The Wrestling Genius: The Great Rock Debate

I’m about to ask something that won’t be popular but needs to be asked; is The Rock now overrated? He was arguably the biggest star in the biggest highest rated era in wrestling history. This isn’t about that Rock, this isn’t even about last years Rock. I’m talking the here and now and after three straight flat appearances, I’m left a little worried about him. His material seems….meh to me now. Could it be that I’m being skeptical because he’s facing CM Punk and more than likely will end Punk’s amazing streak? No, I like to think I can be impartial. No, it seems to me after last night The Rock ran out of good original material long ago. The Rock worked last year because he was like a band on their first reunion tour. He played the hits and we loved it, we ate it up. Sure, it wasn’t anything new, but we came for nostalgia and The Rock didn’t disappoint. However, now one year later, I’m tired of the greatest hits tour. Maybe I’m noticing it because Punk is so much a better foil than Cena was. Cena’s act was tired before Rock showed up. He was the perfect target for The Rock and Rock went after him and tore him apart on a weekly basis. As a Cena detractor, I have to admit I enjoyed it.

However, The Rock isn’t against a tired act that relies on overly heroic cliché. No, he’s against a witty heel that doesn’t seem phased by The Rock’s childhood antics. Punk seems prepared for whatever The Rock says and can counter punch with ease. The ice cream jokes, the strudel jokes, they all seem sophomoric next to Punk’s cool bad guy persona. The Rock has now become Ozzy circa 1980s when Mötley Crüe (CM Punk) opened for Ozzy but soon Crüe was bigger. Ozzy seemed so 1970s compared to The Crue. By the end of the tour they stole the headlining gig from Ozzy and Ozzy didn’t seem to matter the rest of the decade. The Rock can do his little songs, which are just retreads of his old songs, and he can pull out his catch phrases all he wants. None of it matters because of how much more fresh and original Punk seems by comparison. The Rock is stuck in the last decade and Punk is very much in this decade. Let’s hope his in ring skill isn’t as tired and played out, as his mic work seems to be. Sorry Rocky, this nostalgia tour seems to be running on empty.

Now with the counter argument my good buddy Aaron who is the biggest Rock fan I know…he still defends Doom and Tooth Fairy….

Aaron: First and foremost…Not even Rocky defends the Tooth fairy but besides some BS special effects Doom wasn’t bad action….The Rock overrated? That seems even as absurd to read out aloud I figure as it was to type…Royal Rumble (Sold Out)…Worldwide twitter trends…Raw attendance and Viewer ship #’s higher than anything in Punk’s 421 day reign…

Now that the foolish notion of overrated has been easily laughed off; I want to state that I am a HUGE CM Punk Mark as well as the genius of Paul Heyman; however, this article is not disputing that fact. The fact in question is that my once Rocky amigo has lost faith, is trying to be an “In” fan, and cannot enjoy what made the attitude era great was just plain over the top tomfoolery. Face it; The Rock was #1 or #2 in The Attitude era when wrestling was King. People actually watched wrestling and LOVED/LIVED it…I have a friend that stabbed himself in the leg because he jumped up when he heard the “glass shatter” of Stone Cold and forgot what was in his hand when he rushed to the living room in pure unadulterated excitement…CM Punk and Cena are on top of a WWE when there is no competition (Sorry ROH & TNA) and RAW struggles to win viewers over Pawn Stars…The Rock aka Ozzy is on top as Ozzy was in the prime of the 70s and sex drugs and rock n roll…The only difference was is that Rock moved on to bigger and better things when it was time only to come back and play that one off concert that sells out MSG…Rock didn’t hang on and tarnish his career a la Michael Jordan and the Wizards. If Jordan had not done that, who would not be more excited to see him come out and play one game against Kobe in his prime.

The Rock could do serious interviews (Insert footage as Corporate Champ) and be all badass as CM Punk is excelling at; except, the crowds and Rock fans want him silly and making us laugh because it reminds us of when wrestling was fun and you didn’t DVR Raw (VCR record at that time) so you could turn 3 hours into 45 minutes…It was just a better time and Rock is trying to bring back that time and trust me, when the time comes to get in the ring and get serious, we are going to have a true classic on our hands.

