The Rock Vs. John Cena: How Both Dropped the Ball on Raw Is War

Michael JohnsonContributor IMarch 1, 2011

Last night, I was genuinely excited to watch Monday Night Raw just to see which direction The Rock and John Cena’s feud was headed. I would be lying if I said I felt the same level of excitement after the show went off at 11:05 p.m.

I think both guys were disappointing last night, but for different reasons. With apologies to The Miz, the focus of the fans' attention will not be on him at WrestleMania. This program is about what The Rock and John Cena will do on the grandest stage of ‘em all.

In a perfect world, John Morrison would have won the Elimination Chamber and faced The Miz at WrestleMania. Then, The Rock and John Cena could settle their affair in the ring and the Miz would not be an afterthought.

But, we don’t live in a perfect world.  

We live in the real world, and in life, like wrestling, we take what we can get. I do wonder how The Miz feels in his supporting—not starring—role.  Would The Miz rather be overshadowed by The Great One and The Current One in the main event? Or would he rather be the focus of a storyline with much less hype, such as a match with Morrison or Daniel Bryan?

But I digress…

Two weeks ago, The Rock ended Raw by cutting an outstanding 15-minute promo, the highlight being his rundown of John Cena.

Last week, John Cena opened Raw and responded to The Rock.

While Cena did use his inane comedy routine initially in the promo, once he started his rap, he did an excellent job at expressing the seriousness we as fans wish he would communicate more often.

Last week, John Cena showed us why he is the current face of the WWE.  True, he will never be able to match The Rock historically on the microphone, but Cena can at least reach a stalemate using his own considerable talents on the microphone—that, and by using The People’s Champion's seven-year hiatus as proof that Rocky really does not love us as much as he says he does.

So what happened this week on Raw to slow the momentum down?

First, John Cena interrupted The Miz during his promo and Cena proceeded to revert back to his comedy routine that hasn’t worked for him since 2006.

As impressive as the Doctor of Thugonomics was last week, he was just the opposite this week. Cena’s promo was not funny and it was honestly a real letdown from last week. Cena certainly was not helped by The Miz’s indifference and Alex Riley’s toilet humor.

You can’t help but compare Cena to The Rock now that they are in the same program and the last thing—and I mean the LAST THING—Cena needs is for fans old enough to remember how consistently great The Great One was on the microphone every week.

I couldn’t help but think how boring the Cena/Miz/Riley segment was and also how I was never bored watching The Rock.

Speaking of The Rock, why exactly was I disappointed in his performance? Actually, I wasn’t per se. I thought his promo was engaging throughout and he came off like he really wanted to come through the Titantron and lay the smackdown on Cena.

Wait! Come through the Titantron? The Rock wasn’t at the arena?

No, he wasn’t, and as good as the promo was, and excitable as Rocky was, it was disappointing that he wasn’t live. The crowd reacted as if they were watching a new employee orientation video instead of the most electrifying man in all of entertainment. And who could blame them? I’m not jumping out of my seat after 10 p.m. on a work night for a guy yelling through a giant TV.

The live crowds popped for The Rock’s backstage interviews back in the day because they knew he was going to come out and cash the check his mouth wrote with Coach, Michael Cole, Kevin Kelly or whoever he humiliated during the Attitude Era. I don’t understand why Rocky couldn’t have done his whole promo during the Cena/Miz/Riley segment.

Unfortunately, The Rock may have validated those who agree with what John Cena said last week about The Rock telling the people he loves them but Cena showing it.

Even though I wish Rocky was at the arena, the promo was excellent; he successfully refuted John Cena’s claims that The Rock abandoned the people, and he intelligently defended his career decisions.

The Rock doesn’t owe any of us anything. He electrified us for seven years before concentrating on his acting career full-time. How much longer was he supposed to get pedigreed through tables before he aspired to accomplish more?

And while his absence has negatively affected the WWE, it has also opened doors for other wrestlers to get a foot into the Hollywood door. Wrestlers such as HHH, Kane, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kevin Nash and, of course, John Cena all have directly benefited from The Rock’s success at the box office.

Do you think all of those guys could have been considered for their respective movie roles without The Rock paving the way?

I also loved that Rocky mentioned his wrestling heritage in the promo. For anyone who hasn’t read The Rock’s autobiography, he goes into great lengths as to how his grandfather and father both reached awe-inspiring highs and incredible lows in dedicating their lives to professional wrestling. Rocky moved a lot as a child and he sacrificed a lot for professional wrestling before ever stepping foot in the ring.

For John Cena to question his love for the sport and to accuse him of jerking the fans around is asinine. Maybe Cena wouldn't be jerking the curtain if The People’s Champ stuck around and entertained the people for the last seven years.

Another aspect of the promo I loved was when Rocky mockingly wore John Cena’s merchandise and exaggerated Cena’s hip-hop posturing. One reason it was humorous was because Rocky certainly has wet his beak in rap music’s pond before.

Also, like many older rap fans, the current state of rap music actually hurts my feelings. Tupac Shakur is most likely rolling in his grave this very second at the so-called rap music put forth by Drake or Soulja Boy. The Rock’s imitation of Cena is an indictment of the man himself, continuing to utilize the same gimmick that emulates an art form that has lost its way.

The average 30- to 35-year-old male cannot listen to Waka Flocka Flame without cringing, where a 10- to 15-year-old male can not only listen, but identify with Mr. Flame. John Cena’s hip-hop persona is in danger of turning off older fans because they are already turned off by the music itself.

The Rock pounced on this and perfectly illustrated why Cena is so polarizing.

The Rock has promised to confront John Cena sooner, rather than later. Hopefully they both bring it and bring it to the arena next time!