Miami Heat


Wrestlemania is almost impossible to put into words. There is so much to take in. The spectacle, the matches, the crowd, the atmosphere. Ultimately, it is WWE hitting the reset button and initiating a new year of programming.

Wrestlemania 27 was not nearly as good as it was made out to be. There were a lot of fans feeling let down after last years event. It all felt so half-assed, thrown together and poorly executed minus the Triple H vs Undertaker Match.

Wrestlemania 28 was a thousand percent better.

This isn’t to say that Wrestlemania 28 didn’t have its down times. Many people are upset about Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. Despite my sincerest efforts, I simply cannot muster up and explanation. Hopefully, desperately hopefully, WWE has something in mind and this wasn’t just Vince McMahon giving a giant middle finger to the IWC.

However, I would say, Wrestlemania 28 had greater peaks than it had darker valleys. Jericho and Punk definitely put on a show. This match was not the five star classic some had come to expect, but their performance was by no means a letdown. It was entertaining, back and forth and the closing five minutes of reversals and tapout teases was extraordinarily executed. I’d have gone with a different finish, had Punk lose and then have him walk into his hometown of Chicago as the challenger next month.

Triple H, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels reminded us that wrestling can be one hell of thing when it is done correctly. A nearly flawless match that absolutely lived up to whatever hype was drummed up in the past few weeks. That match has a series of moments (Triple H jumping back when Undertaker sat up, Shawn Michaels pleading with both men, the Superkick / Pedigree combination, blood, spit and eats) that should, and will, live on in the legacy of Wrestlemania. What this match did leave us with though, is three important questions: Was this the Undertakers last match? Is Triple H down for good? Was this the last gasp of the attitude era?

There were so many questions, doubts, backstage rumors, on screen bombs and chaotic experiences leading up to John Cena vs the Rock. Did this match payoff? Absolutely. Understandably there are some upset John Cena fans, but as someone who dislikes John Cena (his character, not the Make-A-Wish champion) I think this is the absolute best thing that could happen to him. This will force Cena to go to new places, assuming that he sells this loss and doesn’t come out giggling tonight like he often does after a big loss. If this is handled properly, John Cena could come out of this shinning. Also, no one should associate the Rock winning to the Rock not giving John Cena some amazing shine and Legendary rub.

The Rock proved he could still go. John Cena proved he could hold his own against the greatest superstar of all time. This is absolutely a win win situation that WWE can make into something even more amazing. Remember, folks, there’s always the possibility that this is a best of three series. I certainly hope not, I’d rather this was a one time thing.

Wrestlemania 28 was definitely a great show worth watching and paying attention to. The challenge for WWE coming out of this, which could be a fantastic thing, is to build new stars so that next years roster is full of young talent rather than returning names and old stalwarts. It’s time for a changing of the guard, but don’t be surprised if they wait until Wrestlemania 30 to make the switch. Next year they may want to cash in on that New Jersey, New York attitude with some old names. We know the Rock will be there, speculation points to Brock Lesnar and don’t forget a beer drinking, ass kicking, mudhole stomping guy from Texas with some gas left in the tank who might want to make a last impression.

Wrestlemania 28, as a whole, did what it was supposed to do. It reinvigorated, and for the most part, it paid off what it has been hyping. I rate the event an eight out of a possible ten. The eighteen second world title match kept this away from being a nine. Oh, and did I forget to mention, Good ol’ Jim Ross showed why he is, was , and always will be, the best announcer in the business.

Monday Night Raw has all the potential to be absolutely amazing tonight. Maybe WWE will show us that they don’t just pull out all of the stops for Wrestlemania.

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Wrestlemania 28 Predictions

I thought I’d give a quick rundown of my Wrestlemania 28 predictions:

WWE Title:
Chris Jericho defeats CM Punk

World Heavyweight Title:
Sheamus defeats Daniel Bryan

Intercontinental Title:
Big Show wins via Disqualification

Randy Orton defeats Kane

Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos defeat Beth Phoenix and Eve

12 Man Tag:
Team Johnny defeats Team Teddy

Hell in a Cell:
Undertaker defeats Triple H

Once in a Lifetime:
The Rock defeats John Cena (Possible outside interference.) 

