Wrestlemania 28: Why the Result of the Rock vs. John Cena Means Nothing

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2012

Courtesy: WWE.com
Courtesy: WWE.com

The Rock's win over John Cena at Wrestlemania XXVIII was the most ridiculous booking decision in the history of the WWE.

Take a second, allow that to sink in for a moment.

Of every match result in the history of Vince McMahon's empire, the result of the "Once in a Lifetime" match between John Cena and The Rock was the most ridiculous of them all.

There are few times in sports-entertainment where a dream match between two Superstars from two different generations have the opportunity to perform in a match with one another. That match is typically hyped to the max and, in this case, Rock and Cena enjoyed a year of seeing their faces plastered on advertising materials. Fans debate who should win, why they should win but at the end of the day, the younger Superstar serving as the face of the company at that time ALWAYS wins.

They have to because, at the end of the day, that star is charged with carrying the mantle of the business into the future.

It has been covered, recovered, and beaten into the ground numerous times by now: Dwayne Johnson is not a professional wrestler. He used to be, but then he moved on to Hollywood, where he became one of the world's biggest movie stars. No faulting him there.

John Cena, on the other hand, is the most recognizable star in sports entertainment and the guy that is the face of the sport's top company, World Wrestling Entertainment.

The fact that The Rock won over John Cena is astonishing, shocking, ridiculous, stupid and absolutely meaningless.

Dwayne Johnson returned to the WWE, as he put it, "to give back to the company and the fans."

Vince McMahon thanked him by turning WrestleMania XXVII into The Rock's show. He was heavily featured throughout.

Then, to further thank him, Vince invited him to Raw on his birthday, in Miami, and threw a grandiose party for him. It was huge and Rock celebrated with pyro and streamers usually reserved for a pay-per-view.

The company also produced a brand new DVD, allowed him to go over The Miz and R-Truth at Survivor Series and stand tall at the end of the night after delivering a Rock Bottom to John Cena after the bout, and even called him, "the greatest WWE Superstar of all time."

Hyperbole, at best.

There was absolutely nothing else Vince McMahon and his company should have done to thank Dwayne for coming back "home." After everything they did to stroke his ego, it was time for him to give back to the company and put over its biggest star.

As everyone knows by now, that did not happen. The Rock entered to a booming concert by Flo Rida, longer and more spectacular than the one allowed for Cena by MGK. He posed, raised his arm, pandered to the crowd, and gasped for air, blown up and gassed before the match even began.

The match was everything it should have been. It was epic, with two all-time greats hitting all of their signature moves and popping the crowd. The Rock landed the People's Elbow and the Rock Bottom while Cena executed the Five Knuckle Shuffle and the Attitude Adjustment. It was a great way to end an above-average WrestleMania XXVIII pay-per-view.

Unfortunately, the epic match meant nothing in the long run. At the end of the day, Dwayne Johnson was given another opportunity to bask in the glory, raise his hand, pound his chest, and pander to the people. AGAIN.

His win accomplished nothing. It did not better the business he loves. The Attitude Era star, who left to better himself, was put over the guy who will be here tomorrow. And the next day. And the next month, and the next year.

The locker room will have to question what the win means for them. Rather than put them over by putting over their leader, they are left to hear the constant jabs by critics that they will forever be inferior to the Attitude Era stars.

Sure, they receive a nice pay-per-view paycheck but after that one-time pay-off is deposited in the bank, then spent, what did The Rock's return to WWE really accomplish for them?

For the second year in a row, WrestleMania was devoted to putting The Rock over. Unlike WrestleManias of past, where the seasoned vet, a megastar in popular culture, put over the star of the present and future, Vince McMahon chose to take his biggest attraction and sacrifice his legacy by reminding fans who have apparently been living under a rock (pun intended) that "The Great One" is a huge star.

Undertaker and Triple H had a tremendous match. CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho in a hell of a professional wrestling match. But at the end of the day, their work will be overshadowed by a match that meant nothing, outside of a one-time paycheck.

Still, the machine that is the WWE will continue to run. Unfortunately, the gear leading it had the opportunity to receive a fresh coat of polish. Instead, the old reliable gear has acquired some rust.

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