WWE WrestleMania 29: The Rock Must Improve His Cardio for the Main Event

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterMarch 13, 2013

Photo from WWE.com
Photo from WWE.com

When The Rock defends his WWE title against John Cena at WrestleMania 29, he's going to have to display better endurance.

The last time out, his lengthy absence from the ring showed when he got gassed during the match. Tearing his right hamstring near the end didn't help either.

The Rock vs. John Cena matchup doesn't have the advantage of novelty that it had last year.

Fans aren't as Rock-starved as they were at WrestleMania 28. They'll inevitably expect more. They'll expect The Rock and Cena to top last year's battle.

In order for that happen, The Rock needs to tap into his prime, to go longer in the match without blowing up.

For all the criticism he got, it isn't as if The Rock isn't in shape.

He's absolutely cut. His Hollywood life requires him to keep his body in great condition. Pro wrestling, however, is more draining and demanding than any role he's had.

Mocked for being fake, it's an event that requires a robust supply of toughness, athleticism and endurance. It's that last requirement that The Rock needs to catch up on in order to make WrestleMania 29 the best it can be.

To suck the audience into the narrative between the ropes, he needs to avoid have people question his stamina again.

Since beating John Cena last year, The Great One has since had a pair of matches with CM Punk. That's plenty more warm-up than he did before WrestleMania 28. The action in those battles showed improvement, a step back toward The Rock's old days, but it also showed that he still has work to do.

Watch The Rock struggle for air in the corner during their Elimination Chamber match.

Some of that gasping for air is for dramatic effect, but some of it is being legitimately gassed. There were times when Punk carried his opponent in this match, slowing down the action with headlocks. The Rock's cardio had improved, but it isn't where it was in his prime.

WrestleMania 29 is set to shine its lights on him soon. As one half of the main event, The Rock needs to step up.

He spent much of last year's match with his mouth stretched open, sucking in air. At this point in the match, it almost looks like he's a fish pulled out of the ocean.

Even with a conditioning issue, though, he and Cena put on an entertaining show. Should Rock be in better ring shape this time around, who knows how good that match can be?

The Rock's charisma and reputation buoys him above those cardio issues to a point, but in the end it's the action in the ring that fans are hypnotized by when done right.

Fans are just going to be expecting more this time around. Unlike with movies, fans in WWE expect their sequels to surpass the original. Triple H and Undertaker certainly did that last year. Steve Austin and The Rock's best match was their WrestleMania X-Seven match, the second bout in their trilogy.

It's Rock's greatness that will have expectations so extremely high.

Should X-Pac roll into a WrestleMania match not quite in ring shape, little would be said about it. The Rock, though, is an iconic figure stepping onto WWE's grandest stage for the second year in a row.

He and Cena will attempt to outdo their WrestleMania 28 match, and The Rock is going to need to up his endurance in order to do that.