Wrestlemania Questions

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In 9 days, all of our questions will be answered. In 9 days, the big names will clash and the face of the WWE will be changed. In 9 days, Wrestlemania 28 will come and deliver or fall short of expectation. No matter how you slice it, we are 9 days away from what is being pushed as the biggest Wrestlemania of all time (they should have gotten Tony Schiavone to announce that.)

Wrestlemania 28 is almost upon us and there are a few burning questions which are only going to scorch that much hotter in the 9 days leading up the event. There are several matches on this show whose outcomes will define the future of WWE for, at least, the next few months. There is a rumor that next years Main Event will be announced a year in advance, again, so it is probable that this event could lead to another year of build up (or tear down, based on your perspective) of the Rock, or perhaps, another name from the past.

Regardless of where you stand on the feuds heading into the event, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a few of the questions which will, hopefully, be answered.

Does Kane vs Randy Orton do anything to help either of these guys?
Kane is facing Randy Orton in what could best be described as a last minute, thrown together feud all revolving around Kane randomly attacking Orton. It should be obvious that this match is being given to these two to assure them a place on the Wrestlemania card, but not to do much more. I sincerely doubt that the outcome of this match makes any difference whatsoever for either of these men. It seems highly unlikely this could be a sleeper match that steals the show, and even less likely that it will result in a long standing Orton vs Kane feud, which I’m not sure anyone would want to see anyway. You can’t get much lower on the card, short of being in a twelve man tag match. Speaking of which…

Team Teddy vs Team Johnny – Does it Matter?
We all know that Team Teddy will face Team Johnny at Wrestlemania with the winning team winning control of both Monday Night Raw and Smackdown for their respective namesakes. The question lingering here is, who cares? Whether Teddy or Johnny are in charge, it isn’t going to make a bit of difference. They’re going to be the same shows, ultimately. The only difference is whether or not we have to see Johnny introduce himself randomly or Teddy saying “Hold on playa.” The result of this match will change absolutely nothing, aside from who you see as the GM from time to time. Let’s face it, the GM storylines have been played out for years. Johnny has become a pretty big heat magnet, but I could live without having a GM on either show.

Who truly is the best in the world?
Chris Jericho vs CM Punk was originally billed as the Battle of the Best in the World. This has recently taken a backseat to being the battle of the straight edge superstar with a family history of drug an alcohol abuse versus the smug, not sure where he stands, he wasn’t talking, but now he is, Chris Jericho. To both men’s credit, they’ve managed to take a WWE Title match, which should be important but has been almost ignored by WWE, and made it must-see-TV. This angle has been excellently executed, and last weeks attack from Chris Jericho on CM Punk’s sister was nearly flawless. It should also come as no surprise that these two are highly capable of tearing the non-existent roof off of Wrestlemania. One question which lingers is, does CM Punk walk out with the title only to defend it the next month in Chicago, or does he walk into Chicago as the challenger? Either way, I don’t foresee this match letting anyone down.

Does anyone remember Sheamus is facing Daniel Bryan?
You can’t be faulted if you’ve forgotten, WWE hasn’t exactly gone out of their way to make this match seem like something you can’t live without. I hear more about AJ than I hear about Sheamus when Daniel Bryan is on my screen. Regardless of WWE’s severe lack of push for this World Heavyweight Title Match, this could absolutely be that sleeper. Daniel Bryan and Sheamus were the opening dark match last year and you have to believe they want to show WWE and the world exactly how good they can be. Keep your eyes open during this one because it may be the show stealer.

Does Big Show’s embarrassment continue?
Cody Rhodes has made it his business over the past few weeks to go out of his way to show recaps of Big Show’s most embarrassing Wrestlemania moments. From Big Show getting beaten by Floyd Mayweather to hosting a dinner party at the old WWE restaurant in Time Square. This past Monday, Cody handcuffed Big Show to the ropes and delivered several blows which resulted in the announcers pushing that Big Show was officially pissed. There is more than meets the eye on the line in this match. Cody Rhodes has held the Intercontinental Title for quite some time and is giving some credibility back to it. Should he lose, and the belt goes to Show, does this destroy the small build they’ve been giving that belt? If Rhodes should win, where does he go from there and could this be a step toward the main event? This all remains to be seen, and though I have complete confidence in Rhodes abilities, I do question the quality of this match and whether or not it is granted more than seven or eight minutes.

