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JohnnyV123

Why The The Rock vs. Cena Match Is Underperforming, Pt.1

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Lately a lot of blogs have been put up trying to explain why The Rock vs. John Cena match at Wrestlemania lacks that spark that it should have. Some have argued that it's because it has not included anything real to give it depth like the CM Punk alcoholic father storyline or that the two have not had any physical confrontations or even that The Rock isn't trying. While I think those things might be a part of it the real missing piece is the characters are missing.

Do you remember why The Rock and Cena were enjoyable in the first place?? No, it wasn't when Rock debuted as Rocky Maivia smiling all the time with that crazy hair and goofy ring gear. It was when he became a no nonsense villain in the Nation of Domination turning his back on the fans who chanted that he sucks then furthered in the Corporation where he called himself the People's Champ with Vince. For Cena, it wasn't when he was The Prototype before he hit WWE or when he first debuted as just some random wrestler fighting Kurt Angle. It was when he became a rapper and cut some of the more entertaining promos of the time having rap battles with other WWE wrestlers.

All that has been thrown out the window. John Cena's character eventually became Super Cena! who would get the absolute crap beaten out of him for the majority of the match and then somehow do his moves of death and win. The Rock of course tried to drop The Rock from his name of Dwayne Johnson so he could be taken seriously as an actor (some take that as a slant against wrestling but can you blame him for wanting to be known as himself in a non wrestling profession?)

Now they are facing each other at Wrestlemania. WWE is trying to hype this as the greatest match of all time but it isn't working. Why not? Because we aren't seeing the build up to the characters The Rock and John Cena. We are seeing Dwayne Johnson and John Cena as themselves making fun of each other in their promos. Everyone knows about the real tension they have with each other but it isn't creating a good thing on television. It's making them try to one up each other by embarrassing the other and making jokes rather than building kayfabe tension that we as the fans get to see. Rock shouldn't have been smiling at all and Cena shouldn't just be laughing it off when Rock makes fun of him.

The rest of the Wrestlemania card doesn't hold up much better. How many guys on the card are just getting by being tough guys or on wrestling ability alone. Sheamus? Tough guy. The Great Khali? Tough guy. Kofi Kingston? Good wrestler. Randy Orton? Tough guy. Big Show? Tough guy. Chris Jericho? Good wrestler. It's shocking how many of them have no character really with notable exceptions like Santino Marella, CM Punk, and Undertaker but even CM Punk's truth speaking straight edge stuff seems to be toned down and I can't remember the last time Undertaker really acted like The Deadman.

The dream match people want to see for Wrestlemania is John Cena vs. The Rock in the way we loved them best. Both were very over with fans and would be taking this match seriously so it plays out on TV. We got that with Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock which became one of the greatest matches in Wrestlemania history mostly off of crowd reaction based partly on respect for their legendary careers but also the characters they kept while building towards the match. We are getting a watered down version in The Rock vs. John Cena match because WWE forgot the importance of characters.

To be continued in a related part 2 where I talk about how characters are the reason the PG era is so bland for so many of us compared to the Atittude era.

Thanks for the read make sure to comment below!

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Updated 03-29-2012 at 08:56 AM by Rated_R(ob)KO

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  1. deadly56's Avatar
    If John Cena, and The Rock just played seriously all the time in their promo, and leave out all the jokes. I think they would become boring for most people, and go stale. I think people actually like when John talks about Rock's written notes, and how Rock insults John by calling him names such as: Fruity pebble, ugly boy, and a wanna be Hogan. OK maybe, I made up the last two, but anyway where was I........oh yeah they shouldn't be serious all the time. I will admit sometimes they do need to act serious like this past Raw since it's the last one before Wrestlemania, but they had a whole year to do promos so obviously they will try different ways to attack each other, and entertain us.
  2. justinjackson1983's Avatar
    Hello dude, Very Interesting read however I hope part two covers more reasons why it is underperforming other than the classic and original "Rock is holding back for Cena" theory. My argument being here I would like any fan of wwe to recall any other feud in history between two wwe superstars that has gained as much mainstream attention and lasted a whole year whilst maintaining interest to the casual fan base (obviously not every fan because in today’s fickle age that would be impossible)

    As for
    do you remember why the rock and cena was enjoyable in the first place??
    judging by this I sure am glad you do not run a wrestling company sir, because as time goes on characters have to evolve, point being made the rock (especially in 1998/1999 he sure was funny to start with but also was very one dimensional and if he didn’t evolve sooner or later he would of got stale) as you see now he is so much more rounded to be able to handle this main event. As far as cena goes I can’t see how you could promote a Hip hop white boy gimmick in 2012 being anywhere credible enough to go against the rock.Thats a mid card gimmick in one of the biggest matches in history it wouldn't work ever Thankfully cena has evolved also which is why Vince McMahons pockets are lined up.

    However I Really do respect your opinions even If I do not agree
    looking forward to Part 2
  3. steezin4areezin's Avatar
    Absolute great point made regarding both the Rock and Cena not stayig "in character" during this build up. I always believed what made a great match was the build, coupled with both characters playing their roles. That is what wrestling is: a show. But what we've bee getting is too "real." I don't like so much "real" injected into my wrestling storyline. I want characters playing characters, or at the very least exaggerations of their own personalities. Too bad Vince is more concerned about expanding his "entertainment" industry, and less about his actual wrestling product
  4. ParagonOfVirtue's Avatar
    While I agree with most of this blog, saying Orton and Jericho have no character is way off. Sure, Randy's pretty bland now, and uber predictable in the ring, but he's had many classic moments. Basically it all went downhill when he became "The Viper". And if you have to have Jericho explained to you then you're exactly the kind of person that he trolls on a regular basis.
  5. Charles-Ian Duncan's Avatar
    Well I believe it is under-performing a bit but still enjoyable The only thing I'll say for now is This match and the hype for it would be better If This was "Attitude Era Rock" -with hair Vs. "The Doctor of Thuganomics Cena"!
  6. JohnnyV123's Avatar
    justinjackson...I am not saying that you should never evolve a character but if you are trying to appeal to the audiences that made The Rock and Cena stars you should do your best to remind them why that was especially with The Rock.

    Hogan vs. The Rock wouldn't have worked nearly as well if we were having Mr. America fight against Rocky Maivia. That's all I'm saying.
  7. JohnnyV123's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ParagonOfVirtue
    While I agree with most of this blog, saying Orton and Jericho have no character is way off. Sure, Randy's pretty bland now, and uber predictable in the ring, but he's had many classic moments. Basically it all went downhill when he became "The Viper". And if you have to have Jericho explained to you then you're exactly the kind of person that he trolls on a regular basis.
    I'm getting into this a bit more in the next blog but The Viper thing was really cool when Orton started because he was kayfabe injuring people and the punt to head thing but when he's not doing that now isn't that just another name for a tough guy like take Triple H with The Game or King of Kings. It didn't change what he was doing at all in his character just a cool title which doesn't really do much (I say this even though I was a huge Triple H fan).
    Updated 03-30-2012 at 02:44 AM by JohnnyV123
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