As we draw ever closer to the biggest night of the wrestling calendar, I become ever more disenfranchised with the current state of the WWE title picture. The current champion The Rock scarcely appears on Monday Night RAW, and almost never shows his face on “his show” Smackdown. This clearly devalues the brand new shiny belt. I”ve even found myself occassionally forgetting about the title completely. That’s how little it graces us with an appearance. Kinda strange.
Aside from the generally negative impact of The Rock’s current run on programming and the product in general, it has a much more direct effect on the Rock v Cena storyline in particular. When the number one contender and top guy in your company is involved in horrific segments and matches with Derren Young, you are NOT booking your Wrestlemania main event correctly. There isn’t room to move on that issue. Take a look at the past: Stone Cold v The Rock and Hulk Hogan v The Rock are two examples of how to book the build for a super-match.
Everything about this build has screamed anti-climax, and I can’t help but think that the only positive coming out of the whole thing is that the match can’t possiblty fail to live up to expectations, because they are already so low. It’s impossible to get heat on your storyline without actually putting together some logical segments. Throwing Cena in to throwaway, bullshit non-angles is just a waste of time which should be spent putting focus on the biggest match of the year.
The Rock isn’t on WWE programming a whole lot and when he is it tends to be nothing but disappointing. His promos and his routine are getting stale. I find it hard to root for him given his real life attitude, but we’ll get to that. Let’s just say the angle is dead, it’s being overshadowed by at least two of the other matches on the card, and frankly it’s a disservice to a historic championship and the most historic of wrestling companies.
Another crazy thing about this whole deal is the fact that The Rock hasn’t even been promoting the company, the belt or Wrestlemania on his many media appearances, which take priority over showing up for TV, let alone live events. It’s easy to forget that WWE are actually paying this guy a lot of money. I know he garners mainstream publicity and boosts ratings, but is he really making a substantial long-term contribution to proceedings? No.
He regularly misses RAW to spend time on red carpets across the world in support of his Hollywood movie career. As of late, it’s his new movie GI Joe: Retaliation which is tying up his schedule so bad. The Great One also utilizes the media through various formats. One of which is chat shows. He was recently on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, without the belt around his waist, and without even a mention of Wrestlemania or wrestling in general. It’s traditional for the WWE Champion to appear on late night talk shows with the belt. It’s almost like being the champion of an entire global industry can’t make the cut on his pre-show notes. He couldn’t even spare ten seconds to plug the Pay-Per-View. Is he embarrassed or something?
Clearly you can see how The People’s Champion isn’t quite what he is on the screen in real life. John Cena, on the other hand works more dates than anyone else in the business, doesn’t miss RAW non-chalantly every other week, and has the record for granting wishes with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This may not mean anything to the smart marks out there, but in reality John Cena is a good guy who actually has the interests of the business at heart. People envy his success, and hate his character. I can understand why. I do too. Nonetheless, I have nothing but respect for Cena the man, and I really hope he wins the title at ‘Mania for the sake of the whole product. It isn’t very often that I root for Cena, but anything beats this absentee non-reign on the part of The Rock.
John Cena is hated by internet fans and adults in general. His character is a never say die, modern day Hulk Hogan/Superman hybrid, he seems to never lose, and he has been known to have some infuriatingly long title reigns. People say he is boring, he can’t move in the ring and he is an overrated performer who has only reached the heights that he has through ass-kissing and politicking. I don’t know how true all of that is. I do know that he gets far too much stick for someone who works extremely hard, and travels the year round on the road proudly representing the country and the industry on an almost constant basis.
On the other hand, The Rock is still adored by the majority of fans regardless of generation. For the older people, he represents everything that they miss so much about the Attitude Era. He represents the antidote to John Cena’s squeaky clean face image. The reality is that Dwayne Johnson clearly doesn’t care about “the millions” or the friends, colleagues, family members and champions who have come before him in the business. He does not do the Championship justice. It’s so ironic that in this scenario he is the man getting all of the cheers, while the actual workhorse and real life nice guy is chastised and hated.
One thing is for sure, the storyline and the show overall have been woefully under-promoted. Rock v Cena (Twice in a Lifetime) is already being completely overshadowed by at least two matches on the card. The simple reason for that is a huge difference in booking quality, and dedication to the product on the part of the other occassional stars Triple H, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker. There is only one week left to drum up demand for this match. I think it’s lost on the hardcore fanbase at this point (many of whom will be in New Jersey on April 7th) so I would expect some intense pandering to take place next week in order to secure a large mainstream audience for the show.
To sum up. The People’s Champion = Bad. The Doctor Of Thuganomics = Good.
Your thoughts? Like you’re really gonna post a comment…