WWE WrestleMania 28: Rock vs. Cena Build and the Hypocrisy of "Rise Above Hate"

Thunderlips@TheDustyFinishCorrespondent IFebruary 22, 2012

Haters Gonna Hate
Haters Gonna Hate

Rise Above Hate


It's a phrase that John Cena loves to throw around to his base of loyal followers within the Cenation. In actuality, it seems like a pretty genuine diatribe considering his attitude on all things based around criticism. But one would think someone who is beyond hate would also be beyond hating.

It all started years ago with Cena making comments about The Rock and how he turned his back on the business. Now every man is entitled to their opinion. Cena may honestly even believe what he is saying to be true. But for someone who is about rising above hate, you would think he'd mind his own business and continue to carry the WWE into the next era.

I think this is where the problem lies.

It has always been natural to compare the two, with both being icons of their generation. When an interview was given and people were asking Cena about The Rock, he has always had to stand in Johnson's shadow. Some men step up to the challenge and take it head on. Some men shrink, resorting to nay saying and name calling. I think Cena went with the latter.

Ever since his first cheap shot at The Rock until now, Cena's main gripe in this feud is that Johnson is not a loyal WWE employee. He contests that when The Rock got his chance to fly to Hollywood and rub elbows with the elite, he bolted from WWE. Let Cena tell it, The Rock has become nothing more than a snob, a user, someone who only comes to the WWE when it serves to promote a movie or gain more Twitter followers. Now I am no Rock mark, but this seems to be hyperbole.

A smile that only women and children can love
A smile that only women and children can love

Cena tries to paint himself as an every-man, a Joe Schmo, the real peoples' choice. And even when you boo him, he admires you because you are using your God given right to make that choice! Ahhhh, Cena makes it all seem so beautiful. But it's not.

In reality, he is the face of the WWE. He is the bread winner, the shirt seller, the biggest piece to the corporate puzzle. He rubs elbows with elites as well, just not in Hollywood. Guys in the back look at Cena the way Cena looks at Johnson. John tries to act like an every-man, like he is the voice of the locker room, but he makes millions of dollars from the WWE.

Cena is no more connected with the fans than Johnson is, from a common man standpoint. While he may be a good guy, he is playing his hand just like everyone else. Under all the smiles and catch phrases, I predict that John Cena is the biggest critic of them all. At least when it comes to "The Most Electrifying Man in Sports and Entertainment."


I Fight for the "Professional Wrestler"

Now, if one of my co-workers only worked a fraction of what I did, made double the pay as I did and seemed to be more favored than me even though I'm doing all the heavy lifting I would be upset as well. This would give Cena a very valid point in his criticism of the on and off Johnson...if not only for a few obvious reasons...

Firstly, The Rock is a third generation wrestler who was raised in the wrestling business. We all know the stories of his father, Rocky Johnson, and his Grandfather, Peter Maivia. The man is a part of wrestling history. It's in his blood. After an attempt to play professional football, he thrust himself into what we know now as sports entertainment.

Once he got there, strapped with an awful gimmick, The Rock used his charisma to turn himself into one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He is a nine-time champion, Triple Crown winner, Royal Rumble winner and has countless of other accomplishments. And even till this day, as we are now witnessing, he is still one of the most over guys in the business.

Rock traveled on the road, fought through injuries, spent time away from his family and paid his dues just like Cena and everyone else in the back. So while he continues to argue that Johnson should have never left, he has failed to give reason on why he should have stayed.

I would also like to note, Cena wants to champion himself as the voice of the wrestler in the back. But I ask you, who is the last guy he helped get over? What young guy has he given a rub to or let get a clean win on him? Who is the last person or when is the last time John has lost clean for that matter. Even Orton is helping some of the young kids get over.


Please Don't Go

Now we know that Johnson said that he was here to stay. That he would never leave the WWE Universe again. But the fact that Cena and many fans took him literally is amazing. I think he was pointing to the fact that in the past he wanted nothing to do with wrestling, as in to keep his Hollywood appeal strong. This time around, he is going to wear his wrestling roots on his sleeve and not be ashamed to admit of being a wrestler.


This is the wrestling business. Wrestlers retire and re-emerge all the time. They leave promotions and allegiances all the time as well. That John Cena is so desperately trying to cling to this one point only shows that he has nothing else to attack, while also showing that he may not be in the same league as The Rock in the process.


The Other Guys

What bothers me most about Cena and others who criticize The Rock for coming back only to further his own cause and to earn a check is that no one criticizes the others who do the same. Plenty have had the chance to put over younger talent while coming back with spot appearances and have not.

The Undertaker shows up for a one or two month period every year during WrestleMania season. He jumps right into a feud with another Attitude Era star, which doesn't help get any of the younger talent over by the way, does his dead man thing in a main event spot, wins and then disappears until it is time to do it again.

Some would say Taker has earned the right to do that, which is true. But tell me why Rock hasn't? The Rock has accomplished everything he can in this business and decided to leave on top. Some fans and wrestlers alike are fickle. We yearn for the day that Rick Flair sits down and stops making a mockery of himself, but yet we want The Rock to do it forever. Nonsense.

Since being retired, Shawn Michaels has shown up on Raw a few times, rubbed noses with already established stars on the brand, which doesn't help get any of the younger talent over by the way, did his dance and left. Just as early as two weeks ago on Raw he had the perfect opportunity to dispel Triple H's notion that along with Undertaker, they were the last of a dying breed.

Two long time greats... but are they taking up needed spots?
Two long time greats... but are they taking up needed spots?

