The People's Champ. The WWE's Problem
by, 05-01-2011 at 06:32 PM (7253 Views)
Finally. No…FINALLY, THE ROCK HAS COME BACK TO THE WWE! Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, one of the most popular, charismatic, energetic and money-making products to ever step foot in the squared circle has returned to do what it is he does best: entertain. Like many others, I have been clamoring for his return. And when I heard it was finally going to happen, my eyes were fixated on the TV screen in anticipation. He’s a Top 10 guy for me all time, and to see him back gave me goose bumps. Those goose bumps slowly went away as he talked in the center of the ring, and I started to realize why I missed him so much…and why he shouldn’t have come back.
This is a completely different time in the WWE from when The Rock originally left. When he left, there were still plenty of top guys in the company that were already good draws, or likely to become one shortly after. Just look at the guys who wrestled at Wrestlemania XX, which happened to be The Rock’s last match: Cena, Big Show, Foley, RVD, Booker T, Flair, Batista, Triple H, Orton, Lesnar, Goldberg, Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle, Taker, Kane, HBK, Jericho, Christian, and Chris Benoit. Not only were all, or most of these guys top stars in WWE’s eyes, but they were also superb all-around performers.
Flash forward to 2011. Only Cena, Show, Kane, and Christian are left full time. Triple H and Taker don’t have much left, and Jericho, who should be back before year’s end, is breaking the waltz down on national TV. The crop of superstars that could keep up with The Rock on a daily basis have since retired, moved to other promotions, or has passed away.
All of this brings us to the Rock/Cena/Miz feud leading up to Wrestlemania 27. Monday Night Raw, February 14th 2011, The Rock is revealed as the guest host of the biggest event in the wrestling universe as he storms out with the place erupting in cheers that damn near no other current superstar in the locker room has ever heard for themselves. He goes on to cut a 20-minute promo that scorched God’s green earth and brought the house down; showing emotion, intelligence, humility, passion, humor, and showmanship. It showed why he is considered one of the best talkers in the history of the business.
I won’t go into detail of what was all said, because like myself, I’m sure all of you were glued to the TV listening to every word he said like it was gospel. The man was back, and seemingly hadn’t missed a beat. He did say one thing that resonated with me, and I’m sure everyone else. He said he was back, and that he was never leaving again. At first, this sounded like an amazing promise, and a revitalization of my interest in the sports entertainment business. Throughout the next several weeks though, it made me realize how much it would actually do the opposite.
The next several weeks showcased John Cena and The Miz trading words with not only one another, but with The Great One, himself. Inserting The Rock into the Cena/Miz feud in the first place seemed like a no brainer for several reasons. Not only are Cena and Miz two of the more mainstream superstars currently on the roster, but they are also top draws and two of the better talkers in the company. If anyone could exchange a war of words with The People’s Champ, Cena and Miz would be up to the challenge. That, in itself, is where the trouble all began.
There are some great promo guys in the WWE right now, and Cena and the Miz are at the top. Cena has always been great on the mic, and flows completely natural. Miz on the other hand has worked his can off, and it is paying off. Other guys like Punk, Triple H, Christian, and Del Rio can cut great promos. What is missing here is the fact that they are having these promos against EACH other. Cena looks great when doing a promo while being up against the still horrible John Morrison. The Miz looks great tearing down the great-wrestling, horrible-speaking Daniel Bryan Danielson, but when it comes to going one-on-one with The Great One?
Cena tried to hold his own, and I think did an admirable job. But The Rock tore him up limb from limb every other week in traditional Rock fashion; it’s like he didn’t even have to try. And this made Cena look inferior, even with Cena doing it live and the Rock being taped. The Miz was even worse. His first promo where he basically belittled the audience for liking the Rock was damn near appalling. Not only was he making himself look bad, but making the Rock, and in some instances Cena, look that much better.
The fans could see it too, and I think John Cena and Mike Mizanin knew it as well. They needed to step their game up to levels they’ve never been at to be at The Rock’s level. Problem is, they never got there, and probably never will. A man who had not stepped foot in a ring in years just made two of the top stars in the whole WWE look like complete idiots both in and out of character. It led me to ask myself; how is this remotely good for me as a fan of the business? It isn’t.
The Rock can say he is back all he wants, but we all know it isn’t full time. At the most he might make an appearance once a month. Yet here we are, already anticipating his next appearance, which will be at Raw in Miami this Monday night. He is basically holding the entire company in the palms of his hands. Hell, they set his next match up A YEAR IN ADVANCE! What does this say about the rest of the roster? This one guy, however electrifying he may be, is more important than the rest of the entire roster of superstars. Yet he is a part time player at best, and someone who has nothing left to achieve in the world of wrestling.
From his part time playing, it basically puts John Cena in a holding pattern above Miami, waiting to land for Wrestlemania 28. As long as the Rock is around every once in a while, Cena will be involved, which in return keeps him somewhat out of the main title picture (unless they actually make Rock/Cena for the title, which would make things even worse). This bumps everyone from the Raw roster down one peg to accommodate The Rock. In a time when most of the attitude era vets are gone, and a desperate need of young guys to emerge as new top dogs…everything hinges on a part timer.
While we feast our eyes on The Rock, guys like Tyson Kidd, Evan Bourne, Sheamus, Daniel Bryan Danielson, John Morrison, the former #1 contender Zack Ryder, and the newly heel K-Kwik..err..R-Truth are getting pushed to the side with the raise of a people’s eyebrow.
This is all a two-sided problem. Of all the guys I just mentioned, does any of them strike you as guys who can cut a promo against the Rock? Hell, even against Cena? Truth and Sheamus have adequate skills, but adequate is not enough when you have someone on the show like The Rock. Ryder? We may never know. If his YouTube entries are any indication, he could have chops. With the Rock being back, it not only forces everyone down a peg, but makes everyone pale in comparison. It’s like the whole roster is attempting to walk around with bullet holes in both feet.
I honestly only see a couple of real solutions to this problem.
First, the best solution for everyone, is to slowly start reintroducing managers into the WWE, and pairing them with these guys who are fantastic performers, but lack promo abilities. Back in the day, managers were the go-to way to give a wrestler who lacked mic skills, or something in the charisma department, a bit of a boost. This would pair them with someone who could talk or in the case of many heels, garner some heat as well as help their wrestler(s) get cheap wins. We can already see what a good manager can do with current talent like how Vickie Guerrero has been utilized over the past couple years, and currently with Ziggler. Sir Michael Cole could be an epic heel manager as well. Managers can wrestle as well. Just let them be the vocal cords to the other Superstars that don’t have that part of their character dialed in yet.
The second is the easier of the two solutions. Let the Rock go. Let the man be. He’s got an actual big-time movie career. He doesn’t need the WWE. Could the WWE use him? Of course. The guy brings in fans and money. However the success of the business relies on building from within. If you keep bringing in past names…well, you turn into WCW or TNA…and no one wants to be them.
Rock, you electrify like no other, and we all love you.
If you love something, set it free. Give it the chance to grow and mature so that it can sustain itself in the future.
Please set the WWE free.