WWE: The Rock's Connection vs. John Cena's Divide

Micheal Robinson@nyyrobinsonSenior Analyst IIFebruary 28, 2012

On one side, you have The Rock, nine-time World Heavyweight Champion and as he said in The Game Plan, "number one in your heart!"

On the other, you have John Cena, 12-time World Heavyweight Champion and trying to rise above all of the hate.

Amongst all of the hype and uncertainty headed into this match, one thing is for certain; in five weeks at WrestleMania 28, these two are going to collide in the middle of the squared circle.

We've seen Andre The Giant vs. Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker, The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart and the list goes on and on.

We have never seen The Rock vs. John Cena.

On March 14, 2004 at the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, John Cena and The Rock participated in WrestleMania XX.

Only three years into his WWE career, John Cena, who was 26 at the time, defeated Big Show for the United States Championship.

The Rock, who had done it all at this point in his career, was teaming up with Mick Foley upon his return to the WWE in his potential last match against Evolution.

Little did we all know that eight years later, these same two wrestlers would collide for one of the most anticipated matches in WWE history.

A year in the making, a match set the night after WrestleMania 27, The Rock vs. John Cena on April 1, 2012 in sunny Miami.

While The Rock has been here before, as he wrestled and defeated the legendary Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 18 in his first dream match, Cena is walking into uncharted waters.

John Cena has everything to gain and everything to lose.

The Rock has nothing to gain and I would say nothing to lose, but you couldn't tell him that.

It is quite interesting how the fans perceived The Rock over the years as he has departed, returned and departed.

The off and on movie star Dwayne Johnson, has felt a little bit of "why did you leave us?" from the WWE Universe.

Apart from leaving the WWE, The Rock has done something in his WWE career that Cena hasn't ever managed to do, embrace the hate.

You see, The Rock and Cena actually have more in common than you think.

Originally the role model and easy to like Rocky Maivia, The Rock attempted to be more of a babyface than the late eighties Hulk Hogan.

The fans didn't take a liking to this during the early stages of the Attitude Era and chants of "Rocky Sucks" began to fill the arenas across the country.

This wasn't planned of course and as fans took a non-storyline approach towards The Rock's first persona on the WWE.

What did The Rock do about it? He simply take over the Nation of Domination stable and become the bad guy that you had to love.

A year after joining the Nation of Domination and sucking the fans in to actually like him, he turned on them on a dime and joined forces with Vince and Shane McMahon as WWE's corporate Champion.

Unfortunately, or fortunately for that matter, all things went as planned for The Rock, as fans once again got right behind him.

While The Rock and Cena's career paths seem somewhat similar, the big difference remains that The Rock was able to handle the hate.

Do you think for one second that The Rock enjoyed hearing the negative reaction from the crowd when he tried to be a babyface?

The Rock was able to really shine when he was authentic in his character and who he is, and stood up to the "Rocky Sucks" chants.

The Rock managed to be a heel you love to hate once again in his career, building up to his match with Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 19.

Cena on the other hand, hasn't mastered the form of accepting the fans input on his character.

Cena, like The Rock, is receiving nearly the same negative reaction towards his good guy character that The Rock once got early on in his career.

The big problem with Cena, this is been going on for way too long now.

Since Survivor Series 2003, if I could pin point an exact moment, when Cena teamed with Kurt Angle, he has tried to be a good guy in the WWE.

For the most part, Cena has been successful at best, gaining millions of fans from around the world.

However, stories fade and grow old and nine years later, we are past the point of wanting Cena to be a bad guy in the WWE.

I remember talking amongst my colleagues about Cena being a heel over two years ago. It still hasn't happened.

Who knows if it will even work at this point if Cena becomes a bad guy, but I am sure if WWE does it the right way, it can work.

Maybe The Rock is just the guy the WWE needs to steer him into that direction.

Then again, to most of Cena's young audience, they just think their hero is taking on the Tooth Fairy.

They got a lot of learning to do, don't they?


Follow me on Twitter @nyyrobinson. #TeamBringIt


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