Tuesday, March 29, 2011

John Cena/The Rock Feud: Real, Fake or Something Inbetween

With Wrestlemania XXVII fast approaching one of the biggest storylines going into it is the feud between WWE superstar John Cena and Wrestlemania host The Rock.  People have begun to wonder if this is more then just a storyline feud between the two as it seems to have gotten personal over the past several weeks.  While I have no doubt that there is probably some legitimate beef between the two, I believe this is more then likely just a clever marketing ploy by Vince McMahon  and the WWE to try and beef up the buy rates for the upcoming pay-per-view.  One thing is clear this storyline has stirred some excitement for the product.

The Rock is arguably one of the biggest stars of the WWE's Attitude Era second only to Stone Cold.  But roughly about 7 years ago the Rock decided to retire from the ring to concentrate on his blossoming acting career.  In the meantime John Cena emerged in the WWE and became one its biggest stars.  Cena sells more merchandise then any other wrestler in the company currently.  Cena is clearly the current moneymaker for the company..

Upon the Rock's triumphant return on Raw he was announced as the guest host of the upcoming Wrestlemania.  The crowd erupted with cheers and the Rock poked fun at the expense of John Cena because of some alleged comments that Cena had made about the Rock.  Over the following weeks the two traded insults back and forth between raps and via satellite recordings.

This past week in Chicago though the Rock and Cena finally came face to face.  After a brief interruption by the Miz, Cena laid the Rock out with an Attitude Adjustment.  While the anticipation is high for what will happen this coming Sunday on Pay-Per-View, we are left to wonder where does this angle go from here?  and is there any truth to the words being exchanged between the two?

Where the angle goes from here can only be speculation, its certain that there will be some kind of confrontation and retaliation by the Rock at Wrestlemania.  The smart money says one of two things will happen, either the Rock runs in during the match and costs Cena the Championship or Cena somehow wins, perhaps with an assistance by the Rock, then after the match while Cena celebrates the Rock lays him out with a Rock Bottom.  What is certain is that this is a money making opportunity for the WWE and they would be foolish to let it fizzle out and go no where.

So is the beef real or not?  To start with Cena has been very vocal about the Rock in various interviews over the past several years.  Back in '08 Cena made some comments about how he felt that the Rock really hadn't gave anything back to the WWE and the industry that made him famous in the first place.  He questioned rather or not the Rock really cared about his WWE fans.

Last year during a sit down interview for Wrestlemania John Cena had these comments to make:

I don’t want to say that you misread it; I may have been misquoted. What I actually said, and I’ll stand true to it to this day, I don’t even care, is that here’s a guy who, when he was with the WWE, pounded his chest that he really loved the WWE, and that wasn’t the truth. The truth is that Dwayne Johnson is a great actor and I think always wanted to be an actor, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s like an athlete saying, “Hey, I don’t do drugs,” and then getting busted for drugs. It’s not the truth. I mean here’s a guy who said he was WWE through and through, and then the first chance to take a road to a different career path, he took it. There’s nothing wrong with that. Dwayne’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s one of the hardest workers you’ll ever meet, and he certainly is a great actor. The roadblock that I have, because I certainly am in love with this business and I don’t see myself leaving it any time, is when someone says that and then leaves, it cheapens our business. If he’s going to say that, then back your word. That’s the only beef that I have and that’s what I told the people at The U.K. Sun. It just cheapens that phrase: “Oh, I love this business.” So then next time I come up and say I love this business, well, the guy before me who said that left. That doesn’t look good for me or our business. 

Over the past several years Cena has made several other comments or hints at the Rock and has been vocal about wanting to wrestle the Rock in the past.

“It’s tough for me to say this and then have people believe it just because of the people who’ve come before me, but I’m not going to leave the ring anytime soon. I’ve done two features now. I haven’t sacrificed one bit of commitment to the WWE. I can do two things at once and it’s two jobs that I enjoy. I love making movies and I love my time in the ring. I wouldn’t want to give either one of them up.”

"What I kind of get peeved about, and this is my Achilles heel, is that I've wanted to do this my whole life. Rock falls into that category. At one point he loved wrestling and wanted to do this all his life. So explain to me why he can't come back for Raw's 15th anniversary show or why he can't make an appearance at WrestleMania

The Rock has responded back with a few statements through the media as well over the years and at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony a few years back.

"John's perspective is very interesting to me. It's borderline laughable.But can I just say that I wish him the best of luck with his movie career and everything else he does." 

"I Don't understand some of the recent comments being made about me in the media.  I do know that recently there was some controversy concerning the WWE and one of its star.  It appears that it was found that the army was torturing some Iraqi soldiers by tying Iraqi soldiers down and making them watch DVD copies of The Marine."

"John Cena said a variety of things that came across my desk which at first I thought was interesting and then I felt was laughable because the comments really didn’t make any sense to me. To be clear, not that they ever make me mad. I just thought the comments were an interesting choice of things to say. ”
I can openly agree as a wrestling fan that it sucks that he has not come back to the business in so long.  But the fact is I do not believe the Rock has to come back.  He was a huge star that has moved on.  Times change and stars change.  People do not openly question why some past stars like Brock Lesnar or Goldberg do not return the ring after having success elsewhere.  The fact remains that the Rock had a great run in the WWE, but he is no longer the star of the company.  That role has moved on to John Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk, and the rest of the new generation of superstars.  Times change and people's interests and likes evolve and change with it.

I have often been left with the impression that the WWE has been hoping to get the Rock in the WWE for years now and some of the comments made by Cena were a way of planting seeds for a potential feud and perhaps trying to entice the Rock to come back.  Its possible as well that some of the comments might have been made out of jealousy.  While I don't think Cena would ever admit it, I am sure that it does eat away at him that he is one of the largest stars in the company today and is still heavily booed by older fans.  Cena's main fan base is the younger kids and women.  The older fans, generally those over the age of 14, seem to boo Cena and despise him.  Part of this is the WWE's focus on being a PG product now and Cena being the face of it.  Another thing that I am sure is in the back of Cena's head is how while he has attempted to make movies, they have all pretty much bombed and the fans continue to despise him.  Meanwhile the Rock has left the WWE, become a huge action star, and is still heavily respected and liked by the wrestling fan base.

Whatever happens though, I look forward to their eventual showdown in the ring.  Rather it be early this year or at Summer Slam as the rumors insist, this feud is sure to deliver some memorable moments and keep the fans entertained until the end.

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