WrestleMania 28 is less than two weeks away, and with it comes John Cena vs. The Rock.
In a matchup that WWE considered so huge they used the main event of WrestleMania 27 to cut a promo for it, has Rocky’s return ended up being a bit of let down? Has The Rock left himself in a position where he has more to prove than John Cena in this feud?
With the return of The Rock came a huge amount of expectation. He was one of the definitive faces of a golden-era of wrestling. For many of the fans lucky enough to have been watching at this time, The Rock was the cream of an incredible crop.
That was then though, what about now?
Since his return we’ve seen glimpses of the icon that would get the hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention with his legendary promo skills. But these glimpses have mostly come in the form of prerecorded work.
In terms of live appearances, the closest we’ve come to seeing The Rock we knew and loved was when he rock-bottomed Mark Henry without saying a word on Monday night.
More often than not his live work has seemed like Dwayne Johnson doing a tribute act to his old character—he’ll still pull out the catchphrases, but he doesn’t embody the persona as he once did.
He has spent too much time giving us Twitter reports, pulling out his Hollywood smile and giving us a show of humility. At times it’s been like watching a politician doing the rounds before an election.
Whilst it may be the case that Rocky has been holding back on face-to-face exchanges with John Cena, there is no way that the finale to his "Rock Concert" on the Raw before last was intentionally bad.
That wasn’t The Rock putting Cena over. That was Dwayne Johnson struggling through a poorly planned piece of promo work.
His return has done little to suggest that he’s still the same "Great One." He has absolutely nothing to prove from his original run in WWE, but his return may have given him something to address on the promo front.
But what about John Cena? Does he not have something to prove?
He does. But whether he has anything to prove in this feud is debatable. Questions on whether he could give us a successful heel turn, or if he could he do more to put over younger talent are not to be tackled in this particular angle.
At 34, and with the protection Cena receives, he should have at least another decade to answer these questions.
The one question he has clearly been asked to answer by creative is whether he can do something other than inspire kids with his promo work. And he’s given us a positive answer by cutting harder promos. So the one thing he’s been asked to show, he has.
Whilst both men still have to convince many of us that they deserve the top spot on a very strong WrestleMania card, as an individual, John Cena really has very little to prove in the conclusion of this rivalry.
The Rock on the other hand has worked himself into a position where he does. There are no doubts that he was truly "The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment," but is he still? He’s surely left us uncertain of the answer.