Recently, WrestleZone.com reported a story about an anonymous text that PWInsider.com received regarding the Rock's recent appearances. The message(s) can be found at the link above, but I'd like to take a few moments and deconstruct what's said, because the majority of it is completely unrealistic:
"[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."
Okay, right off the bat. Disney movies? Look, I won't lie, I sighed and groaned when I heard Rock was going to be in the Tooth Fairy just like everyone else did, but name me a Hollywood actor that hasn't done at least two or three embarrassing kiddie roles.
I'd give you a minute, but you'd need about three million to figure it out.
While I'm on the subject of fellas who play roles cut down for kids, ever hear of John Cena? Yeah, Cena used to play a raunchy, freestyling rapper that regularly used vulgarity to insult his opponents.
He's had his character stripped from him little by little over the years till he's nothing more than a husk, a shell, a promotional tool WWE uses to bolster its public image with special interest groups, charity groups and the media. He has ZERO character anymore. He's just...himself. It's like Brad Pitt playing Brad Pitt in his next movie.
I hate Brad Pitt but the characters he played in Se7en and Fight Club were awesome. But in those movies, he played a character—not himself.
Why is that John Cena can play a goody-goody boyscout cartoon character, who always stands up for the honorable and just cause (especially when he's calling Vickie fat, calling Eve a whore and making out with the object of his friend's affection) and that's okay, but if Rock wants to play a role where he appeals to kids, suddenly he's selling out?
How many people has he made a star? Well, he's mostly been dealing with Cena, and while we're discussing Cena, Cena's been there 99 percent of the time, and he hasn't helped make a single person more famous.
Oh, sure, CM Punk defeated him twice in a row on PPV, but once was with a major distraction in the form of Vince and Laurinaitis, and the other was Triple H's bad call. CM Punk didn't gain a thing off those victories. He's popular now because of himself, and if he wasn't half as talented as he is, he wouldn't have stuck in fans' minds.
Then again, Cena could've doubled his popularity if he had taken clean losses to Punk instead of them being unclean. But that didn't happen. Know why? Because Cena is entirely loyal. HE is the new People's Champ, right? Not a Champion with People?
So...Rock doesn't make anyone a star, even though 100 percent of his attention is on Cena, and that's bad. Yet, Cena is there every night he can be, and Miz, Del Rio, Barrett, Punk and Truth all looked worse and gained nothing from feuding with Cena.
Tell me which is really worse.
"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."
Allow me to present you with a scenario. Take Rock completely out of this equation. Imagine for a moment that Rock's appearances ended at WrestleMania 27, and there was no yearlong build to WrestleMania 28.
So, someone would end up in a feud with Cena heading into WrestleMania, and very likely, Cena would be the favorite; he'd capture the title before then, defend it clean and walk away with the status quo completely intact.
The Rock is really the smallest part of the bigger problem.
The bigger problem is that Cena's title matches are all ridiculously predictable. Either he's going to take a huge beating, after which he magically finds a second wind and claims victory. Or someone comes to help interfere, and Cena's opponent "does the unthinkable" and pins Cena to win the title.
Same old song and dance. It'd happen at WrestleMania 28 if Rock weren't involved—I guarantee it. Thus, how is The Rock really taking away someone else's payday? They get that one shot, pretty much all it is, and if they don't look better than Cena (which, these days, is pretty much impossible) they get knocked down the card.
The Miz main-evented WrestleMania last year against Cena. This year? We're a month and a half away from the event and Miz isn't even scheduled in a match. He doesn't even have a solid feud in which to build a future match.
This problem has nothing to do with Rock. The problem rests with Cena. Rock coming back for a quick payday? Yeah. So is Jericho. Trish and Austin did it last year. Lawler did too. So what? Kelly is apparently lobbying for a match at the big dance as well. So what? Everyone wants to appear at WrestleMania and everyone will come out of the woodwork to be there!
Why is Rock suddenly the guy who needs to be blasted for this? Because he's not taking losses? News flash: He's a guest. Not saying every guest needs to be handed victories, but Cena is there all the time and he hasn't taken a clean loss in a standard one-fall match in at least four years.
You have any idea what Swagger could've gained by pulling an upset against Cena instead of just getting squashed numerous times? But no. Not even a hope.
Handing Rock victories, given how popular he's been in the past, I can accept that.
Handing Cena countless victories while the guy is here all the time? That's far more damaging. It has been damaging. It only maintains an unappealing status quo, which Rock has an opportunity to shake up, should he be victorious at WrestleMania.
"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? Cena nailed the guy dead on tonight."
Easy. The rest of the year you spend in Cena's shadow.
