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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Rock vs. John Cena is a Reckoning

On the 2/20/12 episode of WWE Monday Night RAW, John Cena vowed to beat The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII in his first entertaining promo since, well, the last time he cut an entertaining promo. Which was exactly one year ago when he assumed his old Doctor of Thugonomics rap persona and tore The Rock a new one in rhyme. Cena also continued to position himself as the hero in this showdown because, as he hammers home as his one primary point, The Rock left WWE for Hollywood 7 years ago while John Cena has remained in WWE.

Let me try to understand this logic. John Cena should be the babyface in the match because of... why? Because The Rock left the company and became the biggest crossover star in Hollywood the pro wrestling business has ever seen. John Cena should be the babyface despite that for over six years he has been booed - by you more than likely - because the majority of WWE fans over the age of 15 have been consistently tired of his squeaky clean PG image as the leader of company and as the number one star in the business. Those 6 years of hating Cena and booing him and grousing about his workrate or his booking or his pandering, unfunny promos - we should suddenly see all of that has a virtue. Because at least he was around. Boring you and making you angry, sure, but at least he was here. Oh, and John Cena never left to make bad movies, no sir. His movies suck too and he totally admits it, wink wink, but hey, at least he did both: he annoyed you for 6 years and then asked you to watch him act - though c'mon, he's not an actor and his movies suck. 

The Rock left the business and left the majority of us with great memories of being one of the most entertaining stars during the most enjoyable period of watching wrestling ever. The nerve of that Dwayne Johnson for winning every championship and doing everything there is to do in WWE before he was 35 and then deciding he wanted more out of his life. And then despite absolutely not needing to financially or professionally because he has nothing to prove, he saw the sorry state of the business - the business lead by John Cena - and decided he wanted to help and agreed to give us a dream match for WrestleMania, one of the only dream matches left in pro wrestling. And then, get this, he continued to stay in Hollywood and make movies, having the most successful year of his film career at the box office while promoting the fact that he will be main eventing WrestleMania to the audience outside WWE, creating interest that hasn't cared about WWE in the years since Cena has been leading the company.

But The Rock is the bad guy here, says John Cena. Because he left. And John Cena is here every night. John Cena has perfect attendance, which is apparently the fifth demandment of the Cenation along with Hustle, Loyalty, Respect, and Rising Above Hate. And the last six years of Cena as the top guy were the most enjoyable you've ever had as a fan. Weren't they?

Cena's the face, Rock's the heel. Okay, sure, John. Whatever you say.

I see the WrestleMania match between The Rock and John Cena as a reckoning. John Cena, The Rock will return in Miami to fight you and judge you in front of the world. The Rock will finally be holding John Cena accountable for his actions as leader of WWE. The torch was passed from The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin to John Cena - and what did Cena do with it? Is WWE better, more entertaining, more enjoyable? Cena is angry and defensive because he has no defense to the accusation that the era he leads is a pale shadow of the Attitude Era. Every time Cena harps that I AM HERE... don't you see, John? That just makes it worse for you.

The fact that Cena cut an entertaining, disrespectful promo last night makes his position worse - Cena could have been more entertaining than he was but he held back for 6 years. We know he had it in him but he kept pandering instead. Cena changes the subject to every other thing under the sun, mainly: The Rock isn't here, The Rock isn't here, The Rock isn't here. But you are, John Cena. You are. And what have you been doing, and why do half the audiences in every city boo you every night? 
Why is that, John? 

Cena will win in Miami. Youth must be served. The Rock understands this as Hulk Hogan did at WrestleMania 18 when he lost to and passed the torch to The Rock and his era. It's not really about who wins and who loses the match. What's important is the performance, the emotion, the roller coaster, raising the level of the game. I groused that The Rock shouldn't have returned at Survivor Series last November because the "specialness" of his first match back was lost, but I'm glad now he did, because now the question of whether The Rock "still has it" is not part of the equation. The Rock absolutely does still have it.

This WrestleMania match is about The Rock helping John Cena raise his game, and I hope in real life that Cena understands this: Rock is here to help him. If WrestleMania XXVIII draws like WWE hopes it does, more eyes will be on Cena as the leader of WWE than ever before, lots of eyes that have never seen him or cared to see him. Everyone already knows The Rock and that he Brings It. Survivor Series cemented he's still who he was before he left for 7 years.

WrestleMania XXVIII is Cena's showcase, his job performance review, his reckoning. Cena's predecessor and, I believe, his better is coming to Miami to make him prove he really is at The Rock's level and deserves to be. It's Cena who has everything to prove and everything to lose at WrestleMania.

I want to see the best performance John Cena has ever given in his life in Miami, nothing less.