On Monday, we asked you to give us some questions on John Cena and The Rock (link here) that you’d like answered. You held up your end of the deal, so here we are, holding up our end.
Question: “What are the honest chances of Cena winning via heel turn and Ryback becoming the new #1 face of the company? I think it seems interesting, and could allow for CM Punk to take time off after his loss to Taker.” – Sean Patrick
Answer: I think a Cena heel turn is way off but if they were going to do it, against The Rock on the grandest stage of them all would be a perfect place. But with Punk rumored to take time off, it looks like Cena will be back to carrying everything after WrestleMania. As far as Ryback goes, it feels like WWE lost hope in his big push. Maybe they never had those big plans for him, maybe they just used him at the end of 2012 to get through the main event storylines. I see Ryback being a top babyface but not the top babyface.
Question: “If (and obviously a big “if”) CM Punk does ultimately face Stone Cold Steve Austin next year at WrestleMania 30, what long-term implications does that mean for not only Punk, but the WWE?” – JokerMash961
Answer: It might not be as big an ‘if’ as some people think. For a while there, it looked as if WWE was planting the seeds for an Austin-Punk showdown at this year’s WrestleMania. When the duo sat down for a 12-minute interview, moderated by Jim Ross, the resulting tension blurred the lines between kayfabe and legitimate dislike, and seemed to be the perfect building blocks of a ‘Mania showdown. The interview was ostensibly a promotional tool for the WWE ’13 video game, but it teased an in-ring showdown between Austin and Punk. In July we learned that Austin had undergone knee surgery (which was why, he explained on his blog, he was absent from the 1000th episode of Raw). It’s safe to assume that a Punk-Austin showdown was in the works for WrestleMania 29, but was scrapped over concerns that Austin’s knee wouldn’t be ready. So for the sake of argument, let’s assume that by the spring of 2014 Austin is physically capable of performing a WrestleMania-caliber match. It’s main event gold, given that Austin and Punk are the top anti-heroes of their respective eras. The build-up would be epic and the match would almost certainly deliver the goods (they’d find ways to work around Austin’s shortcomings, if he had any). The result would almost certainly be a win for Punk, since Austin is unlikely to continue wrestling after WrestleMania. Austin would almost certainly want to do what’s “best for business,” which would be putting over Punk at the biggest event of the year. As for long-term implications: Punk would add another crucial accomplishment to his resume. He would score a big win at WrestleMania (which we can assume he won’t this year). The fate of WWE as a whole, though, would not likely change much. Wrestling fans are fickle, always craving the next big thing. Austin-versus-Punk would sell tickets to WrestleMania 30, but WWE would have to build something new and exciting afterward to capitalize on the momentum.
Question: “So will we see Cena-Rock part 3 at Extreme Rules?” – Barry M.
Answer: I just don’t see them doing the singles match a third time, not at a pay-per-view like Extreme Rules anyway. They could end the feud with some kind of stipulation match but I can see them going in the direction of a tag match or something. Maybe Rock and Cena vs. Brock and Punk? To set up Cena’s summer feud with Punk and Rock vs. Brock at WrestleMania 30?
Question: “Who cares about the “Once in a Lifetime” tag? The match was made organically, on the surface of course, by circumstance. The first match was great in a business, wrestling, and booking sense. Why not keep doing great business and providing great matches for the fans by booking this match again? Cena has vastly improved over the last year, whether or not us old farts want to admit it. I’ll boo him because it’s my job, but he’s earned my respect.” – bigheadjoe
Answer: You’re absolutely right on a number of counts. The first Cena-Rock match was great for business, and had a masterful, long build. It generated mainstream media attention, and resulted in a lot of eyes watching WrestleMania. Some would dispute you on the point that it was a “great” wrestling match, though. While it was certainly a well-constructed match, many felt it was somewhat plodding and anti-climactic (then again, how could it not be after a year-long build-up?). But here’s the problem: a big part of that build-up was the oft-repeated tagline that this was a “Once in a Lifetime” match. The implication was unambiguous: “If you don’t see this match now, you’ll never get another chance.” Yes, some people will argue that the meaning of “Once in a Lifetime” was more metaphorical – that it implied a feeling that can never be duplicated, or a perfectly unprecedented moment in the careers of Cena and The Rock. But those are pretty loose, liberal interpretations of “Once in a Lifetime.” The upshot is that many fans feel deceived. It’s similar to the disappointment fans felt with Ric Flair when he wrestled in TNA after his emotional “retirement” from wrestling. You can never expect total honesty in advertising from WWE. The entire business is predicated on lies and charades. But a Rock-Cena rematch seems like a pretty blatant contradiction of last year’s tagline, which is why people are hung up on it. We’ll see, however, how many disgruntled fans actually boycott WrestleMania in protest. Our guess: not many. WWE books matches (and rematches) that people will pay to see, even if begrudgingly.
Question: “Wouldn’t there have more money in the main event being a triple threat (with Punk)? Taker’s probably not going anywhere anyways.” – Syed Omair Rehman
Answer: Do you mean a triple-threat match between The Rock, John Cena and CM Punk? If so, then no – we don’t see how that would be a bigger money-maker than the current WrestleMania scenario. First of all, WrestleMania main events are almost always one-on-one showdowns between two bitter rivals, with one man emerging victorious. It’s professional wrestling’s biggest show, and it nearly always concludes with a classic singles wrestling match. All too often, triple-threat matches become convoluted and overbooked. Sure, Punk wants revenge on The Rock for taking his championship, so there’s some built-in storyline. But a three-way match would dilute the impact of the rivalry, not strengthen it. The other part of your question seems to imply that The Undertaker doesn’t need to have a match at WrestleMania. This seems like a dicey supposition. His annual streak-defense at ‘Mania has become the must-see match of the event – arguably more so than any title match. He’s not getting any younger, so there’s no guarantees how much longer he’ll be able (or willing) to appear at WrestleMania. In short: a WrestleMania with a triple-threat main event and no Undertaker would not be nearly as satisfying as its current booking.
Question: “Does WWE benefit more from The Rock being WWE Champion or John Cena being WWE Champion?” – Linda Perry
Answer: Three months ago most people thought The Rock with the WWE Title would have been huge exposure for WWE. Here he is, ready to do all this big movie promotion on The Road to WrestleMania and he has the strap. What more could WWE ask for? So far Rock has had the title present with him at one red carpet event in South Korea and in very few media interviews. He made a big appearance on Jay Leno this week and didn’t even mention WWE or WrestleMania. It doesn’t look like Rock as WWE Champion is helping much. Sure, WWE live event attendance is up but people aren’t going to see the WWE Champion because he’s not working live events. He’s barely working RAW TV tapings. I think WWE benefits more having their champion present every week and at every event.