Suspension of Disbelief: Introducing Dwayne Johnson! (The Rock, John Cena)
Before I get started…
I’d love to say that I had a bunch of stuff that kept me away from writing, but this time, that’s not true. The fact is, with C.M. Punk turning into The Guy That’s So Cool He Can Bury Anyone To The Point Of Total Annihilation, the ridiculous Kane/Cena feud, Eve Torres: Hoeski (borne out of one of the most offensive happenings I’ve ever seen, Trish Stratus-As-Dog notwithstanding), and my complete and total apathy towards TNA (I think I’m bitter about the demise of Fourtune, to be honest), I was firmly in “If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Don’t Say Anything At All” territory.
But then 2/20 happened.
And then this past Monday happened.
And here we are.
Suspension Of Disbelief Begins… Now!
I guess the best way to start is by saying that I am an unabashed fan, supporter, and believer in and of The Rock. His tweets come to my phone, I’ve seen all of his movies, I read his book, I’m ordering his new “Boots 2 Asses” t-shirt the nanosecond funds become available (to go along with the “I Bring It” shirt and the old “Boots To Asses” t-shirt I already have), and I still hashtag #BootsToAsses and #TeamBringIt whenever I go to the gym. I am a fan of The Rock, true blue, through and through, whether he’s back every night or whether he won’t be back for another 7 years after April 1st’s WrestleMania XXVIII. The thing is though…
The Rock wasn’t on Raw this past Monday night, not until the very end. You see, this past Monday night, we were hearing from Dwayne.
I watched the promo Monday night, heard John Cena’s interruption, saw The Rock get flustered, and then I went on Facebook and Twitter and I espoused my hatred for Mr. Cena. The next morning I ranted some more and then rewatched the promo and I was fascinated by my discovery that, except for after Cena left the ring, we didn’t see The Rock at all.
Dwayne came out to the ring. Dwayne talked about his thoughts on the business, the people, his motivations–and if you think I didn’t get choked up and misty-eyed when he said, “I fight for them… For the people,” then you don’t know me at all.
Dwayne spoke to the crowd and the absolutely wonderful Portland audience was receptive and understanding of what he said. They got it. They understood. They were just happy to see The Rock. Happy to see a guy they loved who they probably gave up on thinking they’d see again. They were happy to “Sing along with The Rock.” They were happy to chant things like, “Kung Pao Bitch!” They got to stand with 15,000 people and yell, “LA-DY PARTS!” at the top of their lungs.
In short, they had fun.
Then John Cena came out. He danced into the ring and he pulled out his donger and proceeded to piss all over the fourth wall. It’s funny, for the longest time it was, “Well, The Rock is never here and that made me mad cuz I’m here!” Now though it’s, “Well, okay, so you’re here right now… but I don’t like you, Dwayne! You’re a Hollywood phony who doesn’t care about THIS COMPANY!”
In the words of The Immortal Jules Winfield: “Allow me to retort!”
John, The Rock cares about the WWE. The Rock cares more about the WWE than you do. The Rock has more respect for the WWE Universe than you do. When the fans started to boo him, he ran with it. When they cheered him, he ran with it. When they got mad that he left, he came back… and ran with it. He let the audience–the people who bought the t-shirts and the tickets, the people with the signs and the support–decide the way he went. He didn’t just point at his “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect” or “Never Give Up” t-shirt and say, to our frustration, that he will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever touch Teddy’s car, er, change.
(if you get the reference, tweet me over at @ElKatook)
You point to your t-shirt and you say you’ll never change and that is frustrating and annoying because no one likes to watch the same show over and over again. The WWE has become a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book where every single choice, every single option, every single page eventually leads to one final sentence:
“…and then John Cena wins.”
But, you know, you’re there every week to patronize us, so I guess that counts for something, right?
…but I digress.
