John Cena vs. the Rock Does Not Have the Fire of Their First Match

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John Cena vs. the Rock Does Not Have the Fire of Their First Match
photo by wwe.com

WrestleMania 29 will see the return match of John Cena vs. The Rock, in a main event that has the whole world talking. This bout promises to be a big one, as it is the rematch of a rivalry that was initially billed as “once in a lifetime.” But truth be told, so far I am not all that excited about this one.

It’s not really because of the men involved. Cena continues to put forth the effort in his matches. His recent showdown with CM Punk on Monday Night Raw is regarded by many fans as being, perhaps, one of the best in his career.  

While I have never truly considered Cena to be a solid worker in the traditional sense, there is no arguing the fact that his style works for him. He is what WWE wants, and his routine in the ring seems to be more than enough for him to not only stay at the top but thrive there as well.

With Cena, you know what you’re going to get.

The Rock is considered one of the best Superstars that WWE has ever seen. He is a legend in the locker room, and though he has not been a full-time performer in quite a while, his ring work has not suffered the effects of it. He is still fully capable of putting on a great match at anytime.

With The Rock, you know what you’re going to get as well.

And these two are fairly evenly matched. Each man is in tremendous shape, and their styles mesh well in the ring. At the end of the day, there is really no reason why this main event should not interest me more than what it is.

Yet, here I am, sort of all “blah” about it.

I suppose for any fan out there who feels the same, the reason could be that we have all seen this before. WrestleMania 28 was a huge event, the biggest ever, and Cena versus Rock was the primary selling point that made it all possible.

photo by wwe.com

The notion of the Attitude Era versus the modern era made it all the more intriguing. It was the Superstar who came to notoriety during the Monday Night Wars, battling it out with the Superstar who reigns during WWE’s unquestioned superiority on the worldwide main event stage.

Old school facing new school, if you will.

This was the dream match to end all dream matches, one that fans likely thought they would never see. This was Michael Jordan playing Kobe Bryant during their primes, one on one with the whole world watching.

How do you top that? Do it again, of course.

Don’t misunderstand me here, it’s not that I’m bothered all that much by the rematch itself. Return matches happen all the time, even in situations like this one, where both workers involved hardly touched each other until the night of the event. A second chapter can be good, it allows fans to revisit what worked the first time around, while giving them something new to embrace the next time around.

For this return match, that something is the WWE Championship.

photo by wwe.com

This should not have come as a surprise to fans out there. In fact, when Rocky announced that he would be receiving a title shot at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, my own radar went up straight away.

From that moment forward, I was almost certain that we would be looking at The Rock versus Cena 2 at WrestleMania 29. The timing was just a little too predictable.

Perhaps, that is where my own issue with this rematch lies. This bout is manufactured, processed, from top to bottom. And to me, it is extremely transparent.

The first time this match happened, fans knew, at least on the surface, where it came from. Cena had made some comments in the press concerning The Rock’s real commitment to the business, even mentioning his belief that The People’s Champ had used WWE merely as a springboard to Hollywood.

photo by wwe.com

This was a big deal for Cena, who prides himself on being WWE first and WWE last. His sole purpose, in his professional and personal life, is to fulfill his duties as Vince McMahon’s No. 1 Superstar. Anyone, past or present, who did not share his own commitment to the industry, was likely not very high on Cena’s list of favorite people.  

The Rock seemed to top that list.

Rocky on the other hand, also made the point that Cena was a phony, a guy who desperately wanted to be a hero to the people, but was failing miserably. For The Rock, Cena was nothing but a goody two-shoes who wanted to be Captain America, but was neither relevant enough or sincere enough to even be considered on the level of Cap’s sidekick Bucky.

The war of words began long before their actual physical confrontations did, so by the time WrestleMania 28 rolled around, the fans were ready. WWE had put an entire year’s worth of work into hyping this “once in a lifetime” match, and we were all anxious to see what these two headliners would do with the opportunity on the Mania stage.

But this time, it just feels flat for me. Maybe the perceived personal heat that was simmering between both men has just cooled too much. After all, Cena and Rock spent a lot of time ripping on each other, disrespecting whenever they could, all in an effort to put over their own confidence in winning.

Now, however, there seems to be a lot of mutual respect between both Superstars. Rocky seems to have accepted the fact that Cena is indeed a hero to some fans and is no longer questioning his heart and dedication to the company.

Cena is also much more respectful of The Rock and is approaching this match from the aspect of redemption instead of attacking Rocky’s motivations for being there in the first place.

In other words, there is not a lot of fire to this one.

But maybe that will not ultimately matter. Because at the end of the day, there is no doubting that WrestleMania 29 will be a huge night, will likely break some records and will raise the bar for every pay-per-view that follows it. That much we expect with the card we currently have, especially since The Rock and John Cena will be the main attraction.  

This is a company who knows how to bring it, and these are talents who welcome the heavy spotlight that only WrestleMania can bring. And who knows? Perhaps with a bit more time and more work that will surely be done between now and then, maybe I will become more interested and care more about the rematch that could very well be billed “twice in a lifetime.”  

Maybe.

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