For over a year, the WWE has teased the return of one of the most electric superstars in its history. Whether as guest host or as an active superstar, the reappearance of the Rock would surely mean ratings success.
It had been rumoured that he was to appear on January 4th or over the summer, but on both occasions it fell through. The question remains if he does not return, is he abandoning the very people that made him what he is today?
Certainly Cena, Punk and Jericho would seem to agree with the last point that The Rock was made by the WWE and owes it an appearance, especially given its current predicament. However, is this really true?
The problem for wrestling is that it is not legitimate. It carries none of the prestige of say, the NFL, NBA or MLB. When people speak of wrestling or wrestlers, it's often with a smile on their face or an element of mockery. To be a wrestler is to be a steroid-using meathead. Without legitimacy, wrestlers find it hard to make it into mainstream attention.
Now and again, however wrestlers do make it outside the ring. Whether in character or via their non-wrestling skills, some manage to gain respectability. Governor Jesse Ventura, actor Steve Austin, mayoral candidate Jerry Lawler, MMA star Brock Lesnar and of course The Rock.
Some even make it as wrestlers, and these include many of the franchises—Austin, The Rock, Cena and of course the immortal Hulk Hogan.
To become legitimate in your own right places the wrestler in a quandary. Having escaped the carnival world of wrestling and making it to the bright lights by themselves, they face the recurring question of when they will make their inevitable return.
Wrestling, like the Mafia, seems to be a job for life; you never leave behind your career as a wrestler.
Just as with those that still desire for JR to return to commentary, The Rock's return is just as unlikely, especially in a wrestling role.
The question is one that many actors face in their lives; those that are popular and successful either do movies or theatre. When they face harder times, they look to television. Wrestling is like TV: It's popular, but not as prestigious; it's there to fall back on, but it's not something that people want to do if they can help it.
You seemingly can not be successful and a wrestler at the same time. To choose acting means an abandonment of anything that could undermine that, and that includes the murky, sometimes seedy world of wrestling.
I for one would argue that the Rock does not owe the wrestling world anything. He came in and created one of the greatest characters in wrestling history. His mic skills are unlikely to ever be surpassed given his sheer flamboyance and confidence.
He was the Muhammad Ali of wrestling. His departure whilst still at the very height of his physical ability means that his legacy will not be affected like so many others that remain into their twilight years.
For wrestling fans, it would be nice to once again to hear the Great One, but like a parent seeing their child flourish in college, wrestling fans can step back and look on, knowing that they helped make that success.