Why The The Rock vs. Cena Match Is Underperforming, Pt.1
by, 03-29-2012 at 04:37 AM (7029 Views)
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.
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