Does Maria Menounos actually qualify a celebrity?
This is highly debatable. What is not debatable is that WWE continues showing just how unimportant they consider their Divas division to be. Imagine the awesome matches we could have gotten in place of this tag team debacle; Beth Phoenix vs Natalya was a match I was truly hoping for. Two tough, gorgeous, badass women going out there and showing what women’s wrestling can actually be. Instead we’ve got Beth working with Eve whose claim to fame is being called a whore, Kelly Kelly whose wrestling skill is somewhere on par with a door mat and Maria Menounos who.. hosts a level C show where they talk about celebrities. Perhaps the burning question here is WHY?!

Does the Undertaker’s streak end?
I’d say there is a good chance the streak stays in tact, but this could be the last harah for the Undertaker. He’s been through a hell of a lot, and aside from wrestling once a year, I can’t see him doing much more after this. WWE have gone out of their way to make it debatable as to whether or not Triple H can end the streak and the involvement of Shawn Michaels is pivotal. The problem is, does anyone truly believe that if there streak were to end it’d be to Triple H? It seems unlikely they’d have HBK screw the Undertaker, and if he screwed Triple H it seems worthless since he has said he will not wrestle again. Is it possible he’d come back for Triple H’s last match? Maybe, but I think it is highly unlikely the Undertaker will lose. One question I have, though, is can these three live up to the hype and deliver a Hell in a Cell match worthy of the grand stage of Wrestlemania? We shall see.

Do the Rock and John Cena make it worth our while?
The hype has been insane. Between personal attacks, cutdowns, verbal assaults, songs, raps and everything in between, we have been told, time and time again, that this is the biggest match in Wrestlemania history. The ratings for Raw argue that fact, hell the ratings seem to show that this match doesn’t mean a great deal. Then again, maybe people have stopped watching because they’ve already decided to buy the show and they don’t want to watch these guys behave like children any further. Suffice it to say, this Monday has the dubious challenge of making this entire years feud come to a head where you can’t live without seeing what happens. What matters, though? The match? Absolutely. These two who have legit heat have to make a match together that will go down in history as amazing. What also matters, though, is what comes after. I’ve been pretty vocal about this, and it remains true today, I have no idea who is going to win this match. If Cena loses, well then he lost to a guy who is a part timer and hasn’t wrestled a singles match in years. If the Rock loses, well, actually, does it really matter to him? Probably not, but it seems likely a Cena victory would ensure Wrestlemania goes off the air to a sea of boos. I somehow doubt this is where they want to go. Ultimately though, will this match and the result make the past year worth the while for those of us who have committed to it? It better. Also, does the rumor come true and do we see the Miz make an appearance?

So many questions linger about Wrestlemania 28 and we’re only 9 days away from having all of the answers we’ve been seeking. Truly though, one of the greatest questions is what happens in 17 days. The Raw a week after the one which follows Mania. No more Rock, Undertaker, HBK. More than likely Triple H will be back behind the scenes. The show will fall back to the default superstars. Do the ratings continue their steady decline, and if so, what is done to correct it? This is a much more precarious time, creatively, for WWE than we have seen in a long time. Ultimately the one question which will remain is: Where do we go from here?

The Rock / Cena Schizophrenia


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Talk about your all-time schizophrenic promo battles. The Rock and Cena angle has been all over the map in recent weeks. Keeping up with what exactly is going on here has led to debate on all sides of the wrestling world about work and shoot, professional and unprofessional, selling and no-selling. All viable arguments, and it’s currently impossible to determine who is right and who is wrong. Ultimately, the answers to all of those questions don’t matter. There are two extremely important elements here, and they are what matters: are Cena and the Rock selling Wrestlemania and will both or either of them have been put into a better position when April 2nd comes around?

Things have gotten a little out of alignment here. This past Monday, John Cena gave his empty arena promo all about how this match at Wrestlemania means everything to him. He explained how he doesn’t just want to win this match, he has to win this match. It means everything to him. Simultaneously, Rock vignettes were airing with him making jokes and tearing down Cena as he always does. Cut to later in the night, John Cena comes out and begins cutting a silly promo while smirking. The Rock comes out, super serious, and cuts a promo of his own while Cena no-sells it and acts like the quintessential goofball that he has been for years.

