Given that I’m in classes at 9am on a Tuesday morning, I can’t watch RAW live anymore. Usually, I have to wait until Thursday; which is why I’m so late to the party on the entire Cena promo/anonymous text of support story. If you don’t know the story I’m referring to, you can look at the exact article here. In short, following John Cena’s promo on The Rock this past RAW, members of the roster have supposedly backed Cena’s comments - one member, who asked to remain anonymous, going as far as to text PWInsider (I thought wrestlers disliked dirtsheets?) what they thought about The Rock.
“[Johnson] comes in to use WWE to get back the audience he lost doing Disney movies, which is fine but he’s been back over a year and name one person he helped make a bigger star since then? No one. He’s here for himself, he keeps to himself, and he keeps someone who’s actually touring here all year from making a bigger payday at the bigger shows. It’s all about making this the “biggest” Mania of all time. OK, then what do we do the rest of the year? Who’s been made? You think he took ANY blame for Survivor [Series] not drawing? Of course not, but how do you feud with a guy on the Titantron? Cena nailed the guy dead on tonight. Say anything about HHH, Taker, etc. still being in the top spot but if they were needed to work the road, they would and they would still work their asses off as much as they needed to. Rock is out for Rock and the idea he’s here to better anything but his own wallet is the biggest work of 2012.”
See, I understand the frustration. I do. It must be difficult to travel over three hundred days a year, and have someone who has done a fraction of that take the top spot at the biggest show of the year. I get it. However, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but WrestleMania is a product. It’s WWE’s biggest night of the year, and is treated as such. I wish there was a spot for every single person who has traveled day-in-day-out, missed their families, banged themselves up… but there isn’t, because they simply don’t draw. And that’s what WrestleMania is all about. Business.
Now, I think I’d be right in saying that Mr. Johnson didn’t beg for the opportunity to come back - it was given to him, and he accepted. Is it The Rock’s fault that he was offered the chance to have a match with John Cena? No, it’s not. Should The Rock be chastised for his ability to put asses in seats and money in Vince’s pocket? I don’t think so. The Rock is good for business. Period. Is that really The Rock’s fault?
If anything, the other superstars should be looking at this as an opportunity to allow themselves to shine. People who no longer watch the product will be tuning in simply to see The Rock at WrestleMania again, but everyone else on the card should be making it their duty to ensure that people stick around long after The Rock returns to Hollywood. If they feel they deserve that spot so much, this is their chance to step up and make it happen. Now, I’m not saying that people should be thanking The Rock for such an opportunity - I’m not that far gone - but there’s no harm in seeing it from that perspective. It makes sense to me, anyway.
Turning to the issue of The Rock’s so-called abandonment of the company, I have to say I’m growing quite sick of the redundancy of this argument. Why is leaving the company to make movies such a big deal? Did anyone expect him to stick around forever? John Cena claims that he’ll ‘never leave’, but is that really true? And, if it is, does anyone actually consider that to be a good thing? Wrestlers sticking around after they’ve outstayed their welcome rarely leads to a positive outcome, and I don’t see why The Rock should be berated for wanting to stay well-clear from that fate.
So, he left to make movies. Disney movies. How terrible of him. And, while I’m sure The Tooth Fairy was nothing short of horrendous, the man is successful and good at what he does. He’s conquered another aspect of the entertainment industry, and I applaud him for it. Yes, he had to leave the WWE for it. No, he can’t afford the time to make appearances every week, because he has another job. And, even if he could spare the time, he doesn’t owe us - or anyone in the back - the pleasure of having him appear full-time every week.
Bottom line: Dwayne Johnson doesn’t owe anyone a damn thing.
This would be an entirely different story if he hadn’t done everything that Cena has done already - and, quite frankly, done it better. The Rock has done it all before, and he doesn’t owe it to a single person to keep doing it. The Rock has been a wrestler, has worked for the company, and has earned this right. You might recall how a couple of wrestlers felt about a past superstar ‘taking their spot’ last year at WrestleMania, and it ultimately resulted in two releases from the company. If I recall, many fans thought the actions of both Melina and Morrison towards Trish were unprofessional and chastised them for it - but, of course, hypocrisy amongst wrestling fans is another post entirely.
Like Trish, The Rock has worked his backside off to allow people like John Cena to have their spots today. For someone - ‘anonymous’, in this case - to say that The Rock hasn’t worked enough to have earned such an opportunity is absolutely incredible to me. The Rock is a legend, and will always be remembered as such. He has more than earned the right to come back and take the top spot at ‘the biggest WrestleMania of all time’ - and, yeah, take the Mania paycheque while he’s at it. Of course he has. And I have no doubts, one day, John Cena will be in a position where he can return to do the very same.
Oh, wait. I forgot. He’s never leaving, right?
The Rock vs. John Cena is going to be an incredible experience, no matter how you look at it. For a fan, for Cena, for Rocky - this is the kind of thing that only comes once in a lifetime. It is the biggest wrestling match of all time, and it will be a spectacle - one that, whether you like him or not, has only been made possible by The Rock taking the money and - cough - ‘stealing someone else’s spot’.