The Rock Returns to WWE This Summer: Who Will He Feud With?
This week, Dwyane "The Rock" Johnson stated that he would return to the WWE this summer, and that he was planning on returning as a guest host earlier this month but backed out of it at the last minute due to previous commitments in promoting his new film "Tooth Fairy."
The Rock did state that while he plans on returning to the WWE this summer, he probably wouldn't fight in a match. Yet it is also rumored that his WWE appearance would be more than just a one time guest-hosting gig:
"I've remained close with Vince McMahon over the years, but here's the key. It's not just to go back and host. I don't want to do that. I want to go back and host and do something special. I want to entertain the fans in ways they haven't been entertained in years."
Would this mean possibly The Rock getting into a feud lasting until Summer Slam? Most of The Rock's millions (and millions) would salivate at the great one coming back for what is arguably the second biggest pay-per-view for the WWE. (Not to mention how much McMahon and co. would salivate over it to.)
If there is a Rock match set for Summer Slam, the question is, who would he feud with? Many wrestlers would be a possibility, but which match would be the most intriguing matchup? Let's take a look.
Note: I know some of you will come up with "What about this guy" or anything like that, I'll explain. In figuring out who would be good opponents, I looked at certain factors, like who does Rock have history with (Triple-H, Undertaker, Jericho), what match up would bring in box office (HBK, John Cena, Undertaker, Jericho, Orton) what would be a good battle on the mic (Jericho, Cena, The Miz) a ceremonial passing of the torch (Orton, Cena, Miz), or a matchup that people would be shocked to know has never happened and can be billed as Legend vs. Icon a la 2005 Summer Slam (HBK, without HBK's comical overselling).
So, if you're upset at me leaving out Batista, well, um, I'm sorry, but, I'm biased and can't stand Dave Batista personally, not even when he was a face, so of course I'm going to leave him out. And if you think Sheamus vs. Rock would work, allow me to laugh at you!
And while I did consider other young guys like DiBiase, Rhodes, Kofi, and CM Punk, I just don't think Rock vs. any of those guys would have the same punch.
The only elite guy I really left off the list was Edge. Now, Edge is a favorite of mines but, for some reason I couldn't see him taking on The Rock.
Ok, if you haven't done so already, let's go on with the list.
One of the best rivalries of the Attitude Era, a match with Triple-H would bring back plenty of memories for those weaned on the Attitude Era.
Only problem is explaining to the young'uns that don't remember when Triple-H was the biggest heel why he and The Rock would hate each other.
I could see the Rock coming back to guest host, make a championship match between Triple H and Cena (you know he's going to get the title back soon if he's not injured) interfere, Rock Bottom Trips, then give him The People's Elbow setting up a Feud between the two that culminates at Summer Slam.
This is hard to believe but, HBK has never faced The Rock. As The Rock began his ascent to the top of the WWE in 1998, HBK retired due to a bad back.
Then as he made his comeback in 2002, The Rock was on the way out to focus on his movie career.
That alone makes it an intriguing match. Plus the fact that you have two of the most electrifying men in the WWE's history. That by itself should sell the PPV.
A great angle for it is HBK wanting to challenge The Rock since he's the only WWE Superstar of the last 20 years that he never fought against, and to see if he could defeat him, similar to his storyline with Hulk Hogan in 05.
A fringe benefit to this matchup is with it being six years since The Rock set foot in the ring, there's probably no better top tier WWE Superstar to fight against than HBK.
He'd be able to carry that match better than anyone else on the WWE roster right now. Does that mean that he'd be the one Rock would feud with? Possibly. How big of an impact would that have? Who knows.
"He is a genuinely nice guy and a fantastic human being.'
"What I kind of get peeved about, and this is my Achilles heel, is that I've wanted to do this my whole life.'
"Rock falls into that category. At one point he loved wrestling and wanted to do this all his life.'
"So explain to me why he can't come back.'
"Simply put it's because he wants to be an actor and there's nothing wrong with that. He's very good and very successful. Associating with sports entertainment doesn't do much for his acting career. I get it.'
"Just don't *bleep* me around and tell me that you love this.'
"That's the only thing that gets me really p***ed off. Our fan base have so much admiration for him, he's got to respect that. He doesn't give anything back."
Those were Cena's words about The Rock in an interview with British Newspaper "The Sun" in January 2008.
Would those words be enough to start a feud between the two? Better yet, wouldn't a feud between the two be the perfect way to turn Cena heel?
And wouldn't this matchup be the perfect passing of the torch?
Let's get real, it would be a terrible match. On one hand you have a wrestler who hasn't wrestled in six years. And on the other hand, you have Cena.
But the box office on this match would be incredible.
They fought at Wrestlemania XX the last time The Rock was in the ring (well, sort of, it was 3 on 2, Rock & Sock connection vs. RKO, Batista and Flair.)
Also, they are the two youngest people ever to hold a World Championship. Could Randy punt The Rock in the head and force him to seek revenge at Summer Slam?
Randy is in the same vein as HBK, he'd get a good match out of The Rock. Plus, no need for anyone to turn heel, assuming RKO stays a heel and doesn't turn face after his feud with Sheamus.
Only thing is, would Orton be willing to lose to someone who'd probably be fighting in his final match?
The rumor mill seems to indicate that Undertaker is retiring after he loses his Heavyweight Championship to HBK at Wrestlemania.
But, I don't think he's retiring, I don't think he's fighting HBK at Wrestlemania, in fact, I don't even think he'll be the champion at Wrestlemania to begin with.
In fact, he and the next guy on the list are probably long shots to fight The Rock, but, with Taker it is a fair possibility.
