CM Punk vs. The Rock: Why New Rock Is the Same as John Cena, or Much Worse

Shalaj LawaniaSenior Analyst IJanuary 26, 2013

A lucrative forewarning to all Rocky fans:  this is going to be a rant of sorts. If you have a weak heart or an inability to read what I have to say (or well, type) before you fling yourself onto the hate train, I would suggest you don't read this for my happiness and yours. 

Many months back, I fostered helpless beliefs that The Rock was a horrible character to have in the WWE. Helpless because I really didn't have a solution to it back then. At that point, I believed the Rock didn't belong in there mainly because he shattered the little things that actually accumulated to the credibility of the fake atmosphere the WWE tries so hard to maintain.

He couldn't take part in Fatal Four Way No. 1 Contender matches and was just handed a title shot on demand because he's The Rock and that sucked.

Now it's just not the divine hierarchical importance that he holds that sucks, it's everything about him.

Back then, when John Cena regularly outplayed The Rock in every promo, it was all dismissed because anyone who supported Cena over Dwayne Johnson was basically supporting PG era over Attitude Era, and in IWC terms, that's not cool.

Everyone here wants to look cool, which is why they bombard a cohort of noble comments about how Tyson Kidd should get into the limelight, but they forget everything when a Brock Lesnar or Rock makes a part-time appearance taking 20 minutes of the show that could've featured their favorite Kidd or Gabriel or Ryder. 

We provide the ratings to a Rock or Cena segment, and not for ones with Ryback or Shield and we demand change.

It was easy back then to ignore Dwayne's shortcomings as they lay in the shadow of John Cena's. It took one exasperated smile from Cena in one promo to negate all the childish smiling and joking from The Rock throughout the feud.

It was easy, and The People's Champion didn't have to do much than just smugly coast along with the tidal wave of emotions.  

The 2012-2013 Rock has been a malfunctioning prototype of The Great One. He's unresponsive, monotonous, for some reason finds a need to jump 50+ times and flex his muscles before making his way to the ring (and fortunately not get sued by Batista for it), unaware of his environment and most importantly, dumb.

It's just a beefed-up guy saying everything one of the best WWE superstars in history used to say and striking the same poses and we cheer along. Not unlike our "Woooooooos" whenever Ziggler struts or when Miz applies the Figure-Four even though we know they're not Ric Flairs. We just enjoy the moment, and celebrate the nostalgia. 

We are fans of wrestling, and we cheer for anything that made it good. But in doing so, at times we become the stringed puppets CM Punk claims we always are. We even chant "Rocky Rocky!" on demand!

There's no excuse of Rock is just stepping down so he can't outclass Punk this time, because he's been at the Rock Bottom of promo work lately. He takes too much time to get his humor across: humor that has been fantastically immature and scorn-worthy, and in those rare moments he gets serious to match CM Punk's seriousness, he's terrible.

There you had CM Punk making fantastic points about Rock's hypocritical humility, the entire concept of babyfaces in wrestling history and the way they play with the crowd's emotions, the prestige attached to the WWE Championship and how he's elevated it with a 430+ day reign that involved beating high-profile wrestlers.

He's shown everything that's wrong with WWE, and how it's somehow linked to our reactions. He set the platform up for Rock to just step into his already established avatar of being the people's hero. 

The Rock's response to that, if we swim through all the genitalia and "twinkie" and "cookie" jokes has been "Time's Up!," "It's Over!" and "I'll Rip Your Face!" He says stuff like "You couldn't even give them ice cream" when CM Punk just claimed a few minutes back that the last thing he wanted people to have was more ice cream.

He claims to have worked hard for 10 long years to get this title shot, which makes one wonder whether making blockbusters at Hollywood is the way to reach the WWE Championship.

This is exactly why we hated and continuously hate John Cena: he's always the producer of C-grade humor, hardly ever serious and has got a God-like status with the booking team.

But he can metamorph into a Cena-that-lost-his-smile and churn memorable promos like ones during Summer of Punk 2011, his feud with Rock and then Big Show and another here and there like the RAW before Night of Champions. 

The Rock, of course as his fans would kindly remind me, is deliberately keeping it disastrous on the mic in order for the stars to shine. 

Why this all infuriates me is not because I can't enjoy the show I watch for entertainment. I chuckle at Santino Marella's antics and Dr. Shelby's hugging routines despite them being goofy at times.

I do it and not complain because it's meant for amusement and Dr. Shelby isn't our kayfabe prima donna. We watch WWE to enjoy it, and the Rock is not enjoyment any more.

I loved Attitude Era Rock. He was unique, entertaining and truly a reason to cheer for. Sure, all the genitalia humor was back then too but there was seriousness and credibility when seriousness and credibility was demanded.

There was intent, passion and aggression and not 50 hops followed by a "It Doesn't Matter" and then a wide smile. That's what a humanoid programmed to mimic The Rock would do, not The Rock himself.

A genuine thank you for the read to all (especially if you hated each word as it popped up), and let's not get overboard with the hate. Much love.

Shalaj Lawania is known for his disappearing acts, because being there all the time is too mainstream. Do show him love, he needs it. For more love, you can follow him on Twitter if you have a good annoying tweets threshold. For the rest, use Wikipedia.