After vowing to win the WWE championship the day after WrestleMania last year, The Rock finally fulfilled that promise at the Royal Rumble by defeating CM Punk to win the title for the first time since 2002.
The tease of Rock winning the title nearly one year ago set in motion the chain of events that would shape WWE throughout 2012, even though he was rarely around to see what was happening.
Rock's appearance on the 1,000th episode of Raw last summer provided all the fans would need to see about who he would be wrestling for the title on the pay-per-view. CM Punk berated Rock during that infamous "shoot" promo two years ago, leading to WWE building up to this match.
There have been so many times in WWE, especially over the last five years, when the creative team gets a good idea but doesn't have the patience to see it through to the end. Stories get rushed and nothing ever builds.
One of the great benefits of teasing a Rock-Punk match so far out, and Rock not being around each week, forced WWE to wait and deliver on its promise of having him win the championship at the Royal Rumble.
WWE could have taken the title off Punk at any point in the last 15 months, give it back to him and set up this match. Instead, the creative team stuck to the plan that it had in place a long time ago.
It was clearly the right call, because it gave the build to this match extra heft. If Punk had just come into the match as another champion, no one would have bought into him as a threat to someone like The Rock.
Having Punk come into the match holding the title for more than 400 days added more drama to the story than you typically get from a big-time WWE championship match. It felt like it meant something, which doesn't usually happen.
Now WWE can focus on setting up the WrestleMania main event with The Rock defending the title, presumably against John Cena.
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