The Rock: Not the wrestler he once was, sadly.
Following his epic WrestleMania match with John Cena on Sunday, news quickly circulated that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson had sustained some serious injuries during the bout. Per reports (F4wonline via WrestlingInc), the star tore his abdominal and abductor muscles, and suffered a hernia. Ouch.
Interestingly, Rock was also injured last year at WrestleMania 28, as he noted on his official Twitter account, when he painfully tore his hamstring during the main event.
Yes, Rock has wrestled only five matches over the last few years and came out hurt in two of them. He’s practically the new Kevin Nash.
Considering the star’s age—he’s almost 41—now is surely the time for him to step away. He’s also got his acting career to think of. After all, won’t the film executives start getting nervous soon about their actor constantly getting injured as he wrestles on the side?
Notably, he’s due to be filming Brett Ratner’s Hercules feature film soon, and his current injuries may well have jeopardized that. (PWInsider noted he's probably going to work through his extremely painful injuries and do the film, though).
While it’s nice that Rock misses wrestling and insists on coming back once in a while, there are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake here—as well as many film/TV people’s livelihoods. It’s simply not smart for him to be throwing himself around a wrestling ring anymore.
There’s also the fact that, as a wrestling performer, Rock is slipping. Oh, his promos are still spectacular, but in every other area?
His once-polished wrestling skills have long gone, as he battles serious cardio issues. Whether it’s due to his age or just being away from wrestling too long, he just can’t keep up with his younger foes anymore, something that became increasingly obvious during his (sloppy) bouts with CM Punk.
It doesn’t help that, as a draw, he is also waning. Oh, WrestleMania 29 will likely do a huge buyrate, but his other PPV events this year?
Both Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber did (relatively) disappointing numbers—while both were slightly higher than previous years, it’s unlikely they did enough to offset Rock’s huge price tag (numbers from F4Wonline via CageSideSeats and PWTorch).
Of course, while CM Punk, who faced Rock in both bouts, may also be a factor—as has been noted numerous times, Punk has struggled greatly to draw on top during his time in WWE—it also seems apparent that Rock simply doesn’t have “it” anymore.
Regardless of how poor a draw Punk may be, the old Rock could have easily carried the shows to bigger numbers. He's not the star he once was.
Well, at least in wrestling (his movie career is still doing well, as G.I. Joe: Retaliation’s success proves).
The recent sliding Raw ratings may also indicate that whatever initial buzz Rock had wore off (via PWTorch).
Of course, some will argue that Rock guarantees the company some level of mainstream recognition—and this is his true value to WWE—and these folks have got a fair point.
But really, can WWE continue to throw all resources behind an aging, injury-prone, part-timer simply because it might get them a mention on TMZ once in a while? Of course not.
Make no mistake about it: Rock in his prime (1998-2001) was one of the all-time great wrestling performers. Few rivalled him and few ever will.
But maybe, in order to preserve these memories—as well as protect his long-term health and film career—Dwayne Johnson may have to accept that his best days are behind him and move on from the business.