It's safe to say that the general consensus among WWE fans was that The Rock would drop the WWE Championship to John Cena at WrestleMania, take a hiatus immediately following that and then return either in late 2013 or early 2014. Things suddenly aren't so black and white, though, as there is now a chance that The Rock could be hanging around for an undetermined amount of time after WrestleMania XXIX.
According to the WWE's Facebook page, The Rock is scheduled to appear at Extreme Rules in St. Louis on May 19. Extreme Rules is, of course, the pay-per-view following WrestleMania, so perhaps The Rock will wrestle an additional, unexpected match. As every wrestling fan knows, cards are subject to change. The Rock is listed as WWE Champion in the advertisement, and there is obviously a high probability that he'll lose it at WrestleMania.
While his title status may change, the WWE is very serious when it comes to the talent it advertises. If The Rock is being advertised now, then the odds are that he will be involved with Extreme Rules in some capacity.
I consider myself to be a big fan of The Rock, and I am firmly in the camp that has no issue with his reign as WWE Champion. The Rock will always have his detractors regardless of what he does, but if he wrestles at Extreme Rules, then some fans will have to take a long look in the mirror. The initial thought was that The Rock would wrestle at Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, and that would be it. He already exceeded expectations by competing at Elimination Chamber and doing so at Extreme Rules would be the icing on the cake. That would make him the main attraction at one-third of the WWE's pay-per-views, so fans will have a hard time criticizing him with a straight face.
The Rock won't be classified as anything other than a part-time performer regardless of his Extreme Rules status, but the fact that he is potentially willing to wrestle at second-level events shows that he is committed to the company. He has outside projects, and he always will, but he has set aside a lot of time for the WWE. As much as I don't want to see The Rock lose, my expectation is that Cena will beat him at WrestleMania, and Extreme Rules will be the platform of their rubber match to determine who is truly the better wrestler. Cena could win that match, as well, which would allow The Rock to step away and return down the line.
Last year's Extreme Rules was a huge deal, thanks to the return of Brock Lesnar, and The Rock can make it a big event for the second consecutive year if he ultimately competes as is now expected.
The Rock to Appear at Extreme Rules in May?