First off, let me preface this by stating that I am a fan of the Rock: I watched his rise to the top during the late 90’s and have fond memories of many of his matches. His catchphrases are legendary, his in-ring work was top-notch, and he was undoubtedly one of the most charismatic individuals to ever step into the ring. He turned a simple elbow drop into a move that sent a crowd into a frenzy.
The Rock is a wrestling legend.
And he needs to stay far, far away from the current WWE.
The Rock returned to the WWE in February of 2011 and immediately began a yearlong on again/off again feud with John Cena that led to a match at the following years Wrestlemania. In what was billed as a “Once in a Lifetime” match, the Rock defeated John Cena.
Everybody won. Attitude Era fans who were sick of the current state of the PG-era WWE got to see their hero go over the face of the family-friendly era, and PG-era fans got to see what all the hype was about concerning The Rock. And most of all, the WWE won as Wrestlemania 28 did huge numbers for the company, not only in dollars, but also in audience interest.
This should have been the end of the story. However, the next night on Raw, The Rock would cut a promo stating that his goal was to be WWE champion once again. After the 1000th episode of Raw, in which The Rock made another appearance, it was basically set in stone that the Rock would face current champion CM Punk at the Royal Rumble. The problem with this, is that it essentially has held the entire company hostage while we bide our time until the Royal Rumble.
The Rock needs to stay away from the WWE because he is hurting the business he loves so much. His presence takes focus away from the wrestlers who are there every week.
Putting the title on The Rock does nothing for him, the title, or the WWE. Also, a title victory for the Rock also comes at the expense of a 400+ day reign of CM Punk. CM Punk has one of the longest reigns in the past decade with a title that was seemingly hot-potatoed to any contender for the past 6 years. He has given the title credibility and shown that long-title reigns not only help the guy holding it, but also helps the prestige of the belt itself. To give it back to The Rock simply because he is back for a short time span, would send the title back into “IT’S MY TURN TO HOLD THE BELT!” territory.
In regards to the hostage situation, every pay-per-view since the 1000th episode of Raw has been wholly predictable. Most of the blame can be placed on the writers, producers, etc, but most outcomes could be seen a mile away based on the fact that “X wrestler won’t win the title because the title is going to The Rock at the Rumble.” While wrestling isn’t a traditional sport, what other sport would you watch that you could wholly guess the outcome just because another athlete/team was going to get the championship in the end, regardless of anything else? “The San Francisco Giants will win this game but only because they are going to lose the World Series to the Yankee’s because the Yankee’s are the Yankee’s.” You wouldn’t watch that, and nor should you have to.
The other problem with The Rock holding the belt is that it will give people a false sense that an edgier era is on the horizon. The Rock will be champion, pepper in a few swear words into some promos, and immediately send people jumping to the conclusion that the Attitude Era is back.
It’s not going to happen.
Also, a huge part of the audience will leave once The Rock leaves. The WWE will get a ratings increase during The Rock’s time as champion but that will all go away the second he loses the title. It helps in the short term, but then again, Fonzi firing up a boat, strapping on some water-skis, and jumping over some sharks also was a short-term solution.
The final reason The Rock should not be champion is because the only reason The Rock got to become “The Rock” is because the WWE of the time didn’t throw the belt on whatever visiting past superstar happened to be on Raw that week. Granted, The Rock has more star power than a lot of the visiting superstars during his time, but the idea is the same. If The Rock had to drop the belt to The Big Bossman every time he visited, he might still be held in high-regard, but he wouldn’t be the icon that he is today.
In conclusion, The Rock can come back during Legends nights or special episodes, but he has no place in the title picture. He has accomplished more than enough as a professional wrestler, actor, etc. He doesn’t need the title. To give him the belt would only undo the progress that the company has made at making the WWE title not just an accessory.
It’s time to stop living in the past and move forward. The WWE has plenty of talent and it’s time to utilize that talent.
What do you think? Should The Rock be given the chance to shine as champion again? Share your thoughts below and click next to reveal the ten matches we want to see at WrestleMania 29.
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This article was first posted on January 2, 2013