I'm here to disagree with some Bleachers who have been critical of The Rock's return.
I've seen a lot of comments as well as a few articles indicating his return was not warranted, nor should it have been wanted.
The anonymous source within WWE which recently sent out a message agreeing with such sentiments has drawn more attention to the matter, too. I will address each of the main criticisms levelled against The Rock's return one by one.
1. The Rock is competing against John Cena - who is hugely established in the WWE - and had a squash match against The Awesome Truth (Miz / R-Truth). He is not putting anyone over during his return.
Firstly, The Rock engaged in a brief Twitter feud with CM Punk during the Summer of Punk.
Sure, it's not a real wrestling match, but it still gained bigger headlines than anything Punk himself was doing. Generally, the public agreed with Punk's comments, so it put him over.
Secondly, this match - short of beating the Streak - is the only thing left for Cena to do. This has more chance of putting him over than ending the Streak.
At first, people said a Cena victory would simply annoy people, but look at this: Cena, The Rock and WWE have successfully made a ton of the WWE Universe hate The Rock.
If they hadn't done such a good job of it, I wouldn't be writing this article!
If The Rock competed against anyone else, it would have to be a squash match - having him not compete against them stops him burying other stars.
2. He promised to never leave, then did leave, again.
Movies are planned years in advance, sometimes even decades.
The Rock didn't sign up to do these movies after he returned. He is appearing as often as is possible. He's also - as stated above - got no one to have matches with.
There's only so many times you can appear on WWE television without competing in an actual wrestling match, unless you are an authority figure, or The Undertaker.
He has actually appeared quite a few times really anyway, let's count them off - his return, the week before WrestleMania 27, WrestleMania 27, the week after WrestleMania 27, his birthday, the week before Survivor Series, Survivor Series, and now he has several pre-Wrestlemania 28 appearances lined up.
He will then appear at WrestleMania 28, the Monday Night Raw afterwards, and recently announced he intends to appear at WrestleMania 29. Presumably, there will be some kind of build-up to that appearance too.
3. Raw ratings only increase when Rocky is on the show, he is not increasing the show's overall popularity.
They still go up.
That keeps shareholders happy, and keeps the WWE making money. And if people tune in to see him and wind up seeing something they like featuring another superstar, maybe they will tune in again.
It is the WWE's inability to produce a product that can amass a huge audience today that needs criticism. They should go all-out and make sure the episodes where Rocky appears have a number of other real special moments to convince people to tune in again on a non-Rocky week.
4. WrestleMania will be a huge deal, but he'll disappear again afterwards.
Everyone said that he'd never come back.
Then he did, and everyone said he'd leave forever after WrestleMania 27. Then everyone said he wouldn't appear on WWE TV until before WrestleMania 28, yet he's been showing up on occasion.
Then, everyone said he wouldn't compete in more than one match, yet he competed at Survivor Series. Now, he said he will be appearing at WrestleMania 29.
5. The buyrate for Survivor Series did not increase significantly.
It still went up, significantly, compared to recent years.
It achieved this despite a fairly bland card - if you compare the card to previous years, it was a miracle it got as many buys as it did. You can easily say everyone who bought it was there for that match, as nothing else on there was really worth investing in.
Sure, he didn't "revive" Survivor Series to its former glories, but he still saved it - without him, it woulda been a disaster.
Survivor Series has been in steady decline for years and years. I'm unsure when it started but I had a glance at recent years - viewership decreased annually 2006-2009, with a minor increase in 2010 (though barely significant). The 2011 incarnation of the PPV was larger than 2010 and 2009's.
6. The match is boring because it's predictable (Cena will win as he's still with the WWE, thus putting him over serves more good than putting The Rock over) and has been too drawn out (having been announced a full year in advance).
Remember the Hogan/Shawn Michaels SummerSlam feud?
The plan was for Hogan to win the match, but then in a rematch HBK would win.
Plans changed, rematch never occurred.
It's not likely, but it's perfectly possible to imagine The Rock picking up the win before losing to Cena in a rematch.
Plus, the WWE does stupid things all the time. Why everyone assumes them to do the smart thing and put the younger guy over, I'm not really sure.
Call this feud boring, but it's the first time it has ever happened.
This isn't like HHH/Undertaker, or even Undertaker/HBK (who, though retired, took a central role in the HHH/Taker feud last year and this year, after having faced Undertaker himself in the two preceding years).
Really, there are very few feuds that fans can say they have never seen before.
This is one of them. If this feud hadn't been running all year, we would simply have seen Cena feud with lots of people he has already fought in the past.
7. The main events of WrestleMania being HHH/Taker and Cena/Rock removes prestige from the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship and draws attention away from the younger wrestlers, who are the future of the business.
The prestige of the World Titles has been destroyed by a number of things - frequent changeovers, having multiple world titles, the WWE's inability to create new, credible title holders. I would not say it is fair to say that this match-up has changed that much.
If anything, stopping yet another Cena title chase has improved the title scene.
8. It is unfair for a man who is not routinely on WWE television to be in the main event.
Picture the card, featuring The Rock, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker.
There are rumours we will see Trish Stratus and Shaq competing too.
Now imagine the card with none of those people. Who are you going to replace them with?
9. * Bringing It "via satellite" is a cop-out replacement for appearing live on Raw with John Cena
The style of promo delivery is pretty similar actually. The Rock is an arrogant character by nature. He doesn't alter his performance style based on audience reaction. You are receiving essentially the same promos, and it allows him to participate without appearing in a WWE ring to not compete (which would be very odd if it became routine).
10. The Rock is only here to make money, and doesn't care about the WWE Universe, it's all a lie.
You know this is kayfabe right?
When The Rock says he loves the WWE Universe, that's The Rock, not Dwayne Johnson.
I'd not class him saying "I love you, I am gonna stay here forever" as a shoot, it was a work. But he conned everyone into thinking it was a shoot, so good on him.
What surprises me is so many people within the IWC are as convinced as the general public that it was a "real" comment.
Furthermore, who cares?
Really, his motivations have nothing to do with why I tune in. I'm not part of "Team Bring It", I just think The Rock is an awesome fictional character.
With all that out of the way, what's left to criticise him for?