Between The Rock And The Same Place.

Photo by Dwayne Johnson

Supposedly the much anticipated physical confrontation between The Rock and Cena will soon be upon us. Will it lead to a match? Hopefully. The one thing people concede about the recent war of words between the two is that Cena has a point when he talks about the Rock leaving WWE and the fans behind him. Maybe he does have a point but after all is said and done, is this really helping Cena or just making look much worse than he is?

Now I think it is fair to say anyone reading this probably isn’t the biggest John Cena fan (Just a hunch) but no matter what your feelings are about him no one can argue that he is by far the biggest name in WWE right now and has been for some time. He is THE big name. Everything about Raw and the WWE revolves around him for better or worse and he also has a decent amount of mainstream exposure. So why does he continue to keep going on about the Rock leaving. I can’t see anything positive having ever come out f it. Does it make him more popular with older WWE fans who felt let down by the Rock? I can’t honestly say it has because most of those people can’t stand Cena. Has it made him more popular with the younger fans? Again I have to say not really because:

A) There is a good chance a lot of them don’t know or care who The Rock is.

and

B) Cena is pretty much as big as he can be.

That is probably one of John Cena’s biggets problems. Once you reach the top there is only really one way you can go and that’s down. But since WWE do everything in their power to not let that happen he has kind of plateaued off. He crushes everyone below him no matter who or how many there are and pretty much everyone bigger than him has left or he has beaten. That includes The Rock. He left and hasn’t really looked back but is that a good enough reason to keep complaining?

I’m sure everyone has their own opinions on The Rock and him leaving the WWE and I’m sure they include a lot of good points buts lets look at it from his point of view. He had the crappy gimmicks and the bad matches but rose to the very top. Once you have gotten there having won pretty much every title possible, had the big matches, the great feuds against some of the best there have ever been, broken records including the most watched RAW segment ever, repeatedly headlined WrestleMania and become one of the top three biggest wrestlers in the entire history of the industry, what would you do? You beat everyone you could of the previous generation, dominated for a while and helped pass the torch to some of the younger guys coming through. I’m sure we would all like to think if we were a pro wrestler we would want to do it forever or as long as we could. I’m sure Rock felt that way too at some point. The thing is we have never accomplished anywhere near to as much as Rock did.

Neither has Cena.

So is Cena’s problem that Rock never passed the torch?

Well he did with the likes of Brock Lesnar, Angle, Benoit, Jericho among others and even lost to Evolution which included Batista and Randy Orton. So he has given back somewhat.

Secondly, did he need to? ‘Giving back’ and ‘Passing the torch’ are nice traditions WWE tries to pretend are still relevant but lets look back at the last few decades. Did Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart continually moan about Hulk Hogan not passing the torch? Backstage maybe. Instead of that though they seized their oppurtunity and went out and put on some of the greatest matches in wrestling’s history. And lets not forget they did that during the previous WWE bad patch which is similar to what they are going through now. Again, did Austin complain about the torch not being passed to him. YES! In WWE? Not really. In ECW he mocked the older guys in WCW including Hogan. But he also looked straight down the barrel of the lens at four in the morning, in Paul Heymans basement(?) and said screw Hogan and that lot because he was going to be the biggest thing wrestling had ever seen. And he did. Whether it was luck, fate, timing or skill he made it happen. He may have beaten Bret Hart and Shawn but Bret was almost done and HBK was injured and heading out. He saw an opening and he took it and never looked back. As did Rock, HHH, Mankind, Angle,Jericho,Benoit,Gurrero,Booker T etc. They all made things happen when they got given the chance. Yes they did beat the big names before them but in most cases they didn’t HAVE to in order to get over. WWE politics being what it is alot of those guys were lucky to ever get the rub especially with Hunter in control to an extent but that is another subject altogether.

So can Cena feel hard done by that he either never got the rub or had an opening? No. His chance came in the form of Brock Lesnar leaving WWE. It gave Cena the chance to become ‘The next big thing’ in WWE. And lets never forget Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle, arguably the two best wrestlers in the history of the sport both made Cena look like a credible performer and deserving champion. They may not have been as big as Hogan, Rock or Austin but they were both easily better and still huge in their own right. And he beat Shawn at ‘Mania!

Maybe the whole thing is just one big work and has been all along. It was always likely Rock would return one day and by having a war of words between him and their top guy, WWE could create an instant feud. I think most would say though that Cena among others does have a genuine problem with Rock.

But if
1)Rock has a decent reason for leaving
2) Did help bring on younger talent
3) Cena didn’t need the rub from the Rock anyway
4) And he is the biggest thing in WWE

What can Cena’s problem be and with who?

The answer is deliciously ironic and that is……WWE!

Cena can complain about Rock leaving all he wants but it isn’t Rock’s fault the shows suck. It isn’t Rock’s fault no one gets built up to take him on. It isn’t Rock’s fault there is no Womens or Tag division. It isn’t even Rock’s fault titles barely mean anything anymore. That is WWE and to a lesser extent John Cena’s own fault. They have crafted the entire company around John Cena. You can say it is what the fans want and talk about demographics untill you look the same colour as a Cena T-shirt but at the end of the day WWE aren’t happy about buy rates or the lack of top name talent, which are both under their control to a reasonable degree. There are enough people who know about the wrestling business in WWE and they have enough good raw talent as well as a huge platform for exposure. They can make things change if they want but they won’t. WWE has lost its nerve to do something new or interesting and instead just milk the same things over and over again. Well the particular cows they keep using are either too old or too plain to reach a new audience and even the old audience is getting bored somewhat.

Like I said John Cena isn’t without blame. For WWE to thrive and return to greatness something major has to happen. Whether that be a John Cena heel turn, him lose clean to someone, get fired and stay off TV for a while or whatever. Hell, send him to Smackdown. Anything. John Cena could push for one of those things if he wanted but he won’t. First because he is 100% the WWE company man. But lets not be naive. The other reason is because he likes being where he is. Being the top guy, beloved by many and getting a decent pay check is hard to let go of and clearly he doesn’t want to. Maybe he doesn’t want to let the kids down. Maybe he convinces himself it is in the best interests of the company. Maybe it has been. But now something new needs to be given a chance and WWE’s short sightedness will cost them longterm.

So returning to where I started, is bashing the Rock helping or hurting Cena? I will let you decide on that one but here’s another question. Has the Rock’s semi-return and the disappointment it has caused done more damage to WWE than Cena never leaving it?


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