There’s recently been a lot of chatter about The Rock and whether or not he deserves one last big run in the WWE.
Surprisingly, it seems that many fans aren’t thrilled with The Rock’s recent return, his Royal Rumble title shot or his role on the road to WrestleMania.
The Rock’s biggest critics say that he shouldn’t get a WWE title shot, at all. Some say he shouldn’t get one unless he comes back full time. Others just want him to go away.
But, The Rock is not going anywhere just yet.
He’ll be in the WWE on what is essentially a full-time schedule through WrestleMania, and like it or not, he’s going to play a major role in the company for the next three months or so.
He more than deserves to be there.
While it’s easy to criticize The Rock for coming back and being thrust into the WWE’s main event scene despite being an actor first and foremost these days, you can’t argue with facts.
The Rock brought up a few facts about himself on this week’s Raw, but here are some facts about The Rock that he left out:
Fact: The Rock’s presence at Wrestlemania 28 helped the show generate more than 1.2 million pay-per-view buys.
Fact: The Rock’s appearance at WrestleMania 28 also helped the show become the highest-grossing WWE event of all-time.
Fact: The first Raw of 2013, which featured The Rock’s return, resulted in a 25 percent gain in viewership from the previous week’s Raw, which translates to roughly a million more viewers.
Fact: During the final hour of that Raw, the show had 4.65 million viewers. The Rock’s confrontation with CM Punk took place during that hour.
Fact: Last week’s episode of SmackDown, which featured The Rock’s first appearance on the show in 10 years, resulted in an increase of more than 400,000 viewers from the previous week’s show. The prior edition of SmackDown popped a 1.8 TV rating, while the episode with The Rock’s return popped a 2.2 TV rating, the show’s highest in months.
You can say anything you want about The Rock and how he is hurting the WWE’s long-term future by hogging the main event spotlight when he’s only a part-timer these days. Heck, that’s probably even true.
But one thing you can’t do is argue with the fact that The Rock equals money, and that’s what the WWE is all about.
The WWE is just like any other business. Its main goal is to make money and to do whatever it has to do to ensure that it does that.
If nothing else, The Rock has proven that he generates higher ratings and that he generates the company more money.
In other words, he’s a draw.
People want to see The Rock. People are willing to spend a ton of their hard-earned money just to see The Rock in person, even if it’s only to hear him put on a “Rock Concert.”
You can only say that about less than a handful of wrestling superstars, but not a single one of them has the outside or international appeal that The Rock has.
He has evolved into one of the top actors in Hollywood, so everything that he does is going to grab the attention of the media and interest of people who might not be interested in the WWE otherwise.
Does The Rock deserve this last big run in the WWE?
There’s no other WWE star, past or present, who has the worldwide appeal to both wrestling and non-wrestling fans that The Rock has.
Not The Undertaker, not “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and not even Hulk Hogan have the appeal.
That’s why The Rock’s nickname has changed from “the most electrifying man in sports entertainment” to “the most electrifying man in all of entertainment."
He truly can do it all—talk, wrestle, act. Hell, he’s even a decent singer who can play the guitar.
While having The Rock around for one last lengthy run may not bode well for some of the WWE’s up-and-coming stars, the fact of the matter is that it bodes well for the WWE as a business as long as he’s around.
The Rock is a future Hall of Famer and one of the biggest names in the history of the wrestling business—a bona fide superstar who is going to put more money in the WWE’s bank account.
If that wasn’t the case, then The Rock shouldn’t and wouldn’t be around. But it is, so he should be welcomed with open arms during what may be the last run of his career.
After all, the WWE will probably be a lot less interesting once Wrestlemania is in the rearview mirror and The Rock heads back to Hollywood.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!