What the hell happened there? Both guys completely flipped their scripts. Rock went from funny, silly vignettes to being serious in the ring while Cena went from saying his entire career is riding on Wrestlemania to smirking like a seven year old who is trying to annoy the teacher. Meanwhile, a lot of people are trying to figure out if this is all a work, a shoot or a mix. I love a good promo as much as the next guy, but I do have some problems with worked shoots.

Rock has said he will kick Cena’s ass and make him his “bitch.” Cena has said Rock will have to kill him to beat him. That’s all fine and good, but when you start mixing together work and shoot and you start trying to make the fans believe everything you’re saying is real… you severely undercut that when you then say you’re going to win a predetermined wrestling match.

This has always been my problem with worked shoots. You can’t tell me everything is real, but simultaneously try to convince me you’re going to settle it in a wrestling ring. There is a lack of balance there which has always bothered me. Ultimately, sell your match by selling your match rather than trying to sell who has the better punchlines. What does it matter who is funnier or says the more biting comment when no one is going to be holding a microphone in the middle of that match?

Some argument has been made that John Cena has been unprofessional in this feud while the Rock has been attempting to keep things balanced. No matter which side of that argument you fall on, it does have to be acknowledged that one of the biggest gripes anti-Cena fans have had over the years is John Cena’s failure to sell. In this promo battle with the Rock, Cena has sold nothing.

Imagine if Stone Cold Steve Austin cut promos on Vince McMahon and Vince just smirked the entire time. Imagine CM Punk going off on Chris Jericho and Jericho just laughing about it. You certainly submarine the angle when you fail to show that it actually matters or is important. It is ironic, because as John Cena has said this match means everything to him but Rock doesn’t care if WWE closes down, he is simultaneously undercutting the angle and doing damage to the business aspect of it. If you need proof that fans are getting pushed away all you have to do is look at the ratings over the past two weeks which have both involved face to face meetings between Rock and Cena.

Was John Cena pointing out the writing on Rock’s arm unprofessional, or was it planned? How about this past week where Cena smirked and smiled the entire time the Rock was talking and then began interrupting him while he was just finishing his promo? Nobody knows, and nobody will know for a while. Ultimately, none of this is as important as whether or not this program has made you want to see this match more or less.

I am a massive fan of the Rock, and though I dislike John Cena’s character, there have certainly been times where I have enjoyed his work. Right now the only thing that has me interested in this match is… I don’t know who will win. That’s it. The promos, the threats, the jokes, the undercutting has made me less interested. If I didn’t write columns, there’s a chance I’d just tune out until April 1st because everything between these two is beginning to frustrate me. Oh, and what are they doing next week? These two want to kill each other so much that on Monday’s Raw we get to see Rock signing and Cena rapping. To quote the Miz: “Really? Really? Really? Really?” That’s your Wrestlemania 28 build up.. musical battling. Oh boy.

On April 9th, the Rock will be gone. He will be filming movies until he comes back for the build up to Wrestlemania 29 (in whatever capacity he is participating.) On April 9th, will John Cena be in a position where he can ride the wave of excitement, bring PPV buyrates up and increase ratings or will we be back to the John Cena that the fans boo and the guy who makes silly “poopy” jokes, acts like Superman and continues to pummel his goodie two shoes personality into our brains? If John Cena doesn’t come out of this Wrestlemania either glowing and with a rejuvenated fanbase, or edgier and angrier, than this Wrestlemania could go down in history as the year WWE went to the mat for Cena and it didn’t work.

Regardless, if John Cena goes back to being the way he was and interest continues to flag while the Rock is out there signing on to do more and more movies, Rock’s words will prove prophetic and Wrestlemania 28 will be remembered as the time when Rock made Cena his bitch. You know what should be frightening about that? The Rock doesn’t even have to win to make Cena look like a bitch. Just ask post-Wrestlemania 18 Hulk Hogan about that.

The 2012 Royal Rumble

The Royal Rumble was once my favorite WWE PPV of the year. I always loved the Royal Rumble match. There is so much anticipation and excitement to see who is coming in, when, who will be eliminated and how, and of course, who will win. Each year the winner goes on to challenge for the title in the main event at Wrestlemania. For a long time, I really enjoyed going back and watching the 1994 Royal Rumble. I thought the angle of having dual winners was pretty exciting, plus, it hadn’t been done before. These days, I go back and watch a lot of the older Rumbles. Mostly for nostalgic value, but also because they seemed more important back then.