Jared: No one is arguing if the Attitude era was bigger because it was. However, the question isn’t about competition with other wrestling groups its competition with more channels and the DVR. In The Rock’s era, there was no DVR, and no one really used the VCR for live sporting events. Cable even 10 years ago had hundreds of fewer channels there was limited competition. Again, I wasn’t saying The Rock was overrated ten years ago, I’m saying here and now he’s overrated. Royal Rumble would have been sold out regardless, and WWE always has the number one Twitter trending topic on Mondays. Now, will he get you more buys than an average show? Yes, of course he will I’m not arguing his popularity I’m arguing his work. His work is the same old same old it was last year. Face it Aaron The Rock is The Rolling Stones and Punk is Nirvana circa Nevermind. Sure, at one time The Rolling Stones were a bigger band than Nirvana ever was, but in the early 1990’s which would you have rather seen, Mick Jagger, or Kurt Cobain? I mean come on Punk doesn’t take the easy Vicky jokes the way The Rock does. Punk is serious, witty, and worked circles around The Rock the few times they’ve been face to face on the mic. Remember Aaron, your arms are too short to box with God. As customary and because I’m a gracious debater I’ll give Aaron the last word.

Aaron: Punk may have a few more points that are poignant or a few more “inside” jabs only that are first ok’d by creative; however, He makes just as many easy jokes only that he is given Paul Heyman to make them to keep his cool persona in check. Punk may have been given free license the one interview that changed the world but don’t be foolish to think everything after that is time stamped by Vince…Punk created a character that day and Vince is now the puppet master…The only difference is that Rock accepts it and plays to the strength of it; while, CM Punk tries to make everyone believe that this isn’t a character and he is too cool to be labeled…The Rock comes in to town…Plays his role…and the WWE is by far a better product to watch even if it is just for those few moments…Now if you ask me if in 10 years if he should still be doing it…Hell no Funk and Flair performed well past their prime but while Rock is still a name in entertainment and stays in physical shape. I would hope he would come around once or twice a year if only to entertain us that long for the PG era to be just a blip on the WWE radar…Thanks to Jared for letting me give my two cents…

That is all for me this week, as always, you can email me with any questions, comments, concern or hate or you can tweet me @JaredGebhardt

  • Chia

    Man I can’t stand people liking cm punk. What has he done?! His mic skills sucks! His wrestling sucks! Heck, he hasn’t done anything memorable in the wwe aside for what was giving to him. His promote during the rock’s return was so boring, I switched the channel until it was the top of the hours. With cm punk being champion any longer, he’s gonna drove the rock’s fan away from tv and we’ll be back to those suck 2.6 ratings we been having for the last 12 months courtesy of your champion cm punk. A true champion doesn’t complained till he get what he want. A true champion fight through Vince’s obstacles to get what he want. If Vince doesn’t think you deserved to be champion, show him not exposed him. Jeff hardy for example worked for everything he got. Rock, Austin, triple h, angle, undertaker… Even foley!

    • spunkypunky

      You are an idot. Plain and simple mark.

  • Dtru

    “Crying Man, Chicken Man” CM is what it stands for. What a Joke, he is to little to be champ and that is a fact. In reality one of those big guys could knock him out easily. Absolutely the biggest WWE character that needs be carried. Wins written for him and why? All he does now is bit*h on the mic about WWE. What I really want to see is him saying “he’s the best in the world” to Lesnar face and he’ll drop him like a bad habbit. Now that guy is a wrecking machine, don’t wanna mess with him period. “Best in the world” “ha” yes he would be if crying and being a chicken was a competition then yes he would be the “best in the world.” Chicken Man/Crying Man, CM PUnkas*

    • Jared

      You know Punk has trained in Brazilian jujitsu right? That Alberto Del Rio would never beat Big Show right? Or that Stone Cold Steve Austin, Rick Flair, and Ricky Steamboat all talk about how great Punk’s work is right? Punk has never been carried through a match. Lesnar is sloppy and gives out concussions like mints at a hotel. He’s dangerous.

  • MMArk

    Punk is a white belt in BJJ – just because the Gracie’s use him to sell their Youtube show, doesn’t mean he’s any good.
    Alberto Del Rio fought Mirko CroCop in Pride many moons ago and got his head kicked off – ADR actually has an extensive MMA record – C(rack) M(agnet) Punk does not. If Punk’s selling point is a “background” in Muay Thai and that he occasionally trains in BJJ, then he really needs to stop whinging about people trying to tap him when he goes to classes (as he mentioned in an interview with Ariel Helwani when he won the WWE title).
    The guy is not a company man, he’s all for himself and could learn a thing or two about the business from someone like Chris Jericho.