My Two Centsss - What If...The Rock Can't Compete At Wrestlemania 29?
By Super Chrisss
Feb 6, 2013 - 4:50:46 PM
Writer's Note: Don't get your eyes checked. I know it's been a while, but I am proud to bring back the not-so-award-winning column series, What If...?. I still have dozens of reader-submitted, unexplored topics to answer, but I thought I would address one of my own questions today. Any objections? Good. Then let's get started.
Like it or not, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is the reigning WWE Champion. As we all know, Rock made good on his promise back at RAW 1000 to capture the title at last month's Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View. His match with CM Punk unfortunately failed to live up to the hype (thanks to that awful restart, which forced fans to think back to the main-event of Wrestlemania 27), but you have to give both men props for making you want to buy the Rumble just to see their title match. For the first time in a long, long time, the WWE Championship bout overshadowed the 30-Man Rumble match in terms of excitement and intrigue, all because WWE painted the perfect bad guy vs. superhero story. The only other WWE title match that came close to eclipsing the Rumble from an anticipation standpoint was Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton back in 2008. However, neither Orton or Hardy were at their prime, and like Rock vs. Punk, their match left a lot to be desired.
But what's done is done. It may not have been the best finish, or the one I was hoping for, but The Rock now has his eyes set on defending his newly won title against CM Punk at next Sunday's Elimination Chamber PPV. That much we know for sure. We also know John Cena will face the winner of that match for the WWE Championship in the main-event of Wrestlemania 29. This has led a large portion of the IWC - myself included - to shudder and even vomit at the thought of Rock/Cena II taking place on April 7th. Many people believe the best thing we can hope for is CM Punk to miraculously regain the title next Sunday or find a way to make Wrestlemania 29's WWE Championship match a triple threat. But unlike last year, this year's Wrestlemania main-event is not set in stone. Hell, it hasn't even been announced yet. So here's a thought.
What if...The Rock can't compete at Wrestlemania?
Without a doubt, Dwayne Johnson is the hardest working man in all of entertainment. Not only is he the WWE Champion, but he's constantly working out in the gym, filming movies, promoting them, granting Make-A-Wish requests, and making several WWE appearances a week. That right there is a lot of dedication, and even more travel. It's amazing The Rock can even fit WWE into his hectic schedule, let alone be it's champion and wrestle once a month. But you have to remember - The Rock is only human. How far can he push himself before his body can't take it anymore?
Injuries happen - that's a fact. A WWE superstar could just as easily pull a hamstring while training in the gym as he can break a foot while running the ropes inside the ring. Many people noticed that during his match with Punk at the Royal Rumble, Rock had a hard time keeping up. He was winded several times, and not as crisp as you would expect him to be. The same thing occurred during his match with Cena at Wrestlemania 28, as Rock lacked the cardiovascular endurance to go thirty minutes in the ring without stopping. What if his match with Punk at Elimination Chamber proves to be no different, with Rock being worn out and injuring himself? What if Rock wakes up at 5am on February 18th to train as he does every morning but his body gives out and he ends up hurting himself? There is always a chance an accident could happen, and WWE would be without the People's - and the WWE - Champion come Wrestlemania 29.
In that case, then what? To the immense relief of most of the IWC, Rock vs. Cena certainly won't happen this year. Neither will Rock vs. Brock Lesnar, a match I would like to see on April 7th. Even the people who hang onto the hope of seeing Rock vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29 won't be able to see it happen. This year's Mania card seems focused almost exclusively around The Rock, and for him to be unable to wrestle or even show up at the event would be devastating for WWE officials. They would have to redo the entire card weeks before the big show.
Should Rock go down anytime before Wrestlemania, you can pretty much guarantee the title will be hot-shotted back to CM Punk. With Cena guaranteed a WWE title match thanks to his Royal Rumble win, Cena vs. Punk would be the biggest main-event with Rock out of the picture. Actually, maybe that's not entirely true. Cena vs. Undertaker - Title vs. Streak - could be an even bigger, more compelling match than Punk vs. Cena. But how the hell do you get the belt on 'Taker weeks before Wrestlemania, and knowing that 'Taker might not be healthy enough to wrestle even one match this year. Therefore, Punk vs. Cena would be the back-up main-event.
If Undertaker is willing to work Wrestlemania, he needs a worthy opponent. Punk could have been that guy, but if Rock is out, then Punk is needed in the title picture. Triple H will almost definitely have a "dream" rematch with Brock Lesnar (please note the sarcasm), and it's just as well. I want to see 'Taker vs. HHH III/IV even less than I want to see another HHH/Lesnar match. I know a lot of people would love to see Dolph Ziggler get a crack at ending the Streak, but who would honestly believe Ziggler had a shot of defeating Undertaker at Wrestlemania? Sorry, Ziggy.
Undertaker's Wrestlemania opponent has to be a safe, reliable worker, and someone who can convince the fans he can get the job done. In my mind, that would have to be Chris Jericho. Much like Punk vs. Taker from 2009, Jericho vs. Taker is a feud - and match - that hasn't been properly done before, but could deliver if given a legitimate shot. Jericho is one of the greatest promo men of all-time, and he could carry the feud all by himself, regardless how many RAWs and SmackDowns The Deadman shows up to. In the ring, Jericho's accolades speak for themselves, and if 'Taker can go, they could easily put on one of the best matches in Wrestlemania history on April 7th. Jericho could present the greatest threat to the Streak since Shawn Michaels back in 2010.
So, would a card consisting of Punk vs. Cena, Jericho vs. Taker, and Lesnar vs. HHH still sell, even without The Rock? Sure it could, but I'm going to throw in one more major match - Randy Orton vs. Ryback. This might sound like it came from left-field, but think about it. Ryback is one of the most over faces on the entire roster. Orton, although clearly no longer the number two guy in the company, still gets massive pops and is one of the WWE's top guys. I say turn Orton heel at the Chamber and let him go on a rampage, RKOing one wrestler after another. Have Ryback, having settled his business with The Shield at Elimination Chamber, step up to stop Psycho Orton and we get a first-time ever, big match at Wrestlemania. Ryback has been improving in the ring, and you can guarantee Orton will carry him to an above-average match. I wouldn't mind seeing it.
Factor in the rest of the Wrestlemania card - a world title match, possibly a Money in the Bank ladder match, maybe a six-man tag match with The Shield vs. three faces, and you have a must-see Pay-Per-View. All without The Rock.
I've heard many people say that WWE needs The Rock; Rock doesn't need WWE. I don't know if Rock needs Wrestlemania 29, but Wrestlemania 29 certainly doesn't need The Rock.
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