The Rumble is still an exciting match to watch, if for no reason other than to see people clashing in the ring that you never see against each other. It’s always fun to see tag team partners going after each other, two faces locking up in front of a divided crowd. The Rumble also provides moments for people to stand out, to do things that make their time in that ring memorable, even if they don’t go on to win it. I think back to Diesel eliminating a ton of people, CM Punk preaching to the crowd, Beth Phoenix taking a GTS. How about those surprise entrants? It’s always cool to see an old name or a surprising return.

A few things have happened which has made the Royal Rumble fall a few notches in my book, however. First of all, they keep trying to inject a lot of comedy in there. Maybe they’ve done this back in the day as well, but if so, they did it better. Watching someone like Santino get in there and jump around like a fool or Hornswoggle spending so much time bouncing around and emulating various wrestlers. It makes the match seem less important, then again, WWE has spent a lot of time making a lot of things feel less important than they used to be.

Another thing that has negatively impacted the importance of the Royal Rumble is the Elimination Chamber PPV. Whereas, in the past, the winner of the Rumble would challenge for the title and that match would be built up from the Rumble until Wrestlemania, now we have this extra PPV thrown in where the titles can (and have) changed. You lose several weeks of build up and while you could have a Rumble winner matching up against someone you really want to see him face, come February the title changes hands and you don’t get it. Also, which I’ve not really understood, the point of winning the Rumble is to get that title shot but, even if you don’t win, there’s a chance you’ll be one of the handful of people in the Elimination Chamber to challenge for it the next month anyway. I enjoy Elimination Chamber, but I’d move it further in the year. Replace one of those half-assed PPVs that nobody orders with the Chamber. There are several moments throughout the year where there is nothing that has a “big time” feel to it. You could easily shift Elimination Chamber to one of those times.

Finally, and this is highly specific to this year, the winner of the Royal Rumble is NOT going to challenge for the title in the Main Event, unless the Rock wins the Royal Rumble and John Cena is the champion. Hasn’t WWE made it clear that their Wrestlemania main event is going to be Cena vs the Rock? Didn’t we also get Shawn Michaels vs the Undertaker Part 2 as the main event over the title match that year, as well? It may just be a matter of semantics, but just change the language and remove “in the main event” from the promotion. “The Winner of the Rumble goes on to challenge for the title at Wrestlemania.” Sounds fine to me, but if you’re going to tell me it is the main event, and then it isn’t, I feel slighted.

Last year the Royal Rumble was 40 competitors. This year, we’re back to 30. I’m not sure why that is, and I don’t really have a big problem with this, but it’d be nice to have been given some sort of an explanation. It seemed as though last year’s Rumble worked out very well, I know I enjoyed it. Why the shift back to 30? Also, what the hell does it mean that “this year, every superstar is eligible?” Weren’t they always?

This year, it’s as up in the air as it always is. 30 competitors, but really only a handful of people who are probable to win. It seems likely that some names to be considered for victory this year have to be some of the old standbys; Randy Orton and Chris Jericho, for instance. Then again, there has been some speculation about people like Sheamus or the Miz. Will we see the return of some previously injured people, or people who haven’t been on television lately? Sometimes WWE likes to have a big return and give the victory to that person, see John Cena and Edge, for example. Honestly, this year, I have not yet decided on who I am putting my money on. This is partially due to the possibilities and partially due to WWE’s failure to make any one person stand out. It all seems arbitrary sometimes.

Either way, I know that this Sunday I will be sitting in front of my television watching the 2012 Royal Rumble. I can’t resist it, it will always be one of my favorite PPVs. It kicks off the Road to Wrestlemania, it plants the seeds for Wrestlemania, it is the first PPV of the year and it can often show us how the entire year is going to trend. Let’s hope this year is the best one yet.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
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2012

2011 was an interesting year for the wrestling industry. Like all other years, there were highs and lows, great moments and ridiculous ones. 2012 comes to us, as all new years do, with the potential for either great moments that will reinvigorate interest in wrestling or, as tended to happen last year, push more fans away from their televisions. In 2011, WWE saw a shift in their ratings and began falling under the 3.0 mark consistently. Whether or not this slide continues is contingent upon what form and manner of entertainment they provide us with. Let’s take a look at what looms on the horizon for the early months of 2012.

