Rock: Scrutiny of His Health Status Rivals Coverage of the President

Bill AtkinsonAnalyst IMay 1, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 16: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson attends a press conference to announce a major international event at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images)
Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images


Judging by the recent coverage of The Rock since WrestleMania 29, it would not be too difficult to imagine something like this happening:

This just in…The Rock has decided to go for a walk. Has the pain from his recent surgery subsided to the point that he can do that unassisted? We will debate that and more, next…

Breaking news…We have just learned that The Rock has ordered filet mignon for dinner. Our health expert, Dr. I.M. Sickalot, discusses whether that is a good test for his recently reattached abdominal muscles. You won’t want to miss this…

Up next…The Rock says his hernia surgery scar is healing nicely. But is he trying to cover up for something more serious? We investigate…after this break…

Never before in the history of pro wrestling has one individual’s health or status been as closely scrutinized as much as The Rock's. That kind of scrutiny usually is reserved for the president or some other head of state.

At the pre-WrestleMania 29 Raw show in Washington D.C., The Rock joked about one day becoming president of the United States, adding that we could go from “President Barack” to “President The Rock.”

Yes, he was joking. Yes, he was cutting a promo.

But with all the attention he has been getting lately from the Internet Wrestling Community over his recent surgery and hints he may not wrestle again, Rock could actually be rivaling—or even passing—Obama on the scrutiny meter.

Barack’s leaving Washington in four years? So what!

The Rock’s done with wrestling? OMG!!!

Just like political pundits weigh in on the president’s performance, wrestling pundits have weighed in on Rock’s performance. Everyone, from respected insiders Mick Foley and Jim Ross to faded wrestling stars like Carlito, has an opinion on Rock’s future.

Of course, all this is fueled by the 24-hour wrestling news cycle. And there is plenty of Rock news to go around.

The latest: (by way of reports that WWE Superstars and staffers are skeptical about Rock’s recent hints that his days in the ring are behind him. One person who is not skeptical—and apparently the one who counts the most—is Vince McMahon, who, according to the report, thinks Rock has more fuel left in his wrestling tank:

It's said that Vince McMahon believes Rock will do at least one more match, which is why they continue to promote Rock on WWE TV. WWE is hoping that Rock will make an appearance at the October Hell in a Cell pay-per-view from his hometown of Miami.

According to the report, most within WWE feel that if Rock does have one more match in him, it will happen at WrestleMania 30 next year in New Orleans. If he indeed decides to suit up, then it seems logical that the surefire WWE Hall of Famer would want his last ride to be on WWE’s grandest stage.

If that does happen, WWE may want to consider incorporating a sunset into the set design for New Orleans. We could see more than one legend riding off into it should The Undertaker decide to call it a career that night, too.

And it’s not just wrestling insiders who are talking.

Michael Bay, director of Rock’s latest hit film, Pain & Gain, made some offhand comment to E! Entertainment Television last month about Rock’s injury and surgery. According to the report, Bay remarked that Rock needed to “grow up and stop wrestling 300-pound men,” a comment Bay later felt the need to clarify.

OK, at the risk of being hypocritical, let me insert my two cents on Rock. Everyone else has done it, so why can’t I?

If he has, in fact, wrestled his last match, then Rock should be allowed to look back on his ring career and be proud. Nobody wants to go out on a loss, but at the same time, Rock really has nothing left to prove in the ring.

He is way too valuable as a film star now. Hollywood is where his bread needs to be buttered now.

If Rock wants one more bite of the WWE apple—and McMahon seems willing to offer him the whole orchard—then good for him, too. He would not be the headliner he was at the previous three WrestleManias, but the mere fact he would be involved should guarantee millions (and millions) of pay-per-view purchases.

The fact that so much has been made of whether or not he is done shows just how appreciated and revered he is in the world of sports entertainment. But we have to remember that Rock is not the world of sports entertainment; he is a part of it.

A big part, mind you, but still a part of it.

Andre the Giant died, yet WWE carried on. Hulk Hogan moved on to other wrestling endeavors, yet WWE continued to thrive. Shawn Michaels and Edge retired, yet WWE is bigger than ever.

WWE will live on long past The Rock, and it also will live on long past the current crop of WWE Superstars. We will not look forward to that day, obviously, but we, too, will move on.

If Rock is now done, then thanks for the memories. If he is not done and wants, to quote Christian, “one more match,” then that could be one more reason to look forward to New Orleans next year.

Either way, Rock on!


Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.