When The Rock returned in early 2011, no one was exactly sure what his future in the WWE would hold.
Ditto for Brock Lesnar when he came back in April 2012.
But now, it’s February 2013, two full years after The Rock first returned, and both men are still here. They’re not just here to hang around, either.
The Rock ended the historic title reign of CM Punk and is now the WWE champion on the road to WrestleMania 29. Meanwhile, Lesnar reportedly has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him with the WWE all the way through WrestleMania 31 in 2015.
If nothing else, we’ve learned during their time back so far that both The Rock and Lesnar are going to be pushed like the major stars they are whether or not they are going to be working full-time. After all, if that weren’t true, then The Rock wouldn’t be your current WWE champion.
Although it’s essentially a given that The Rock will drop the WWE title to John Cena at WrestleMania 29, that doesn’t mean that he’s leaving the company altogether. In fact, there’s been virtually nothing to suggest that he’ll be done with the WWE for good anytime soon.
The Rock will most likely continue to pop up from time to time just like he has over the past couple of years, and when he does do that, he’s going to run into that “other” part-timer who just returned a couple of weeks ago: Brock Lesnar.
After about five months away from the WWE, Lesnar made his triumphant return on Raw a couple of weeks ago and is already wreaking havoc on anyone who gets in his way. Lesnar’s attacks on Mr. McMahon and The Miz seem to be leading to the return of Triple H and a rematch between the two at WrestleMania 29.
But then what? Well, just like he did last year, Lesnar will probably be written off of TV for a while before returning for the next major pay-per-view, SummerSlam.
There are all kinds of possibilities for Lesnar’s potential opponent at the summer classic, but a match with The Rock seems more likely now than at any point since both men have been back in the WWE.
According to F4Wonline.com (via WrestlingInc.com), “There is talk of using both Brock Lesnar and The Rock at this year's SummerSlam pay-per-view. WWE really wants the Hollywood community to be part of SummerSlam's festivities and both stars would help make it seem like a bigger event.”
The report doesn’t mention the possibility of The Rock actually taking on Lesnar, but just imagine how huge that match would be.
By that point, The Rock will likely no longer be WWE champion, will probably have moved on from both CM Punk and John Cena and will have been off of TV for a few months. Meanwhile, Lesnar vs. Triple H should be over and done with, and Lesnar should also be returning from hiatus and looking for a new feud.
Sounds like a match made in heaven.
The WWE showed with Rock vs. Punk at the Royal Rumble that it’s not afraid to have huge matches take place on non-WrestleMania pay-per-views, and it wouldn’t get much bigger than Rock vs. Lesnar at the summer blockbuster event.
SummerSlam was once viewed as one of the WWE’s biggest attractions, but it has lost a lot of its luster over the years. It hasn’t felt like a very special PPV very often, and aside from a few bouts here and there, it hasn’t featured the must-see matches that you would expect to see from a “Big Four” pay-per-view.
Having The Rock vs. Lesnar take place at the PPV would change that.
It was 11 years ago at SummerSlam that the young upstart Lesnar beat The Rock to become WWE champion, and there would be no better way to celebrate the anniversary of that monumental moment then by having these two face each other again.
Obviously, both The Rock and Lesnar’s star power have grown exponentially since then. The Rock has gone on to become one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors while Lesnar, whether in UFC or the WWE, is one of the biggest PPV draws around.
Putting them in a one-on-one encounter is just too good to pass up, especially when you consider that SummerSlam takes place in Los Angeles—a city that’s filled with celebrities and would generate a ton of publicity for a show that features one of its biggest attractions in The Rock.
If The Rock vs. Lesnar isn’t going to take place at WrestleMania 29 like many wrestling fans want it to (and we all know it’s not), that’s not the end of the world. There are other ways to make this match happen, and SummerSlam is the best choice.
The WWE is looking to make SummerSlam a more important/special pay-per-view, and in order to do that, the company needs to do something extraordinary. The Rock vs. Lesnar fits that bill.
On one side, you’d have an A-list actor, the most well-known pro wrestler on the planet and the current WWE champion. On the other side, you’d have a former UFC champion, a huge PPV draw and arguably the most intimidating man in sports entertainment.
If this match doesn’t happen at some point over the course of Lesnar’s new two-year extension, it would be a borderline travesty. But those within the WWE know better and realize that this match has to take place.
It will happen in 2013, and don’t be surprised if it takes place at SummerSlam and makes the “Big Four” PPV actually seem big again.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!