The WWE has what amounts to an impossible task on its hands: getting fans as excited for The Rock vs. John Cena match at WrestleMania XXIX as they were for last year's encounter.
With that said, this year's buildup has actually been much more tolerable thus far.
In terms of hype, perhaps no match has ever reached the level of The Rock vs. Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII. The Rock returned to the WWE after several years away prior to WrestleMania XXVII, and he cost Cena the WWE Championship in the main event against The Miz.
The night after WrestleMania XXVII, it was announced that The Rock and Cena would face each other at 'Mania one year later.
Has this year's Rock vs. Cena build been better than last year?
As new and exciting as it was for a match to be announced a year in advance—particularly one between one of the Attitude Era's biggest stars and the face of the current product—the build toward that match really wore down most fans.
The Rock wasn't able to appear regularly throughout the year, so most of their feud took place over Twitter. The only real mention of it on WWE programming came when Cena would bash The Rock for not showing up.
Their rivalry definitely seemed to be personal, but by the time both Cena and The Rock began appearing on television, a good portion of the fans were ready for it to be over.
Also, the promos between The Rock and Cena weren't particularly good. The Rock focused too much on being funny, while Cena was too worried about no-selling everything Rock said and trying to one-up him. That got annoying after a while, and it marred the storyline to some degree.
I still enjoyed the match immensely, even though many were critical of it. While it may not have been a great technical display by any means, the Miami crowd provided an awesome atmosphere and made it feel like one of the biggest bouts in WrestleMania history.
On top of that, The Rock winning came as somewhat of a surprise, and that definitely added to my overall enjoyment.
It will be extremely difficult for that atmosphere to be replicated at WrestleMania XXIX, because we have already seen the match before. Also, it is a near certainty that Cena will beat The Rock for the WWE Championship and get his revenge.
I'm not one of those fans who isn't willing to give a match a chance due to predictability, but it absolutely takes away from the intrigue.
Even if the match and the anticipation doesn't measure up to last year, I firmly believe that the buildup can and will be better.
There are only three weeks left until WrestleMania, and The Rock and Cena have had a grand total of one encounter. On the old school edition of Raw, Cena cut a promo about how much it means to him to avenge his loss to The Rock from WrestleMania XXVIII and ultimately put a poor 2012 behind him.
The Rock complimented Cena on his drive, but reminded him that he possesses the very same qualities. The Rock also told Cena that while he thinks that he can beat The Rock, The Rock knows that he can beat Cena. It was a very simple exchange, but it was extremely powerful at the same time. There were no shenanigans between them, as it was very straightforward.
It was by far the most serious interaction that they have had over the past couple of years.
Unfortunately, the WWE was unable to build on that last week, as The Rock had outside commitments to tend to. Rather than having The Rock appear via satellite or simply having Cena cut a promo for the purpose of cutting The Rock down, the WWE actually made the right decision by keeping both men off the show and simply airing a fantastic promo to hype their feud.
There were definitely complaints, as some felt The Rock let people down by not being there, but any logical person should have realized that this is how things were going to be with The Rock. The WWE hasn't tried to hide it and is obviously fine with it, because he draws so much money for the company when he does appear.
With the tribute to Paul Bearer, the feud between The Undertaker and CM Punk and Brock Lesnar's involvement, I really didn't even miss The Rock and Cena. The WWE had more than enough content, so pushing the build a little further down the road will provide both The Rock and Cena with more ammunition and won't ultimately feel like overkill.
Obviously, the next few weeks will determine a lot when it comes to this feud, but I can't help but feel refreshed by the less-is-more approach that has been taken. Some of that has been by necessity, but the last thing we need is The Rock vs. Cena shoved down our throats, as we all got our fill last year.
The WWE seems to understand that and has acted accordingly.