April 1st is drawing ever closer and soon a year of buildup will either fulfill its promise or leave us disappointed. It has been a long time since WWE has put as much time and effort into a feud as they have with The Rock vs. John Cena.
In what may be a fruitless endeavour, WWE have been gunning for a split audience. Formerly the company could care less about who the fans cheered, with Cena ironically being the proven point. Once upon a time, if a guy was continuously booed he was turned heel. Today it just means WWE can capitalise off anti-merch.
In the end, however, it doesn't matter how this plays out before WrestleMania because all that counts in this feud is how the match is going to end.
I think it would be safe to assume that this going to be one of those matches where we see Cena take several Rock Bottoms and keep fighting. Rock will receive a few Attitude Adjustments and kick out.
From Sharpshooters and STFs to Five Knuckle Shuffles and People's Elbows, this match will give us everything it can give. It has no choice but to.
But in the end there has to be a winner and loser. It is with the result of this match that WWE can plot the course for their flagship star. The problem is that only one outcome leaves them with room for fresh material.
If Cena wins at WrestleMania, the product will be left in a stale state. With Rock leaving after the event, the loss won't affect him. He's lost plenty of matches to opponents better and worse than Cena. It was one of his endearing qualities when he was an active wrestler, you could count on Rocky to put almost anyone over.
As for Cena, there will be nothing left for him to do. He's already beaten everyone on the roster and is close to breaking the record for World title wins. There is only so much you can repeat before fans go out and look for something new.
Sure if The Rock wins it will mean just as much to his career as a loss. After all he isn't a full-time wrestler anymore. A loss of Cena can give him more to work with.
As we all know, Cena runs on a Never Give Up mentality. But if you think about it, he has never had to prove he lives by these words. With very few clean losses under his belt, he has never had reason to doubt himself or consider quitting.
A dirty loss always means he has the resolve to fight again because he knows his opponent played dirty and needed to do so if they ever wanted to defeat WWE's Superman. Even with the people he has lost clean to, like Triple H and Shawn Michaels, he had previously picked up victories over them.
This is how I could see Cena's career play out for the year following WrestleMania XXVIII. After losing to The Rock, Cena goes back to his job. He fights the good fight and continues as normal for a few weeks. But with each progressing show, his loss beings to eat away at him. The Rock is the only person who he has never beaten and it looks as if he will never get another chance.
Cena from this point could go two ways. Firstly, he could become increasingly erratic where he takes out the frustrations of his failure on others. I think this is unlikely since this will lead to a heel turn.
The other option is to make Cena more lethargic with each match, seemingly more meaningless in light of his WrestleMania loss. In the end, he has no choice and appeals to The Rock for a rematch.
It is known that The Rock will be at WrestleMania XXIX. If The Rock vs. John Cena is a big enough success then whose not to say they will rematch a year later? I know some of us will be split on this because others have seen the buildup to the current match as overblown.
But maybe the only way to get Cena to lose clean at this year's WrestleMania is to promise him a win at the next.
In the end, I just hope we get an entertaining match with a lot of promise for material afterwards. But that doesn't change the fact that a loss is going to count for more than a win for either man.