're welcome.
The bitter bottom-feeder continues:
“He’s here for himself, he keeps to himself, and he keeps someone who’s actually touring here all year from making a bigger payday at the bigger shows. It’s all about making this the “biggest” Mania of all time. OK, then what do we do the rest of the year? Who’s been made? You think he took ANY blame for Survivor [Series] not drawing? Of course not, but how do you feud with a guy on the Titantron?"
And just who does Rock keep from making bigger paydays? Certainly not the Chris Jerichos and CM Punks of the world, but rather the Tyler Reks and Tyson Kidds, who, had it not been for obscure online shows such as WWE Superstars, wouldn't have a job, let alone somebody to job to.
The Rock's presence on bigger shows like WrestleMania XXVIII means the show will be more top-heavy, and lower-card talent who nobody paid to see anyway will be left off of the card.
As a consumer, it pleases me to know that I won't have to suffer through bottom-feeder battle royal filler on the bigger shows, and instead will be getting a higher-quality product because of the added star power.
I just sat through a $55 dollar mess of an Elimination Chamber pay-per-view Sunday night. The fact that Justin Gabriel, who so admirably travels with the WWE everyday, got a payday that I didn't pay to see doesn't make me feel any better about wasting my money and is in no way a moral victory.
If anyone should be giddy about the Rock returning, it should be the professional wrestlers talented enough to make the card, as they will join the Rock in making bigger paydays.
So what if you traveled with the WWE all year and the Rock didn't, yet he's featured at WrestleMania. If you weren't able to make enough of an impact to ascend to WrestleMania status in that time period, don't blame the Rock. Blame yourself (and perhaps Michael Cole).
The intonation that the Rock is in it for himself just proves that he's still a professional wrestler to the core. Are we going to act like being selfish in professional wrestling is a cardinal sin?
Less than two short years ago, in this interview with the Boston Herald, Vince McMahon crooned about John Cena after Cena told him that he was willing to "Step on people on the way [to the top]" and "Apologize later" in order to grab the proverbial brass ring.
Triple H has waxed poetic both in and out of character of how his back-stabbing and toe-stepping ways served as one of his biggest strengths on his way to the top.
Are you okay with the Rock headlining WrestleMania XXVIII?
But now that the Rock has succeeded in escaping the perennial death-trap of professional wrestling, as any wrestler in his position would (and did) if they had the talent, he's the bad guy for rectifying a stale product lacking of mainstream relevance while getting a shameless plug for his movies in return?
We've been down this road before with the Rock, and we will continue to revisit it en route to the road to WrestleMania.
But the fact that many wrestlers are too myopic to realize the benefits of the Rock's mere presence in the WWE speaks to the fact that while the vast majority of Vince McMahon's business and wrestling acumen have left him, his ability to brainwash a predominantly uneducated locker room has not.
The elusive vacancies of WrestleMania spots are not reserved for certain superstars, and they certainly are not indebted to those who "bust their asses" for the WWE, especially if all that busting cannot draw a single dime.
I'm sure Tom Hanks worked super hard to make Larry Crowne watchable, but nobody saw it and, in turn, it wasn't nominated for an Oscar.
Bottom line, WrestleMania is one of those many events that bring out the business side of the WWE. That same business side that hawks a big ole' wrestler loogie when creative has nothing them. The Rock is good for business. And if the WWE ever truly wants to escape from his mercy, then like those who complain about Dwayne's aloofness, they simply need to get better.