For weeks, fans were inundated with video packages announcing the arrival of / return of a mysterious figure. The videos featured a boy in a class room, alongside a girl, who spoke of returning to “claim what is his.” The videos were as cryptic visually as they were verbally and this caused a great deal of debate. Early on it seemed evident, to many, that these videos signified the return of Chris Jericho. The potential was high, many seeking to witness Jericho returning to initiate a feud with CM Punk. Possibly a Wrestlemania match will take place between the two.

On the January 2nd edition of RAW, Jericho did indeed return, but not in the way many thought he would. Would he return as the smug, suit wearing heel we’d come to see in the last year of his previous run? Would he stride back in as the once beloved Y2J or would he present himself in an entirely need way? The answer is.. all three. Jericho returned and appeared to be his Y2J persona but it quickly became apparent that this was not the fan loving, face Y2J that we’d seen before. He stood in the ring amid cheers and praise, ran around slapping hands with the fans, picked up the microphone and then left. No words spoken about his return, no promo of his intentions. So many fans were left confused, including this columnist, but upon reflection it seems to clear.

Jericho did not return to be a fan favorite, and he didn’t return to be the multi-syllabic insult hurling heel. He returned to mock everything that the fans wanted him to be. He came back to give us what we wanted, or at least a glimmer of it, before standing back bemused at how easy it is to play the crowd and how simple it is to sucker the fans. He stood in that ring with a look of fascinated entertainment at the fans who went crazy to see him and then, as the cheers of the crowd became peppered with boos, he grinned and strode backstage. This is not a Jericho we have seen before and where he goes with this, no one can be sure. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if we saw this same thing repeated several times over before someone, perhaps CM Punk, chooses to stand up and say “enough.”

Speaking of Punk, he’s currently embroiled in a war of words with Johnny Ace. It seems clear that WWE is hoping to relive the glory of Stone Cold and Mr. McMahon. The tension is building and it is apparent that Punk will inevitably strike out physically against the Senior Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Raw. The problem with it, which is glaringly obvious, is that we’ve seen this before. The difference is that when Stone Cold and Vince went at it, it was new and fresh and exciting. This is simply derivative of something we’ve already experienced and cannot live up to what it is attempting to surpass.

Punk is simply too talented to find himself in this rehashed version of a moment whose excitement was so high because it was unexpected. When Stone Cold stunned McMahon no one saw it coming. Who doesn’t see this one coming? Hopefully they will manifest some way to add a new twist to the same old story. Frankly, in 2012, I’d be happy if we could get rid of the General Manager idea all together.

The biggest thing WWE has going for it, or at least what is supposed to be the biggest thing, is John Cena vs the Rock. As much as this has been built up over the past ten months it certainly feels lacking at the moment. Cena is battling a refurbished Kane, and though I love the evil, masked Kane, the storyline doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. While Cena is supposed to be in a war of words with the Rock, in a war of words that is grounded in reality, he’s simultaneously battling the “supernatural” Kane who is attempting to drag people into fiery pits.

The Rock, distinguished by his absence, provides excitement whenever he return to WWE but this entire storyline has been handled poorly. It’s been like the swinging of a pendulum but with less excitement each time a new sway initiates. The Rock hasn’t laid the verbal smackdown on Cena since the Survivor Series, and even then it wasn’t that great. Cena continues to note that the Rock is never there even though we know he won’t be there. I’m not sure what the point of it is. The Rock is bound to receive a massive pop when he walks out to the ring at Wrestlemania in his home town. Cena continues to receive mixed fan reaction and, more than likely, will receive the majority of the boos when they face each other. To what end does this go? It’s hard to say, and if inside sources can be trusted, even WWE doesn’t seem too sure of where they are going but that is indicative of WWE over the past few years.

There are many more things going on within the world of the WWE. However, the aforementioned angles and incidents are those which garner the most interest here at the beginning of the new year. There is hope that this year will provide us with something more entertaining and that the tide can once again be swayed but the last half of 2011 doesn’t instill faith in their creative direction. Either way, 2012 is upon and win, lose or draw, this could be one of the biggest years in Wrestling in a long time. It remains to be seen.

