As we head into WrestleMania season, speculation is swirling around just what will take place at the show.
Who will be WWE Champion going into the event? Is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson going to have one last run with the title? Will he be paired with John Cena or CM Punk?
Interestingly, In this week's (subscribers-only) F4W Newsletter, Bryan Alvarez gives an update on what is currently being discussed internally for the event:
Ready for the latest WrestleMania rumors? At TV this week, now that Punk retained the title and is almost certainly heading to Rumble to face the Rock, a scenario being discussed was for Punk to actually beat Rock and retain the title. Rock vs. Cena II at WrestleMania would then be a non-title match.
Alvarez goes on to note that idea has some positives, namely that such a result would ensure WWE management would not have to worry about only having a part-timer with limited availability as a World title holder:
I do know that a few weeks ago there were discussions about how to handle that situation since Rock winning the title would mean no WWE title matches at any house shows for almost three months, plus there was the issue of whether he was going to defend the title at or work on the Elimination Chamber PPV. Not giving him the title would solve that problem.
This is interesting idea, with a few ramifications. While Alvarez is correct to note that allowing Punk to retain the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble would free the company of any worries about Rock's ultra-hectic movie schedule, it still seems rather short-sighted.
Sure, Rock would not be around much, but the mainstream attention and press WWE would get from having a genuine A-list star hold its main title would surely outweigh any of the inconveniences. Can you imagine the publicity WWE will garner from TMZ, E!, Entertainment Weekly, etc., if Rock wins the title at the Royal Rumble? It would be like nothing the company has ever seen.
There's also the fact that, for all his talent, CM Punk's lengthy reign isn't exactly bringing about the next boom period, as the middling ratings and lukewarm fan response to Raw attest to. Is allowing him to hold the title even longer than he already has that good an idea?