It’s time for the latest edition of FATP. Today, I thought I’d take a look at the possible scenarios surrounding The Rock and the WWE Title in 2013. As much as everyone sh*ts on The Rock for only coming back part-time, the fact is that when he’s back, TV ratings and PPV buys spike. Nobody can blame him for moving on from wrestling. I guarantee that any other wrestler would’ve done the same if they’d have had the chance. Do I think he could’ve come back sooner? Yeah, but that’s not my decision. It was nobody’s choice but Rock’s and we should all be glad he’s back.
Getting started, there’s a list of 3 or 4 scenarios that we could see as it relates to The Rock and the WWE Title in 2013. Let’s take a look at them shall we?
1 – CM Punk beats The Rock and retains his WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble
This is fairly self-explanatory and it’s what I think will happen. It seems FAR too obvious that Rock is going to ride in on his white chariot for a few weeks and waltz off with the WWE Championship. It’s not too much of a stretch to think that the Rock will fail to beat the champ, just like so many others have done over the last 380+ days. I don’t think WWE would build up Punk’s run as champ for this long, just to have him drop it to Rock. Their feud is almost a certainty at this point. I can’t wait to see Rock and Cena go toe-to-toe, both in the ring and on the mic. It’s gonna make for great TV!
2 – Rock loses to Punk and wins the Royal Rumble
This kind of ties in with what I said above. I’m almost certain that Punk will retain at Royal Rumble 2013 against Rock, but their title match won’t be the main-event. The Rumble will be. What better way to have Rock ensure that he’s got a main-event, marquee match at WM29 than have him enter the Rumble as a late entry (between 25 and 30) and book him to win the Rumble? It works around his existing movie promotion schedule and guarantees him a big match at Mania.
3 – Rock loses to Punk, but still faces the champion at WrestleMania 29
It’s almost the same as above. Punk retains at the Rumble, but somehow, Rock manages to get himself a title shot at WrestleMania against whoever the champion is. Whether it’s down to a dodgy finish at the Rumble, where outside interference costs him the title, or other means, Rock ends up with a second shot at winning the title, against whoever the champion is. If we assume Punk retains, he’ll inevitably walk in to Elimination Chamber as defending WWE Champion. Since WWE LOVE putting Punk in multi-man title defences, he could lose the belt at the chamber without being pinned for his title. He’s the 1st/2nd man to be pinned, guaranteeing a new champion. Punk gets a rematch for the belt on Raw and loses, leaving Rock free to chase the champion (Cena/Ryback) to Mania.
4 – Rock beats Punk for the Title at the Royal Rumble
If WWE decide to go the obvious route and have Rock beat Punk at the Rumble, it poses a hell of a lot of questions. What was the point of building Punk’s title reign to have him lose to a man who is effectively a part-timer? Why would WWE put the title on Rock when he can’t defend it at house shows? When would Punk get his rematch? Would Rock be able to defend the belt in the lead-up to WrestleMania? That’s four questions just off the top of my head. I’ll answer each one of them individually.
Q1: Why would they build Punk’s title reign just to feed him (no pun intended) to Rock? – I don’t think they would. There HAS to be a bigger plan in all this. One that makes Punk’s title reign mean something. I also think that it’s wrong to put part-time wrestlers over full-timers, regardless of who they are. What that plan is though, is anyone’s guess.
Q2: Why would WWE put the title on Rock when he can’t defend it at house shows? – Good question. Let’s say Rock does win the belt. I’m pretty confident that WWE wouldn’t book him in a match on Raw the following night because to be honest, Rock draws money and if he’s wrestling, they’ll want people to pay money to see it on TV. It won’t happen for free. If they did put the belt on Rock, it’s a fair shout that he’ll probably work Elimination Chamber too.
Q3: When would Punk get his rematch? – Assuming he loses, Punk probably gets his rematch with Rock at the Chamber. In terms of picking a winner, I’d be tempted to say that Punk would get his win back. Let’s be honest, regardless of what happens during this feud between Punk and Rock, both guys will be integral parts of WrestleMania and probably main-eventing it.
Q4: Would Rock be able to defend the belt in the lead-up to WrestleMania? – Only one man can answer that, and his name is The Rock. I don’t know what Rock’s schedule is like, other than he’s got the GI Joe film to promote around WrestleMania time. He might have filming commitments that mean he can only appear at 4/5 events between the Rumble and WrestleMania. If that’s the case, and he’s champion, there’s a good chance he’ll defend it before Mania, but that’s not my call.
If the obvious thing does happen, and Rock wins the title, I’d like to see him defend it between the Rumble and WrestleMania. I just don’t think it’s going to happen because there are far too many reasons why it wouldn’t make sense from a business stand-point. It’s more than likely that if Rock becomes champion, WWE wouldn’t have a WWE Championship defence on TV, PPV or live events for 10 weeks if Rock wins the title. That’s the main reason why I don’t think that option 4 (Rock winning the title) will happen, especially at the Royal Rumble.
However, if he was to win it at WrestleMania 29, there are a couple of options. Keep in mind this is just speculation. If Rock wins the title at Mania and WWE choose to have a Money in the Bank match on the same card, the winner could easily cash in on The Rock, guaranteeing HUGE heel heat and making sure that WWE haven’t booked themselves into a corner by giving the title to a man who, in all honesty, couldn’t regularly defend it.
The alternative would be for Rock to win and have his moment, before vacating the title the next night on Raw. WWE could then set up an 8-man tournament, culminating in the final match at Extreme Rules to crown a new champion. It’d give matches on the 3-hour Raw’s between WrestleMania and Extreme Rules some meaning and guarantee some quality wrestling, with the goal to crown a new WWE Champion. Hell, they could even use that occasion to debut this new WWE Championship belt that we’ve been hearing about for months/years. That’d be the perfect opportunity to introduce it.
Well, what do you think? Would Rock winning the title make sense or not? Is it more likely that CM Punk retains? As usual, feel free to find me on Twitter @george_sltd or send me an email using the link above. I’ll read any feedback that comes my way, whether it’s good or bad, so don’t be scared to get in touch.
Before I head off this week, I wanted to ask you a favour. I live in the UK and over the last week or so, there’s been torrential flooding in North Wales, which has caused a LOT of damage and has made the Christmas/festive period very difficult for a lot of kids in the area. Please give whatever you can to this great cause. For more information, follow @WelshFloods on Twitter or like their Facebook page here. Anything you can donate will go towards local kids to make their Christmas a happy one.
I’ll be back next week with another edition of FATP. Until then, thanks for reading.