Man, can the Rock cut an epic promo or what? Seeing him come down that ramp again, appearing live on Monday Night Raw, and hearing all those catchphrases again, it was as if for one brief second I was a kid in school again, being amazed by the most Electrifying Man in all of Sports Entertainment. And then he actually cut a promo, a promo that ripped apart John Cena and riled up the crowd. It was the kind of promo that only comes along once every couple of years if we’re lucky, and I loved every minute of it. Because above all, what it meant was that the Rock was going to be at WrestleMania, and because of that it just might end up being the greatest WrestleMania of them all.
There’s only one problem. The promo that I’m talking about happened almost a year ago. The WrestleMania I was excited for ended up being the lackluster WrestleMania 27, and now here we are getting ready for WrestleMania 28 and I can’t quite bring myself to get excited the way I was one year ago.
Now I don’t want to take too much time tearing apart the Rock’s promo from last week (though I didn’t care for it) because the internet has pretty thoroughly picked it apart for the past week. I will say that the whole segment ended up making Cena look a lot better than the Rock, though rumours suggest that this is an attempt to get a 50/50 crowd split for the match at WrestleMania. But the problem is that after Raw was over, as I sat watching the first few minutes of White Collar that I was too lazy to turn off, I realized I couldn’t muster up the energy to care. A year ago I was calling everybody I knew who ever cared slightly about WWE (and some that didn’t) to let them know that the Rock was back and he’s going after Cena! Now, I can barely muster a “Guess we’ll see more of this next week.” The year-long build to this match has really backfired.
But the thing is, it really shouldn’t have. This is the type of match that I would talk with my friends about in grade school. Granted not this exact match because we had no idea who John Cena was at the time, but you know the kind of match I’m talking about. Matches we would love to see but knew that there was no way that they would ever happen. And we had one such match about to happen in The Rock vs John Cena. I was excited enough just knowing that it was actually going to happen. I could wait the year. Who needed to watch the match straight away when you had a year’s worth of promos and insults from the Rock ahead of you? With two fantastic promo guys tearing each other apart on mic for an entire year, we would be positively giddy by the time they actually go in the ring together.
But none of that happened. After a while all the hype that was being built up seemed to kind of fade away. Usually when the match was mentioned it was one of the commentators reminding us to be excited because the biggest match of all time was only eight months away. If I was very lucky and happened to be looking at Twitter at the exact right time I might have gotten to see The Rock mention Cena before his tweet got buried by everyone else I follow (what a great time to plug my own twitter feed here) but I was far more likely to just get a random inspirational quote from him. Cena was better about reminding us about his WrestleMania match, but it’s hard to have a good promo war when only half of the players show up to talk. And with minimal interaction between the two of them for the year, it got harder and harder to really care. Their reasons for hating each other, which seemed valid a year ago have lost their appeal. “Cena is the death of the attitude era and the death of the wrestling that you loved.” Has turned into “guys, Cena wears silly shirts, like all the time.” Cena doesn’t have any better material though, and instead falls back on pointing out that the Rock’s not present every time he brings it up.
There’s still time to turn this around, and I feel sure that will happen. Now that we’re close enough to WrestleMania for the Rock to start appearing more than once every other month, and that Cena will stop being distracted by Kane or Del Rio, we’ll get the buildup that this match should have had from the start. And I’m sure I’ll be excited to see that match when it’s actually time for it. I’ll be invested, and care who wins. I’ll feel like a kid for a quick second when the Rock’s music hits, even though I’ll be cheering just as hard for Cena. But what’s going to help get us to that moment will be what happens over the next month, not what happened over the past eleven.
Unrelated thought: I’d like to turn your attention to SmackDown for a moment, where this week what we were all fearing (or at least I was) was confirmed: Cody Rhodes will indeed be facing Big Show at WrestleMania. There are so many elements of this match that I disapprove of, it’s difficult for me to pick a place to begin, but I will start with Big Show. While I enjoy happy, fun loving Big Show who comes out smiles at the crowd and usually does a harmless comedy spot when there’s a celebrity guest, I can never get invested in a story that involves “Serious Big Show.” The fact that Show has such a bad WrestleMania record is because he keeps being in the WrestleMania celebrity match, where he should be. So putting him in a title match that I assume he’s going to win is not what I want to see. Speaking of the title, I fear that once off Rhodes, who has done as much for the title as it has done for him, the Intercontinental Championship will fade back into obscurity, only brought out when we need to fill a PPV card. And what ever happened to the Brother vs. Brother match Cody Rhodes was going to have with Goldust? That was the match I wanted to see, and we even got a few weeks where that storyline was teased with Goldust coming out to talk to Cody. What happened to that? Did those crowds not cheer enough for Vince? Did nobody recognize him without his makeup? Now instead of a match with an interesting story and build-up that I can get invested in and care about, once again the Intercontinental Championship is going to be defended in a match that feels like a “Got to fill up the Card” match.
Tags: big show, Cody Rhodes, Intercontinental Championship, john cena, Raw, Smackdown, The Rock, wrestlemania, WWE