With the 1000th Raw only a week away, one of the major announcements recently has been the impending return of The Rock to the WWE as one of the many legends scheduled to appear at the historic show.
More interestingly, though, is speculating on what will The Rock have to say since it its pretty much a guarantee he will be making some kind of announcement concerning his future. Or even better to ask, if The Rock isn't making an announcement about his plans himself, how will WWE use his appearance to set up his next match or feud or storyline?
The last time The Rock was on Raw was April 2nd, one night after his WrestleMania victory over John Cena. In his victory/goodbye-for-now speech, he spoke or hinted at where he wants to go next in the WWE. In fact, he claimed he saw himself with the WWE Championship once again. But that's where the vision ended, and we haven't seen him since.
If The Rock indeed is being set up for a WWE Title match in the future, it won't be until WrestleMania so WWE can get the biggest bang for their buck, obviously. But it also makes locking down a match so far in advance more difficult than last year since you would have to have a committed champion all the way up to the April 7 date of the event.
What could be a very likely scenario for next Monday is to have The Rock and Cena pick up where they left off last time since Cena never got his closure after WrestleMania because of Brock Lesnar's surprise appearance.
Invariably whatever respect (whether grudging or sincere) they admit and show toward one another could wither away into another one of their back and forth sessions that involve "leaving" and "fruity pebbles" as well as the fact that Cena has the Money In The Bank Contract.
If Cena goes the upfront avenue of cashing in for SummerSlam, The Rock might very well appear in a guest referee capacity, which could put him in the position to count Cena the winner and new WWE Champion. If Cena holds the belt through WrestleMania next year (which we all know is cringingly possible), The Rock might be looking at a Royal Rumble victory to get his title shot against Cena and complete "the vision."
This is all a heavy amount of speculation that isn't anything new or groundbreaking in trying to forecast the immediate WWE future. But it does have its advantages for the company.
One, you're automatically boosting stock into a SummerSlam card that already has Lesnar wrestling Triple H. You add The Rock even in a non-wrestling capacity, and you could get a boost in buy-ins. (Yes, Survivor Series is evidence to the contrary with The Rock appearing in an in-ring capacity. That is true.)
Two, the Royal Rumble next year will benefit in the same way if The Rock is in the 30-man (or whatever they make the number) battle royal. It automatically makes the Rumble more interesting to watch, and sets up reason three: Rock vs. Cena II at WrestleMania inside MetLife Stadium with the WWE Championship on the line.
That's one perspective. What do you think the future holds for The Rock with the 1000th episode of Raw and beyond?