The Rock-Taker rivalry wasn't necessarily what you would call a "classic" but, there is history there.
Just, it doesn't seem like Undertaker would fight The Rock at Summer Slam, either he'd be in the title hunt at that time, or, he wouldn't even compete.
Plus, he's on Smackdown, Rock would be hosting Raw. So unless it's one of those three-hour tri-brand specials, they wouldn't even have an interaction.
The Miz is probably the best guy that the WWE has had on the mic since The Rock, and is probably Raw's second-best heel right now.
A feud like this is a long-shot, but, it would make or break The Miz' career and show that he could main event.
It would also be the most entertaining feud on the mic. I could see how it starts: as the Rock is in the ring, The Miz' music comes out, Miz starts talking, The Rock asks Miz who he is, as the Miz starts to talk, well, you know how that would go.
As for the wrestling? Well, it would surprise some people in a good way. The Miz is actually pretty good and can get a good match out of anyone.
This is the match that would make him, and as long a shot as it is, this would be a great opponent for The Rock for The Rock himself, and for the WWE.
It would create a true bona fide main eventer in The Miz, and we need more true main eventers (sorry, but Sheamus isn't cutting it.)
I can see it right now. Jericho wouldn't have to get drafted back to Raw (but it would be a plus) but you know he'd find some way to keep hanging on there come summer time, in fact, lets look at some history before presenting this scenario.
Jericho as you may well know became the first Undisputed Champion by defeating The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same night in 2001.
For this angle, Jericho could be The Heavyweight Champion from Smackdown, looking for a chance to repeat that magic. He then encounters The Rock.
JERICHO: "Rock, I know the REAL reason you came back. It still haunts you, 2001, I defeated you AND Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same night to become the first ever Undisputed Champion.
"So while you may be living it up in Hollywood making your movies for the uneducated parasitic masses, I know it eats you up inside, that I was better than you, and I still am, and that's why I'm the World's Heavyweight Champion, and tonight, just for you, right in front of you, I'd like to repeat history, I want to challenge John Cena for the WWE Championship, and unify these titles again."
ROCK: "Oh look who it is, Y2J, hey how are those VH1 specials going for you man? Haven't seen you around how have you been brother.
JERICHO: "Well Rock I-"
ROCK: "IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW YOU'VE BEEN! What are you doing here, in The Rock's Town (btw, when Rock guest hosts, it should be in Miami, his town) in front of The Rock's people trying to ruin The Rock's show? Shouldn't you be there on Smackdown playing with CM Punk, The Undertaker and the rest of those jabroni's?"
JERICHO: "Rock I'm here to challenge John Cena for the WWE title to unify the championships like I did against you and Stone Cold years ago when I banished you out of the WWE" (I know, Jericho didn't do that but you know he'd take credit for it anyways.)
ROCK: "So that's what you want? Well KY-Jelly you're on, you'll have John Cena tonight, for the chance to unify the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships. But The Rock's got a little surprise for you. That's right Y2J, The Rock will be the special guest referee!"
Then as the main event it would be champion vs. champion with the WWE Title but not the WHC on the line. As the match goes on, Jericho would have the advantage most of the time, until The Rock takes it back to that episode of Smackdown where he served as the Special Guest Referee during the match between Triple-H and The British Bulldog.
ROCK: "1.....2.....IT DOESN'T MATTER IF THE ROCK GETS TO THREE!!!"
The crowd goes wild, then Cena gets a second wind, hits the attitude adjustment, then Cena performs the 5 knuckle shuffle and pins Jericho to keep his title.
Then Jericho gets up to start his usual complaining, but gets Rock Bottomed, followed by a joint People's Elbow and Five Knuckle Shuffle from Rock and Cena (another good way to show a passing of the torch from The Rock to Cena other then the two facing off.)
Then after losing his title the next Friday on Smackdown to Edge, Jericho blames The Rock for his failures and cuts promo after promo calling him a "Soul less sell out Hollywood hypocrite" and doing the usual Jericho things, setting up their match at Summer Slam, where not only would The Rock comes out on top, but he'd celebrate it with gusto, hell Stone Cold could even come out and hand Rock a beer.
This would lead to more Jericho whining but refocusing on getting the Heavyweight title from Edge.
Almost seems too perfect, actually better than any other feud I proposed. For one thing, Jericho is also in the top tier of workers in the WWE, I'd say a notch above Orton but below HBK.
He'd definitely get a great match out of The Rock. Then there's the history between them, it was during The Rock's promo when Jericho made his WWE debut. The banter between the two is one of the best ever, and their matches were always great too.
I originally left Jericho out of this discussion and anointed The Miz as the best decision out of a brainfart and the fact that again, Rock would be guest hosting Raw, and Jericho is a Smackdown guy.
But, while that works against a Rock-Taker matchup, it would be irrelevant to the possibility of Jericho vs. Rock because, Jericho always finds a way to pop up on Raw.
Plus what I also forgot was that, there is a draft between now and the summer. While Taker's chances of being drafted to Raw are slim, the possibility of Jericho going to Raw are pretty good even though I doubt it would happen because he's Smackdown's No. 1 Heel right now.
I don't think Drew McIntyre is ready to take the No. 1 Heel car keys from Jericho just yet despite his potential (I refuse to count Batista in that discussion.)
But after one of the readers left a comment about Jericho, thats when the lightbulb went off.
Sorry Miz, I guess that Summer Slam you're going to have to settle for getting over by defeating Cena for the WWE Title (one could hope, one could hope) because if I'm booking this thing, then it would be Chris Jericho who would go One on One with the Great One at The Staples Center come Aug. 15.