It's no surprise that as of late, whenever you hear Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson mentioned in any conversation there is enough speculation to keep Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole both talking from RAW-start to RAW-end. The most current buzz worthy trend is whether or not The Rock will come back to WWE...or will he just drop by for main-card events when he gets bored? If you're a fan of his in-ring persona or his movie roles, you remain curious for either answer. Is he back for more in the WWE and if he is, for how long?
What fans really want is a functional Rock that can come back just where he left off. Spouting off hilarious quotes that even make men of the cloth smirk, while he displays "Electrifying" athleticism in the ring. But the real fans of The Rock will take whatever they can get from "The People's Champion."
Since his official departure in 2004, he has made several appearances for WWE venues and in 2009, he even dropped by to help promote Sarona Snuka, daughter of HOF Jimmy Snuka, Rock's long time friend and mentor. So it's not like he dropped off the face of the WWE universe, it just that fans don't get to see him as often as they like. So.....what's he been doing in that time?
Making money: He's appeared in 18 movies, half of which were written especially for him, while the others were edited to fit his character persona. Six television episodes were crammed into his schedule and it was all topped off with over a half dozen charity promotions, including his own foundation for terminally ill children...and he managed to keep his family intact to boot. So he's been busy, right?
What does he stand to lose if he returns to the WWE on a full time basis or, what could he gain?
Feasibly, what would it cost McMahon? Well, let's look at production. Johnson is rumored to be exhausting on movie sets, allowing movie production to finish well ahead of schedule, saving the studios time and money. So by his work ethic alone, he is said to net on average 10-15 million per picture now. The average production length of each film is 11 months.
Now, we all know that raw is every week, so would McMahon want to potentially pay The Rock $341,000 each RAW for a 44-week span. Plus, don't forget his royalties from merchandising. He was one of the few wrestlers to work out a deal with WWE early on for copyrights on his likeness.
Most importantly, everyone knows that WWE could pay that and never miss it. They could probably pay him from petty cash and never know it was gone, so you ask what's the big deal, right?
Well, what if you're John Cena? You're there every week and you get paid half of that. Does WWE want that kind of drama when contracts come up for renewal? If you're McMahon you want to make damn sure you don't alienate guys like Undertaker, Cena, Triple H, Kane, Big Show....They know their role if you'll excuse the pun. So if you pay Rock, by default, you have to start writing bigger checks for the veterans and I'm sure the front office wants to do that.
But wait, what about the 500lb gorilla or err...Rock in the room? What does he want?
Well, he said he was back, but, he didn't elaborate on how long. Is there enough juice left in him for another two or three year campaign? Most likely not after being out of the ring for so long, but that's not to say that WWE wouldn't say no to utilizing him more in special PPV events or to spark up a storyline.
If I may? I personally would like to see him help Cena into turning heel. There really is no other wrestler that could orchestrate that and make Cena look believable. There really isn't anything left in terms of achievement in the ring for him. So why come back if you aren't there to help push talent? And believe this if nothing else–John Cena can push talent but, only as a heel.
The obvious question, well...more of a statement I suppose is The Rock hasn't put his stamp on a signature role yet–as cool as The Scorpion King was. We all remember Jesse Ventura as the tobacco-spitting mercenary in Predator, Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips in Rocky III and even Andre the Giant had the Princess Bride. The difference is that none of these wrestlers, except for maybe Hogan, had the star potential that The Rock has. Most wrestlers enjoy cameo appearances or B-grade budget films that need a freak to push bad scripts (you know the ones I mean), but the Rock is actually getting films wrote for or around him.
Look at Get Shorty. They rewrote 17 pages of dialogue just so they could work The Rock in and not just another face nobody had heard of. The truth of the matter is that The Rock is rumored to be in production on two movies as we speak. A third Disney movie is finished and waiting to be released. All of these will require a lot of interviews and post production promotion.
Oh yeah, Hugh Jackman is reportedly trying to push for Johnson to take an X-Men role, of Cable, Bishop, or even Apokolypse. There are other reports for him to appear as Namor in an upcoming Fantastic Four film and a couple of studios are battling for production rights to film Shazam, of which the screenwriter has already expressed interest in him playing Black Adam, Captain Marvel's arch nemesis. Who's better, right?
For those of us who are terrible at "waiting and seeing", it would be nice if The Rock took Wrestlemania as an opportunity to clear everything up and let us all know his role.
What's say you WWE universe? Do you want The Rock back?