Raw 1000 saw the major announcement from the Rock, revealing that he will be competing at next year’s Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View.
But it’s not the Rumble itself match that he will be participating in...
...The Great One is going after the WWE Championship.
After digesting the impact of this news, there is rampant speculation that we may be in store for a repeat of the Rock and John Cena’s memorable feud from earlier this year.
Though the match could happen at the Rumble, it seems more likely that it will be saved for WrestleMania in order to give it a proper build.
But is the decision to revisit this feud the correct call from the WWE?
This article takes a closer look at the reasons for reigniting the rivalry between these two future Hall of Famers.
The fact remains that anything involving the Rock is going to be a major draw. Whether it's movies, wrestling matches, or simply a message via satellite, people want to hear what Dwayne has to say.
The man is an icon.
And even though a match with Cena has been done before, bringing the WWE title into the mix will add an extra dimension to proceedings and help to sustain interest.
The chance to once again see the Rock enter WrestleMania as the champion will be wonderfully nostalgic; just another classic ‘Mania moment to add to the Brahma Bull’s esteemed collection.
The feud could have a wider reaching impact though, influencing the choice of other matches on the WrestleMania card as well.
In occupying him with Cena, this would end the possibility of a sensational rematch between the Rock and Brock Lesnar from SummerSlam 2002. Consequently, Lesnar would be free to pursue an equally star-studded feud with The Undertaker, building on the real-life heat between the two behemoths that dates back to a UFC event from 2010.
The inclusion of two mammoth main events at WrestleMania could make the PPV one of the greatest in history, satisfying both the company and its fans alike.
While it cannot be argued that a title match between the two would be a draw, the involvement of the WWE Championship seems like the easiest way for the company to milk the rivalry for all it’s worth.
A quick fix, if you like.
The consequences of which could be rather damaging to the longer-term plans of the company. Allow me to explain.
For the past few years, the Royal Rumble has been about so much more than a short-term financial gain. The attraction of the Rumble match itself is enough to bring in an audience, which arguably lessens the need for such high profile names to feature in title matches on the card.
The result is a chance for unproven names to impress on the big stage, without reducing the appeal of the show due to the draw of the Rumble match.
This would explain the recent trend of up-and-coming stars being placed in the WWE title match at the PPV, such as Sheamus in 2010, The Miz in 2011 and Dolph Ziggler earlier this year.
Thus, the Royal Rumble has been crucial in developing future stars for the company; however the Rock’s announcement seems to have ended the possibility of that happening next year.
Of course, the People’s Champion could still face an up-and-comer for the title, but to facilitate Rock vs. Cena II he would have to bury that up-and-comer anyway—hence damaging the longer term plans of the company.
As well as robbing new talent of their potential big break, the feud’s payoff would risk being all too predictable.
With the WWE’s reluctance to make Cena look weak and the release of the Rock’s movies G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Fast Six right around the time of WrestleMania, understandably the Rock won’t be available to stick around too long after the event. A Cena victory would appear to be inevitable.
Such predictability kills a great deal of the excitement of professional wrestling, and raises the likelihood of fans losing interest in the storyline.
With these perspectives taken into consideration, the idea of seeing the Rock vs. John Cena II for the WWE Championship seems like an increasingly bad one.
Initially, I was all for this match to go ahead.
Making the Royal Rumble such a blockbuster show and following it up with a rematch of one of the biggest WrestleMania draws in history sounds like a foolproof plan: It gets 2013 off to a fantastic start and could lay the foundations for it to be one of the biggest years in the company’s history.
But a closer inspection has revealed gaping holes in this “foolproof plan.”
If the Rock could be guaranteed to stick around for a few years, it could work. But unfortunately he can’t do that.
Furthermore, sacrificing the growth of future talent in order to place a returning legend in the title picture does not make a great deal of sense. In fact, it makes no sense.
Legends can sell out arenas on their own, and household names like the Rock and John Cena are no different. They don’t need a title to attract an audience, just a new and interesting angle to prevent us from witnessing a carbon copy of their previous feud.
For these reasons, assuming it was to come to fruition, the Rock vs. John Cena II should not be for the WWE Championship.
If the Creative Team could find that elusive, captivating angle, enabling the WWE title to be contested separately by full time talents, I see no reason why the Rock vs. Cena II should not go ahead.
But it appears that even this would be too much to ask for. Remember, this is the WWE we're dealing with, after all.