Should the Rock Face John Cena or CM Punk at WWE WrestleMania 29?

Tom ClarkFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2012

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If you smell what the Rock is cooking!

That’s right, folks—prepare yourselves—the People’s Champ is coming home, and he’s never leaving again.

On second thought, maybe we shouldn’t go down that road again.

But he may just be returning for the short term. According to, via, Rocky is set to become a major player once again in the house that McMahon built.

While we’re all digesting that information, I daresay that the majority of us are not really all that surprised by it.  After all, it was back on July 23 when Rocky and the current WWE Champion CM Punk had their first eye-to-eye confrontation on Raw 1000.  

The spark created from that moment led to the end of the program as Punk delivered a GTS on the most dynamic WWE performer of his generation.

That shocking spot, combined with the Rock’s announcement that he would be receiving a WWE title shot at the Royal Rumble, had most fans assuming that it would indeed be against Punk.

Well, maybe not “most” fans assuming.  It’s kind of hard for us to really agree all that much on anything.

For me, the game plan that made the most sense was Rocky defeating Punk at the Rumble, then going on to WrestleMania, where he would lose the belt to John Cena in the biggest rematch that WWE has ever seen.  While the news that the Rock will be hanging around a bit longer the next time he comes back is important, it does not guarantee that I’m right.  

And it does seem somewhat unbelievable that the most electrifying man in sports entertainment would return from his career in Hollywood and lend his star power to the company that made him, only to then lose on the grandest stage of them all.  

But I say that is the perfect way to handle what could be his last big run.

The question of if and when Rocky will really hang up his boots for the last time is one for another day. For me, what matters the most is what he does when he returns and how he could possibly go out against John at Mania.

For all the criticism that Rocky has caught in the years that he practically disappeared from WWE, the fact is that he is an old pro.  He understands how to do business and, more importantly, how to do the right thing for the business.

And, like it or not, the right thing for the business in WWE is Rocky doing the job to John Cena.

Truth be told, I have struggled a bit with this, mostly because I happen to have a great deal of respect for Punk and his talent.  He is a guy who made it from the ground up, and his success in WWE is not only well earned, it’s well deserved.

To see him actually go over on a top WWE icon is a big deal—a major statement by Vince McMahon. It would be a great moment for Punk and an historic match for WWE, as it would definitely represent a passing of the torch from one generation to another.


However, though I do appreciate everything Punk has done and what he means to the company, I believe that historic match will come against the man who is the true face of WWE: John Cena.

I’m not suggesting that I wholeheartedly agree with the move.  Again, CM Punk is a true main-event star and has carried the banner of the company as WWE Champion for nearly a full year.

For all his efforts and his hard work, he should be given the match with Rocky.

But when you talk WrestleMania, you’re talking more than just pro wrestling.  This is pop culture—Hollywood—that we’re dealing with.  Even the most casual person who never watches WWE has likely heard of WrestleMania, and a great number of those people recognize the Rock when they see him.

John Cena’s star is bright, and perhaps it has never been brighter.  Though he has not been the champ in quite a while, and his role at the top is now seemingly played by Punk, it makes little difference to a good number of fans.  It also makes little difference to Vince McMahon, who still regards Cena as the absolute top guy in WWE.

When you have two Superstars like this, you put them in a match.  It’s just simple math.  It worked at WrestleMania 28, and it would most certainly work again at WrestleMania 29.

And if that match does happen, it needs to end with Rocky doing the job.  It brings his rivalry with Cena full circle, ties up all loose ends and allows John to move on to his next challenge.


Feeling a bit unfulfilled?  Yeah, so am I.

Again, this is the match that many of us expect and the one that makes the most sense.  But I still find Rocky versus Punk at WrestleMania 29 a much more interesting bout with more drama surrounding it.

The question is: Which one will make WWE see dollar signs?  Which one would sell the most tickets? Because that is the one that will be booked.  So, what do you think?

It doesn’t matter what you think!  

Sorry, couldn’t resist.