Shawn could have put some young guys in the back over by saying there still remain guys who leave it all on the mat every night. But he didn't, he was there to sell Triple H versus Taker. Now mind you again, I agree this is what he should be here to do. But far too often I hear fans and wrestlers say that Johnson is not coming back to put anyone over, but don't mention any of these guys.

Not fitting the above theme, but even John Cena's "broski" said that he was using his YouTube show to either get himself a push or pushed out the door in WWE. I totally understand Zack Ryder's position, but let Cena tell it, that is not the behavior of someone who has wanted to wrestle all their lives. A WWE Superstar should want to become a WWE Superstar and stay a WWE Superstar.

There could be cases made for guys like Triple H, Jericho or any other WWE longer timer that has left for personal/professional reasons or said they would only come back to a light schedule with as little road time as possible. A number of guys could be targets of Cena with this issue, but he seems only to be focused on "The Great One."


April 9th.

Cena says that the greatest thing about April 1st is actually April 9th. That is the week after Mania, when Rock goes back to Hollywood and all goes back to normal in WWE land. See, Cena says stuff like this that sounds great on the surface. But what he fails to point out is that, if he is filming a WWE film or doing a WWE event that would cause him to be somewhere, he has to miss time too. Don't vilify Rock for things you do.

Is this where The Rock will be on April 9th?
Is this where The Rock will be on April 9th?

Also, being that he is so against the whole Hollywood thing, why has he yet to tell Vince I'm not interested in doing films, I'm a "professional wrestler." He is speaking like a politician. The thing is, I am sure when WWE created their film division and Cena was their biggest draw, they thought Cena would pack the box offices...Cena did as well. But since it hasn't worked out, he has to tuck tail and act like being an actor is such a bad thing.

Lastly, Cena would claim his beef is not with being an actor but leaving WWE to become an actor. Well, it seems Stone Cold has taken that route too. Austin hasn't been back a billion times himself. Is it just because The Rock has become a successful actor? A successful actor in the Hollywood sense?


3 Rounds.

From all that I know, Cena has never had the opportunity to be featured in a major motion picture that would pay him upwards of $20 million. He hasn't had the opportunity to leave the WWE to go to one that would pay him more. It is easy to sit up and say you would never leave the WWE for Hollywood when you know the chances of it happening are slim to none anyway. It's also easy to say that when you are again, currently the face of the WWE.

And for all the fans who applaud Cena for his self swipes at himself and his acting, he wasn't saying these movies where garbage when he was shilling to you to go to the theaters and buy a ticket or go to Walmart and buy the DVD. His attempts to bring The Rock down for being an actor is only showing his disappoint in his own inability to do so.

The Doctor of Thuganomics can bash Dwayne for being the "Tooth Fairy," for hamming it up in a tutu. But Cena has one of the campiest gimmicks on television minus the Walt Disney suit. And now of days most people despise him for it. I call it "the pot calling the kettle black". Is it that Dwayne can be a Disney star and make millions pandering to children while Cena cannot? Even when Cena decides to "Marine" it up in films it flops. Yet when The Rock goes tough guy in movies, it seems to fair well more than not.

9 Rounds too many according to Mr. Cena
9 Rounds too many according to Mr. Cena


Who's the Boss.

This brings me to my last point.

I am sure a dime to a donut that Vincent K. McMahon contacted The Rock to do WrestleMania 27 as well as 28. So where is Cena's hostility towards the boss? Why all the hatred towards Johnson as if he contacted WWE to make a quick buck just to bolt?

See, this all has to do with underlying jealous. The WrestleMania 28 match between Rock and Cena will be a great one no doubt. And it is Vince McMahon's job to put on the best matches possible. But don't think for a second that this doesn't have anything to do with poor buy-rates, lack of interest in the product and it's performers. Many of the guys in the back, including Cena, rip The Rock for coming back and taking someone's spot. But the reality is, if Vince didn't need him to come back he wouldn't be back.

If some of the WWE superstars in the back would take the initiative to become better in the ring and on the mic, to try and rise to The Rock's level, than it would be no need for him. People want to point fingers as well as blame, but the fact of the matter is The Rock still over shadows anything going on in the business today. Don't blame Rock. Don't blame Vince. Blame yourself.


Yes, that includes you too, Mr. Cena.

The vibe that have I have gotten from Cena in this whole matter is jealousy. Not so good from the man who touts Hustle, Loyalty and Respect. As I have watched the countless cheap shots that the both of these men have thrown back and forth at each other, since Cena started them when Johnson was far and away from the WWE, I always thought it could be ammunition to start a great rivalry. Just not the entire basis for one.

At the end of the day, it's Vince's decision
At the end of the day, it's Vince's decision

That's not to say that The Rock hasn't contributed to this farce, his quips just always seem to be more valid. And now that we are less than two months away from WrestleMania 28, I can't help but to think that the bickering isn't helping build to the epicness that this match could have been.

Instead of building this match on two icons clashing and finally seeing who is number one, it has been built on Cena trying to convince people that The Rock is a charlatan, a con artist. In reality, being in Rock's shadow has finally started to get to him.

When Cena started acting, the parallels between the two were inevitable. Two wrestling icons turned actors. Two sex symbols in wrestling terms taking their leading man bravado to the silver screen.

But when the reviews started to come in, The Rock was getting accolades and Cena was hitting rock bottom. Even in wrestling terms, Cena has been billed as great for his period, but not an all time great. The Rock on the other hand, comes to Cena's house and still gets larger ovations.

So after all the comparisons, after all the questions, after all the dismay, Cena let his feelings ring true.

And since the first time he decided to speak on Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson he showed that while he can "Rise Above Hate", he himself is nothing more than a hater.