You have to give credit to “The Great One.”
Since returning in early January, he has helped turn around WWE’s struggling product. Ratings for Raw are up significantly and the company’s house show business is positively booming again (via PWTorch and WrestlingInc).
This week’s WrestleMania 29 event, which sees Rock defend his title against John Cena, will almost certainly do a monster buyrate, too.
Rock has single-handedly made wrestling cool again.
However, despite all his good work, WWE and Rock may want to consider going their separate ways after WrestleMania 29.
OK, it may sound crazy, but there are a few reasons that it’s an astute idea.
First of all, there are a few signs that Rock’s drawing power may be on the wane. His recent two pay-per-view bouts with CM Punk—at Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber—drew decent, but ultimately rather disappointing numbers (per PWTorch).
Considering how much Rock must be costing Vince McMahon—the star surely isn’t coming cheap—it’s very possible WWE is actually making less money on these shows when all is said and done.
Why is this?
Well, one explanation may be that Rock is simply overexposed. Oh, sure. He’s not on WWE TV every week, but he’s still all over the place as he promotes his various films, like Snitch and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. He was in a commercial at this year's widely-watched Super Bowl and he’s on every talk show around.
Let’s be honest, seeing Rock isn’t really a novelty for wrestling fans anymore. So, why pay $45 to see him on pay-per-view?
And it may only be a matter of time before he can’t draw the top-notch ratings he currently can either.
There’s also the question of whether WWE should continue investing so much time and effort into a part-time act who can’t commit to it long-term. At this point WWE needs to focus on younger stars like Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan.
You know, the guys who are the future.
Rock is essentially a nostalgia act, albeit a very good one. And is it really smart to base your entire company around a nostalgia act? Of course not.
There’s also the fact that, due to cardio issues, Rock can’t truly go in the ring any more. Maybe it’s his age—he is 40 after all—and the long absence away from wrestling.
OK, he’s not awful or anything, but his two matches with CM Punk have been rather mediocre, with both bouts being filled with long rest-holds and sloppy offense.
Considering how truly great a wrestler Rock was in prime—his in-ring contributions were often overlooked by fans and critics in favor of his promos, but he was a terrific athlete—to see him become a shell of himself in the ring is truly sad.
It might be best for Rock to step away while he still has his reputation as a good wrestler relatively in tact.
No doubt some will call this point of view madness and claim Rock still has much to offer WWE. Admittedly, the much-talked about Brock Lesnar/Rock match for WrestleMania XXX is a tantalizing prospect. But looking at the various factors—his waning in-ring ability and sliding drawing ability, mainly—WrestleMania 29 might be time for him to step away once and for all.
At least that way he could go out on top before he becomes a detriment to the business he loves so dearly.