Cena went off on Dwayne Johnson, and whether it was “real” or it was part of the show, Dwayne was flustered. You could tell the accusations of indifference really got to him. Dwayne was so hurt in fact, that he had to become The Rock. That’s when you got the catchphrases. That’s when you got the anger. That’s when you got THE MOST electrifying man in ALLLLLL of entertainment. As he always does when Dwayne has his decisions and motivations questioned, The Rock came back ready to fight.
And the thing is… I believe Dwayne when he says he fights for the people. No, he’s not chasing down bullies like Falcor in the third reel of “The Neverending Story” (whoa-oo-whoa, whoa-oo-whoa). He’s fighting for the entertainment of The People.He doesn’t need the money. He doesn’t need the fame. “Fast Five” would’ve done $150 million because the franchise is ridiculously popular across all demographics, Dwayne’s participation is just icing. A franchise like, “G.I. Joe” would’ve churned out a sequel anyway and would still be coming out this summer if The Rock decided to film, “The Rundown II: Rundown Harder.” So the idea that he had to come back SOLELY (
So, while I think the movies tie into it, I don’t think it carries more than 50% of the reasons for him to comeback. Hell, in the height of Cheese’n’Rice TV-PG WWE, it would’ve been a WAYYYYY better move for him to come back and wrestle to promote “The Game Plan” or “Race To Witch Mountain” or “The Tooth Fairy.” The WWE live event audience was packed to the gill(berg)s with tiny fans eager to see Rey Mysterio or John Cena. That’s the same family audience targeted by the movies I named earlier in the paragraph.
The other thing to consider is the hypocrisy of Cena admonishing The Rock for leaving the WWE and making movies when the others from The Rock’s generation also left around the same time, only making sporadic appearances: Mick Foley (TNA), Stone Cold Steve Austin (a billion skraight-to-DVD movies), Triple H (knocking up Stephanie), The Undertaker (possibly held together by duct tape and good intentions at this point).
And there’s that.
What offended me the most as a person who still looks to pop culture for motivation, inspiration, and heroes, is the attempt by Cena to paint Dwayne as someone who is using the people who he has clearly been trying to curry favor with since the moment he made his pineapple-head’d debut at Survivor Series 1996. It offended me because it reeks of Cena’s jealousy, of his anger and hatred (shhh, don’t tell Kane I said that) and bitterness that his omnipresence and NeverGiveUppingness isn’t appreciated more.
The last point I’ll make is in reference to other writers on this site and others that have implied that The Rock has lost a step, that he’s mailing it in, that’s he has overstayed his welcome:
I disagree with your opinion, while at the same time respecting it.
I know that me and millions (…and millions–sorry, I had to) of people are still as enthralled and enraptured with The Rock as they’ve ever been. I know the 2 hours leading up to “IF YA SMELLLLLLL…” were spent in giddy anticipation this past Monday night. I know casual fans who are excited about the next few weeks. I know it can only be good for The Rock to come back and let some of his super-bright spotlight shine on the entirety of the wrestling business. Heck, my love for Hulk Hogan lead to my love for WWF, and that led to a desire to see more wrestling, and that led to my discovery of WCW, and that made me want to learn even more, and that led me to Pro Wrestling Illustrated and the Apter mags.
It made me a lifelong fan of THIS BUSINESS, and who knows? Maybe The Rock’s appearances leading up to WrestleMania XXVIII will inspire other people to become even more interested in this wonderful world of Professional Wrestling all of us love, or should love, anyway.
So, to reiterate, I’m a fan of The Rock. I’m a fan of what he does, and I believe what he says. I hope he wins on April 1st. I hope The Rock’s hand is raised in victory on his home turf. I hope The Rock emerges triumphant proves that he can still Bring It.
Most of all though?
I hope The Rock can come to the rescue of Dwayne one more time.
This has been Suspension of Disbelief.
Rey Mundo writes pretty much when he wants to, and is grateful for being allowed this voice. Also, he thinks Kelly Floyd should make out with him at a party… unless her boyfriend can whoop his ass, at which point he was totally kidding.
Tags: dwayne johnson, john cena, The Rock, WrestleMania XXVIII, WWE