CenaNuff

“The famous Hollywood icon only shows up three times a year.  And I know that some of you are filming this and I know that he’s going to see this and be pissed of and the famous Hollywood icon will be there Monday and at Survivor Series… because I am no famous Hollywood icon I get to stand here and see all of you because this what I do.”  – John Cena, November 8th, 2011 – RAW House Show.
Ever seen the shock and surprise of the Rock’s return to Monday Night Raw in Anaheim, California back in February, there has been a war of words between John Cena and the Rock.  Rock came out swinging and although Cena has stepped up to the plate it seems obvious that he has struck out more often than he has hit homeruns.  This can’t be something completely held against Cena as it is difficult for anyone to step into the ring and go word for word with the Rock.  This has all been to set up the clash between these two which will take place at Wrestlemania in Miami.  The question on some people’s minds, though, is whether or not WWE has managed to botch this angle.  If you feel that they have then you may also be wondering whether or not that botch was an accident, a result of poor booking or purposeful.
Some people have said it wouldn’t make sense for it to be done on purpose but Vince McMahon has reputation for wanting to prove to individuals that one man is not bigger than the whole of the WWE and that no matter where you go and what you do you’ll never be as important as you were when you worked for him.  We saw it with Hulk Hogan, remember his stint on Smackdown as “Mr. America?”  That wasn’t done for an angle or for excitement.  It was done to humble a man who believed he was bigger than the company.  It is not as if Vince isn’t known for holding a grudge and one thing he takes as an insult more than anything else is if you leave his company.  What makes it worse in the Rock’s case is that not only did he leave but he became even bigger than Vince had made him.
WWE, or Vince McMahon specifically, don’t seem to understand the basic simplicity of this situation.  The WWE needs the Rock.  The Rock does not need the WWE.  I can’t speculate about the details of his return, the whys or hows, but coming back to the WWE to setup an angle certainly wasn’t done in order to advance his own career.  WWE has been struggling, they’re executing things poorly, they’re losing ratings.  The Rock is a blockbuster return which can draw more eyes.  This is clearly evidenced through the large Wrestlemania buyrate from last year and the Survivor Series selling out in ninety minutes.
Cena is always talking about how he is there every night, how he is there for all the fans, how he cares more than the Rock who doesn’t show up very much.  Thing is, who is the crowd cheering for?  They’re not thanking Cena for being there and they’re not cheering because he always shows up.  Half of the time a large portion of the crowd seems to resent the fact that Cena is there in the first place.  Cena is always talking about how the Rock chose to leave and doesn’t care about the fans.  Maybe Rock cares more about the fans and that’s why he left.  Maybe he knew they’d get tired of always seeing the same guy on top, seeing the same guy win, seeing the same guy do the same old stuff night in and night out.  Although, if Rock had stayed, he’d have been more versatile than Cena without even trying but things would begin to wear.  The Rock stepped aside and Cena is who he is because Rock left.
No one knows how much of what they say is worked or a shoot.  I’d imagine that some degree of it is as these two do seem to have some level of distaste for one another.  I’m sure the Rock knows that a lot of what Cena says is from McMahon’s lips to Cena’s ears.  The Rock isn’t a stupid man, and if he ever truly chose to let loose on Cena he’d be more than capable of completely destroying him verbally.  It’s interesting to wonder what would happen if one day, during one promo, Cena said something that actually made the Rock mad.  Doubtful, though, as the Rock doesn’t seem to care much what Cena has to say either way.
So where does this all leave us?  It leaves us with a superCena who has already shown on several occasions that he doesn’t need the Rock in order to take out both R-Truth and the Miz.  Hell, he can even lose to them and laugh about it afterward.  Then again, when does Cena ever seem to care about whether he wins or loses?  This guy drops the title and comes out the next night making poopy jokes.  The Rock, though, is someone we care to see and someone we’ve been looking forward to seeing.  It is someone that we can take seriously and when he speaks we believe he means what he is saying.  In Madison Square Garden, in the heart of New York City, the crowd is almost guaranteed to be behind the Rock and against Cena.
There has been speculation that after all of this time and after all of these years that John Cena will finally turn heel at Survivor Series by turning his back on the Rock or helping Miz and Truth to beat him down.  There is some consideration that perhaps Cena is the power that is influencing John Laurenitis, or at least, the power alongside McMahon who is doing the influencing.  If this is the case than this could be one of the most exciting moments in WWE history.  If this doesn’t happen then I have no choice but to wonder if Vince McMahon has truly lost his touch when it comes to booking big angles.  Time will tell, and all I can say is this; they’ve got my money for Survivor Series because I need to see what happens next.
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