Saying its all a joke is a great way to backpeddle on something that got bigger than you expected―just ask The Rock and Hollywood director Michael Bay.
The Rock missed the premiere of his new film Pain and Gain due to injuries he had to tend courtesy of his match with John Cena at WrestleMania 29. The film's director Michael Bay caught wrestling fans' attention with his comments on the red carpet concerning The Rock not being there.
“He needs to grow up and stop wrestling 300 pound men.”
Later in the week Bay then played the joke card by saying on his official website,
“Wrestling fans, it was a joke said on Entertainment Tonight–with a laugh. You can see the clip for yourselves. The most important person to see the on-air joke was Dwayne. I love seeing The Rock wrestle. I hope he wrestles 10 more years. I joked on air because Dwayne was not at our LA premiere due to his injury.”
The Rock also chimed in joking on Twitter that he should switch to wrestling women.
They can chuckle all they want, but there is a very relevant point to all of this. WWE is a risk to Hollywood, who is paying The Rock a lot more money and provides The Rock a lot longer of a career than WWE ever could.
Regardless of how sincere Bay's comments are of The Rock needing to grow up on him hoping he wrestles 10 more years―The Rock got injured courtesy of wrestling and it affected Hollywood. Nobody won in this situation. That isn't going to be forgotten by those in tinsel town.
Before, I could imagine the only concern Hollywood would ever have with The Rock is filming conflicts with WWE appearances. Now, Hollywood has to think about the entire investment they have in The Rock for their film stemming past the filming and into the PR for the movie. It doesn't matter if filming concludes six months prior to him having a match in WWE. The match is still a problem because he could get injured.
I'm sure Bay is happy for all the success The Rock has in whatever he does, but I'm not buying that he doesn't wish The Rock would leave wrestling in the past and focus on being the A-lister he is in movies.
The Rock is positive for WWE because he provides a mainstream, cool factor to the brand. He also brings the casual fans out in mass. However, if I'm The Rock's manager I would be telling him to hang the boots up. Go do WWE when they call you for the Hall of Fame, which they inevitably will soon.
Everyone always wants to do things on their own terms. The last thing The Rock should want is Hollywood studios to put in his contracts with the movies that he can't do WWE. The only way around that then for The Rock is to turn down Hollywood projects to leave a block of time open for WWE.
I love WWE. I'm a wrestling guy. But I also am not a Hollywood star making $20 million a movie. If you start passing that up bump in the ring...there isn't even a way for me to finish that statement because no businessman would ever do it.