The Rock will put the WWE Championship on the line in a WrestleMania 28 rematch with John Cena. While the reaction to the second meeting has been mixed throughout the fanbase, it's undoubtedly the best move for the WWE.
It's important to remember that WrestleMania is, by far, the biggest show of the year for the company. Even among the other major shows like Royal Rumble and SummerSlam, it's head and shoulders above the rest.
In turn, that means the creative team must work a balancing act between keeping the diehard fans, who watch every show, happy while also attracting the mainstream audience, who are only interested in major events—the people who will watch WrestleMania but not SmackDown every Friday night.
Giving The Rock a title run despite his inability to appear on television every week is a perfect example. It's hard for some fans to accept the fact that the top champion in the company comes and goes without having matches on the weekly shows.
Yet, it's working out great for the WWE because having a Hollywood star in a prominent position allows for a lot of added attention. The same goes for the rematch between The Rock and Cena.
Even though Cena didn't have a banner year in 2012, he's still the biggest star the company has to offer. CM Punk's title reign helped him move closer to that top spot, but the record 10-time WWE champion is still the main man.
Putting him in a match with The Rock should attract a lot of buzz as the show gets closer, especially with the current champion making the rounds to promote all of his other endeavors. The more press the better when it comes to WrestleMania.
Last year's match was a success, and, even though the unique feel doesn't exist this time after being dubbed "Once in a Lifetime" during the 2012 build, the rematch should once again be an attractive storyline for the coveted casual viewer.
One suggestion was to put CM Punk in the match to create a triple-threat encounter for the WWE Championship, which would have added some unpredictably to the situation. As of now, it will be a major surprise if Cena doesn't walk out of MetLife Stadium with the title.
The problem with that is the company would be spreading its talent too thin. It already relies on various other part-time veterans like Triple H, Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker to help carry the product during this crucial time.
Looking at the card now, and assuming Triple H vs. Lesnar gets added soon, illustrates the importance of keeping Punk out of the title picture for now.
There are three terrific matches in The Rock against Cena, Punk against Undertaker and Triple H against Lesnar. That gives the card a solid foundation and should generate most of the hype the WWE is hoping for in the coming weeks.
After that, the only other scheduled match is Alberto Del Rio against Jack Swagger. While Del Rio has handled his face transition well, and Swagger's new gimmick alongside Zeb Colter is solid, that's a major drop off.
The key is that Punk has a chance, however small, to actually end the streak. There isn't another superstar on the current roster who would have been a realistic opponent for Undertaker. Anybody else would have cheapened this year's defense of the streak.
So, letting The Rock and Cena go one-on-one on the biggest wrestling stage of them all for the second straight year was the wise decision.
Not only did it free up Punk to take on the Undertaker, but it's also a feud that had plenty of success last year, meaning there's very little risk in having a rematch.
Ultimately, it's vital to keep in mind that the WWE is a business above all else. Even though there are countless different dream booking scenarios, the focus is always going to be on putting together the card with the most widespread appeal.
Having The Rock take on Cena again fills the main-event slot and should be a smashing success once again. Is it the perfect match? Probably not, especially for fans who spend the entire year thinking about the top WrestleMania bout and get a glorified repeat.
But when you consider all of the different options available, the rest of the card and the drawing power of both The Rock and Cena, it's the best decision the WWE could have made.
Just consider it "Twice in a Lifetime."
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