John Cena, The Rock and CM Punk. One of these men is not like the other, now is he? Can you guess who it is? (Hint: there's a full answer and a half-answer, but I'll leave the half-answer to you.) If you guessed The Rock, then you were correct, sir or madam. John Cena and CM Punk are both full-time employees of the WWE. The Rock is classified as a part-timer, Brock Lesnar, and you could also name Triple H and Undertaker as part-timers as well.
The Rock, has been a topic of discussion since the 1000th episode of Monday Night RAW, where he stated that he would be meeting the WWE Champion at The Royal Rumble. Ever since then, it's been a long-winding road, that has been built primarily on The Rock facing CM Punk for the Title, with Creative doing all they can to ensure that Punk doesn't lose the title.
No, they've made no attempt to make it seem like Punk can beat his more recent challengers. Creative has apparently been told something along the lines of this: "I don't care what happens, you keep that belt on CM Punk...at least until The Royal Rumble."
With that logic in mind, WWE has taken great strides to allow CM Punk to slither away with the WWE Championship, following interference on one occasion, practically two matches that ended in draws, and a dirty referee allowing him to keep his title.
With Punk unable to defend his title against Ryback at WWE:TLC, we now have to look forward one month to The Royal Rumble.
It is at this point, that the WWE Championship match The Rock asked for will come to take place, which brings me to a recent argument I've seen appearing for awhile. Whispers of it began last year, when The Rock and John Cena claimed they would main-event WrestleMania and with word of The Rock potentially walking away with the WWE Championship, those whispers have grown to roars.
I'm talking about the argument for who should be at the top of the company. Who should be the ones getting the opportunities? The guys that work hard, year after year, day after day? Or the veterans who've been there, done that, and have since moved on, only to return with renewed star-power?
Both sides have merits and there's truth to a lot of different viewpoints to this argument.
On one hand, you've got your guys that work hard all year long. I'm talking the John Cenas and the CM Punks of the WWE. They're on the road close to 359 days a year (I could be wrong, but I figure it's close to that). This is all they have, and they leave it out there in the ring because this is what they do. They deserve to top billing because they put in the work, here and now, and without them there is no WWE.
From the top, to the bottom, from JTG all the way to John Cena, if the current roster quits there's nothing WWE can do, and guys like John Cena (who, in his own words, has been an active WWE Superstar longer than The Rock), make it their life.
To put someone who's here for a payday above that...is just a slap in the face to all the work they've put in while these guys have been off doing whatever it is they chose to do when they left the WWE.
On the other hand, you've got an Attitude Era staple and pretty much the biggest star the WWE has ever produced in The Rock, and Ruthless Aggression poster-boy like Brock Lesnar. These are two guys who put the WWE on the map with everything they brought to the table.
The Rock is a bona fide megastar. His appearances on RAW are known to generate some of the loudest, if not the loudest, reactions of the night, dwarfing pretty much every name including CM Punk, John Cena and Daniel Bryan. These men are all known for getting loud reactions, but they are nothing compared to the applause from the millions (and millions) of Rocks' fans.
Even returning as a heel (and maybe in this case it didn't matter), Brock Lesnar had the crowd chanting his name before it was even made public that Brock Lesnar would be at the RAW after WrestleMania, and thunderous applause was what awaited his return and subsequent F-5 to PG posterboy John Cena.
Surely the reactions of the crowds, the ratings, money and subsequent name-recognition brought by these men and others like them are more than enough to warrant the top spot when it comes to decisions in booking? Let's not forget, they were in the same position this new/current crop of superstars are in right now. They've paid their dues and made names for themselves. Why should they be shafted because they went on to do other things?
Now, granted there are some cases where things are different. I think just about everyone knows Brock is in this simply for the money, and The Rock is more than likely back because he missed this. (Granted, I'm sure the money didn't hurt either.)
Not to mention, both men were pretty much handed success to them. (Rock didn't take long to win the I.C. Title when he debuted as Rocky, and Brock was putting away some of the biggest names in the business from the start, including Hulk Hogan and The Rock.)
Honestly, It's a sticky situation and the WWE can't be faulted for going either way. On the one hand, the WWE has a future to worry about, but on the other hand, they've got to make sure they can make it to the future. It's no secret that The Rock brings in fat sacks of money, and CM Punk hasn't exactly been drawing like he should. (Not to say it's totally his fault, but he is the champion and by default should be the focus of the product.)
In my own opinion, I think it should always be a case-by-case basis. WWE has to look at what works and take a chance sometimes.
Now, WWE already messed things up by announcing its plans so early in the year, but the WWE should look at it from various points, like can the champion draw in a certain way (maybe they can draw as a certain type of heel, but not as a face). Does the champion have potential, or have they already peaked? Have they done all they can do with this champion? If we have him drop the strap to this legend, what can we do with this legend, keeping his schedule in mind? What is on the part-timer's schedule?
The stars have to be in perfect alignment for things like this, and sometimes it may be better to keep the title on the champion. Sometimes it's better to move it. There's nothing absolute about this.
The WWE has a wealth of legends, but it also has a wealth of new talent on the main roster and in development. WWE should find a way to let both co-exist. The past can, at times, be equal with the present, and I think using both is a great path towards a bright future. WWE just has to find the perfect balance.