“The famous Hollywood icon only shows up three times a year. And I know that some of you are filming this and I know that he’s going to see this and be pissed of and the famous Hollywood icon will be there Monday and at Survivor Series… because I am no famous Hollywood icon I get to stand here and see all of you because this what I do.” – John Cena, November 8th, 2011 – RAW House Show.
Ever seen the shock and surprise of the Rock’s return to Monday Night Raw in Anaheim, California back in February, there has been a war of words between John Cena and the Rock. Rock came out swinging and although Cena has stepped up to the plate it seems obvious that he has struck out more often than he has hit homeruns. This can’t be something completely held against Cena as it is difficult for anyone to step into the ring and go word for word with the Rock. This has all been to set up the clash between these two which will take place at Wrestlemania in Miami. The question on some people’s minds, though, is whether or not WWE has managed to botch this angle. If you feel that they have then you may also be wondering whether or not that botch was an accident, a result of poor booking or purposeful.
Some people have said it wouldn’t make sense for it to be done on purpose but Vince McMahon has reputation for wanting to prove to individuals that one man is not bigger than the whole of the WWE and that no matter where you go and what you do you’ll never be as important as you were when you worked for him. We saw it with Hulk Hogan, remember his stint on Smackdown as “Mr. America?” That wasn’t done for an angle or for excitement. It was done to humble a man who believed he was bigger than the company. It is not as if Vince isn’t known for holding a grudge and one thing he takes as an insult more than anything else is if you leave his company. What makes it worse in the Rock’s case is that not only did he leave but he became even bigger than Vince had made him.
WWE, or Vince McMahon specifically, don’t seem to understand the basic simplicity of this situation. The WWE needs the Rock. The Rock does not need the WWE. I can’t speculate about the details of his return, the whys or hows, but coming back to the WWE to setup an angle certainly wasn’t done in order to advance his own career. WWE has been struggling, they’re executing things poorly, they’re losing ratings. The Rock is a blockbuster return which can draw more eyes. This is clearly evidenced through the large Wrestlemania buyrate from last year and the Survivor Series selling out in ninety minutes.
Cena is always talking about how he is there every night, how he is there for all the fans, how he cares more than the Rock who doesn’t show up very much. Thing is, who is the crowd cheering for? They’re not thanking Cena for being there and they’re not cheering because he always shows up. Half of the time a large portion of the crowd seems to resent the fact that Cena is there in the first place. Cena is always talking about how the Rock chose to leave and doesn’t care about the fans. Maybe Rock cares more about the fans and that’s why he left. Maybe he knew they’d get tired of always seeing the same guy on top, seeing the same guy win, seeing the same guy do the same old stuff night in and night out. Although, if Rock had stayed, he’d have been more versatile than Cena without even trying but things would begin to wear. The Rock stepped aside and Cena is who he is because Rock left.
No one knows how much of what they say is worked or a shoot. I’d imagine that some degree of it is as these two do seem to have some level of distaste for one another. I’m sure the Rock knows that a lot of what Cena says is from McMahon’s lips to Cena’s ears. The Rock isn’t a stupid man, and if he ever truly chose to let loose on Cena he’d be more than capable of completely destroying him verbally. It’s interesting to wonder what would happen if one day, during one promo, Cena said something that actually made the Rock mad. Doubtful, though, as the Rock doesn’t seem to care much what Cena has to say either way.
So where does this all leave us? It leaves us with a superCena who has already shown on several occasions that he doesn’t need the Rock in order to take out both R-Truth and the Miz. Hell, he can even lose to them and laugh about it afterward. Then again, when does Cena ever seem to care about whether he wins or loses? This guy drops the title and comes out the next night making poopy jokes. The Rock, though, is someone we care to see and someone we’ve been looking forward to seeing. It is someone that we can take seriously and when he speaks we believe he means what he is saying. In Madison Square Garden, in the heart of New York City, the crowd is almost guaranteed to be behind the Rock and against Cena.
There has been speculation that after all of this time and after all of these years that John Cena will finally turn heel at Survivor Series by turning his back on the Rock or helping Miz and Truth to beat him down. There is some consideration that perhaps Cena is the power that is influencing John Laurenitis, or at least, the power alongside McMahon who is doing the influencing. If this is the case than this could be one of the most exciting moments in WWE history. If this doesn’t happen then I have no choice but to wonder if Vince McMahon has truly lost his touch when it comes to booking big angles. Time will tell, and all I can say is this; they’ve got my money for Survivor Series because I need to see what happens next.