Just when you think the WWE is back on top, numerous issues rear their ugly heads. You have CM Punk returning and getting injured again, Vince McMahon’s #MeToo scandal becoming a huge issue that caused him to get kicked out permanently and the Rock returning as the possible savior by becoming a key figure in the new Endeavor venture except that the audience isn’t willing to accept him in seeing how Cody Rhodes was being prep’d as the guy to overthrow Roman Reigns. One has to wonder just what the fuck is going on with the WWE? Everyone knows that I’ve given up on AEW at this stage but the WWE for sometime looked as though the ball was in their court. But for today’s blog post, I’m going to focus exclusively on the Rock’s situation and my overall thoughts on how they should proceed.
The big news last week (in a week full of big news in a post-Royal Rumble/McMahon scandal) was the Rock returning on WWE TV. Upon arrival, he received a tremendous ovation because he was introduced by Cody Rhodes as the guy that would be facing Roman Reigns at this year’s Wrestlemania. Even before this moment, he had returned once before and hinted that he would be someone that would face Roman Reigns. The audience at that point seemed to have bought it, at least the live audience. However, the online audience and those showing up at house shows are protesting this.
Logically speaking, the Rock is the guy who should face Roman Reigns. There was a rumor that he was meant to face Roman at last year’s Wrestlemania but somehow that fell through. One part of that rumor stated that the Rock wasn’t in wrestling condition to face Roman. Some people have commented that upon returning, the Rock looked absolutely huge. Others said that after a disastrous box office with his DC’s Black Ant, he needed a major comeback. TKO/Endeavor apparently gave him a shit ton of money for his new position, which was readily available as news online.
Then with Cody winning the Rumble and Punk sidelined, there was some weirdness to how things played out. Some people speculated that they would have a double main event with Punk and Cody facing one another at Wrestlemania or possibly Punk and Seth Rollins going at it for the title and Cody against Reigns. With Punk being sidelined for potentially 6+ months, those plans are certainly out the door. With McMahon out and the new board supposedly insisting that it should be the Rock facing Romain, it makes the situation very suspicious.
Part of the reason why this situation stinks is because Rhodes’ story is one of the last real wrestling stories around. He needs to finish his story not just for himself but for his family’s (especially Dusty’s) legacy. He wins the Royal Rumble twice only to be cast aside. The first time felt like Roman Reigns doing Roman Reigns things. Everyone was ready to buy Cody as the person to dethrone Roman at that moment. Then that didn’t happen nor did Sami Zain’s move up the roster. Instead, we had Roman sit on the sidelines to save this coming moment for the Rock.
Now, if we go back to the original story about the Rock not being in wrestling shape, should he even deserve to receive the shot? I think that’s what really bothers people. It goes back to what Seth Rollins described himself, the title he’s holding and what Cody represent: the workhorses. They’re effectively the equivalent of the Macho Man and Ricky Steamboat going into Wrestlemania with the Intercontinental Title on the line and being the match that blew WM3 out of the water. For their reward, they’re still cast aside. And that’s what this felt like.
I did say that logically Roman Reigns vs the Rock should happen. The Rock should put Roman Reigns over because the Rock has been out of wrestling for a while. To get into a certain physical shape, it took him at least 2 years. But that shouldn’t mean that he needs to be the person to beat Reigns. Reigns needs to be put on a certain pedestal just because he needs to be solidified as someone at the level of an Austin, Hogan, Cena, etc. And the only way for that to happen is at Wrestlemania with the biggest crowd against the Rock.
If that’s the case, what should they do with Cody? Even if Cody vs Rollins would be a great match for another headliner, having Cody face Rollins the first night would simply make Cody seem like an after thought compared to Roman Reigns and the Rock. And if the Rock is the one who beats Roman Reigns, then that mystique of the dragonslayer would be diminished greatly. The WWE has been lucky in being able to keep Cody hot enough but would fans be willing to wait a whole year so that Cody can say 3rd time is the charm? Also, no one knows what will happen in a year. Cody could get injured again. The WWE might find themselves in a chaotic state with the ongoing McMahon investigation. Roman Reigns might get injured, sick or find a better role in Hollywood. There’s too many what ifs in this scenario where Cody might not be able to get another chance.
That’s why I think the WWE can’t simply ignore the situation with him for Wrestlemania. They could go for Summerslam but it won’t be the same. Not to mention that’s still months away and by that point the WWE might suffer even more bad publicity.
The only scenario I can think of is to have get that shot against Rollins, win that title then have Roman Reigns beat the Rock in a very convincing fashion (like a 6 minute beatdown) so that Cody can do a unification or winner-takes-all match at the end of Wrestlemania night two and beat Roman then. Roman gets his out by not being prepared for Cody and being exhausted. And/or Punk comes in to help Cody when Solo tries to interfere again. At the end, Cody can invite Punk into the ring and Punk can go, “I didn’t do that for you. I want to face you when I get healthy again because you owe me one.” That is the only scenario where I think everyone can get out of this okay.