The Rock: Agreement to Post-WrestleMania 29 Dates Should Halt Fan Criticism
While most wrestling fans seemed to enjoy The Rock's return to the WWE, there is certainly a contingent of fans that has been critical of him. New information regarding his post-WrestleMania XXIX plans should put that criticism to rest, however.
According to WrestlingInc.com (via Wrestling Observer Newsletter), The Rock will work multiple dates following WrestleMania, including Extreme Rules, which will take place on May 19 in St. Louis. It seems like most fans expected The Rock to wrestle at Royal Rumble and WrestleMania before taking off, but he has already exceeded expectations and appears poised to continue doing so.
Will you be impressed if The Rock sticks around past 'Mania?
It was discovered a few weeks back that The Rock was being advertised for Extreme Rules, but he was soon removed from the advertisement. Apparently either he or the WWE had a change of heart, as they were able to work something out. The Rock is obviously incredibly busy with his movie career, so it's very impressive to me that he is remaining committed to the WWE past WrestleMania.
There are still fans out there who will speak ill of The Rock's involvement in the WWE, but it's ludicrous to suggest that he doesn't care about the business. That seems to be the main criticism of The Rock, but it has always been unfounded. It has been said that The Rock only comes back for the money so he can promote his movies but, if that is the case, then he certainly wouldn't be signing on to work Extreme Rules.
Also, I'm sure The Rock could have gotten away with not working Elimination Chamber either, but he did. It would have been very easy for him to beat CM Punk for the WWE Championship at the Rumble, drop it to Cena at WrestleMania and shift his focus back to the movies until WrestleMania XXX gets closer, but he has made the decision to dedicate himself to the WWE.
I realize that he has missed a couple episodes of Raw as WWE Champion, which obviously isn't ideal, but he has counteracted that by appearing on SmackDown on occasion as well. The Rock is never going to be a full-time competitor who works house shows and wrestles on a weekly basis again because he is too firmly entrenched in the entertainment realm, but he is giving the fans all that he can at the moment.
As good as Extreme Rules was last year, it clearly isn't one of the WWE's major pay-per-views. If The Rock wrestles there, however, it could evolve into a top event. Brock Lesnar made it a big deal in 2012 as he faced Cena in his first match back in the WWE, so booking The Rock for Extreme Rules 2013 would absolutely keep the momentum rolling.
Although The Rock is apparently now in line to appear at Extreme Rules, there is obviously no guarantee that he'll wrestle. With that said, a lot of fans would be disappointed if The Rock simply appeared on the show to cut a promo. The WWE seems committed to holding the fans' interest in the aftermath of WrestleMania and The Rock having yet another match would clearly accomplish that.
At this point, there is little doubt that Cena will beat The Rock at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship. The Rock went over last year, which surprised a lot of people, so Cena is in line to get the rub this time. If Cena does beat The Rock for the strap, then The Rock is entitled to a rematch. I suppose the WWE could ignore that fact and simply move forward, but the "rematch clause" has become commonplace.
Assuming that The Rock will get a rematch, it's likely to take place against Cena at Extreme Rules. I realize that it may seem like a step down for their runner match to happen at Extreme Rules after two WrestleMania matches, but I can't imagine that there are many fans out there who want to see The Rock vs. Cena III at WrestleMania, especially since many are already complaining about The Rock vs. Cena II.
If they do wrestle again at Extreme Rules, Cena can win the match and the series, while The Rock can then move on and return later in the year. An alternative option is waiting until SummerSlam to have the rematch since that is a bigger pay-per-view, but that means the WWE Championship would essentially be in a holding pattern for four months.
The Rock vs. Cena III at Extreme Rules seems like a very real possibility and The Rock deserves a lot of credit if he agrees to it.
Even if The Rock doesn't wrestle at Extreme Rules, it sounds like he plans on hanging around for a while following 'Mania, which is a lot more than we could say last year. The Rock simply showed up a month before WrestleMania XXVIII, beat Cena and then went on hiatus. I didn't have an issue with it, but there are many fans who did.
Those same people who jumped on him should praise him now, though.
The Rock isn't a full-time wrestler, but the fact that he'll be at Extreme Rules reflects his dedication to the WWE and its fans.
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