Regarding WrestleMania 28, more people will watch because Rock is taking on Cena in a huge grudge match. And if this person happens to be on the card, then this person owes it to him or herself to put on the match of their lives and milk it for every second they have on camera, because if you really impress, you can keep those viewers at home watching long after Rock is gone.
However, if Rock hadn't showed up at all, you'd just be in Cena's shadow still.
Rock has obligations. He sends video messages because that's what he can do. It's like playing chess over the mail. Takes forever, but the suspense and time involved causes you to have appropriate time to plan, and makes your victory mean more when it finally happens.
Cena's LIVE responses to Rock's TAPED video messages? They sound less genuine and less real than Rock's—and Rock's are on video, which can be edited.
What's really worse? A guy who's there all the time, but can't come up with strong enough responses on the spot? Or a guy who sends videos that entertain reliably?
"Say anything about HHH, Taker, etc. still being in the top spot but if they were needed to work the road, they would and they would still work their asses off as much as they needed to."
Okay, stop right there. In their primes, yes. In their primes, they'd work their asses off as much as they needed to. However, neither is in their prime anymore.
Taker is not working the road, and if he is, it's simple appearances, promos and backstage, NOT wrestling. Taker is barely in a condition good enough to wrestle one match a year at this point. WrestleMania 28 will likely be his last one. While we're on the subject, who is he putting over anymore?
And Triple H? Sure, the guy is still in condition to compete almost at the drop of a hat, but clearly he's not. He's transitioned to more of a backstage role. If he does tour, it's as a COO. We saw an ad during the last two nights of programming that apparently Hunter will be wrestling in action at live shows starting mid-March, but come on, that's warm up for his match with Taker in April, and it won't be many heavy-duty matches, count on it.
Once WrestleMania is done, Hunter will likely don the suit again and not wrestle, and you know what? I have no problem with that. They're both getting older and it doesn't make sense for them to try and wrestle when they have less gas in the tank for the quality matches they gave us in the past.
"Rock is out for Rock and the idea he's here to better anything but his own wallet is the biggest work of 2012."
Let's be reasonable. The only realistic way Rock could've avoided looking like a sellout that used WWE as a stepping stone is if he grabbed a mic at the Survivor Series he debuted at and said, "look guys, when I get famous enough, I'm moving up to Hollywood, all right? Cool? Okay, let's get on with this elimination crap..."
He didn't say that, and now he's getting heat for leaving the business and coming back for a WrestleMania paycheck.
Cena and this anonymous wrestler see fit to bash Rock for coming back for a WrestleMania paycheck, yet Chris Jericho interjects himself into storylines out of nowhere for a big WrestleMania moment, and that's okay? Why?
Because Jericho has competed in a few more matches than Rock has since Jericho came back? Big deal! Sheamus was a last-minute pick to win the Royal Rumble, not an official plan, and really the only thing Jericho's done beside that is to be a royal thorn in CM Punk's side. And to be honest, the only real way for Jericho to be useful in the role he's in is if Punk defends his title successfully.
If Punk loses, then a new potential megastar could have his cred damaged and his push will look less intentional than it has been.
Why doesn't Jericho catch heat for this as well? Because he appears on the show regularly and feuds with people face to face? First off, he's really only feuded with Punk, everyone else has been just acquaintances. Second, how long did Jericho admittedly TROLL the audience before actually making his intentions known?
Four bloody weeks? So, it's not okay for Rock to actually SPEAK in video messages, but it's okay for Jericho to harass new potential fans during WrestleMania season by not saying anything at all?
Yet, Jericho doesn't get heat for any of this. It's just Rock.
You know what? Don't quote me on this in any kind of way, but I hope CM Punk was the one behind this mysterious text. If you read it close enough, it sounds like stuff he'd say, in the exact tempo and tone he'd say it in. His character is known for being a loudmouth rebel, and sometimes, it's hard to turn that off.
Most of all, I love the idea of it being Punk who said it, because I'm tired of being called a Punk mark.
Punk speaks and expects people to argue over what he says. Someone wants to argue with Punk, he's more than happy to argue back. I've done my best to defend and explain what Punk says a lot of the time, and if it was him who said all this, I have no qualms about fighting him on it. Verbally, of course. Physically, he'd kick my ass.
Punk's my favorite wrestler, and IF it was him who sent the anonymous text, I'm honored to disagree to this level. He doesn't like Rock and he doesn't think Rock at WrestleMania is a great idea—I'm fine with all that being possibly real enough to text people about. I happen to think Rock taking on Cena at WrestleMania has great possibilities if booked properly.
Honestly, Punk wouldn't be my favorite wrestler if I agreed with every single thing he said and I'm proud of that.