You don’t have to be a hardcore WWE fan to have watched last night's anticipated main event and realized that something seemed off. The timing, the pace, the overall quality of The Rock vs. Cena match wasn’t worth the price of admission. Though some fans felt that their WrestleMania 28 match wasn’t quite up to the level of a main event, last night’s poor showing made 28 look like a five-star affair.
What’s more important than The Rock failing to sell the biggest match on the card is that this no doubt stems from his status as a part-time performer. I’ve been a big supporter of The Rock’s just like most of the WWE faithful but last night smacked of low intensity and half-hearted effort.
You can’t lump The Rock in with the rest of the part-time performers like Triple H, Undertaker and Chris Jericho. It’s true they work relaxed schedules and wrestle when it makes sense for them but their effort and willingness to put themselves through the ringer for the sake of the match is something The Rock doesn’t seem to be willing to do.
There is no such thing as “taking chances” in a Rock match in his recent comeback. There is no such thing as “laying it all out there” for the The Great One since he came back in the fold. Other part-timers are willing to leave it all out there because they know they’ll have months to recover.
With a red-hot film career, The Rock knows he must be ready for his other career and that leads to an effort that isn’t on par with his fellow part-timers.
Of course, effort isn’t the only thing his part-time status has hurt.
The main event was supposed to be a build to the next thing. With two fights under their belt The Rock and John Cena are poised to go a third time.
Extreme Rules seems a waste of The Rock’s time. While he might be willing to wrestle there, the WWE recognizes the drawing power of The Great One and wouldn’t want to waste an appearance at a second-rate event.
But what champion doesn’t request an immediate rematch for a bout so closely fought? If Rock does show up at Extreme Rules like many hope but doesn’t wrestle, how does that booking make sense?
The financial value of having The Rock has been the No. 1 reason for his return and has afforded him a lot of leeway into how his performance, both on the mic and in the ring, has been evaluated. But The Rock’s part-time status led to a letdown at Mania and that’s something the WWE should take seriously.