EXCLUSIVE: The Rock Says…; I’m Mad As Hell

Mark Madden

THE ROCK SAYS…

If I’m WWE, I have very mixed emotions about The Rock’s appearance on Raw.

It was ELECTRIC, make no mistake. I was impressed by The Rock’s ability to fall back into wrestling character so seamlessly and effectively after seven (is it really seven?) years. By heeling so strong on Cena and The Miz, The Rock loaded more heat on both than anybody else could do in 10 promos.

The Rock will NOT wrestle at ‘Mania. Those days are over. The Rock MIGHT referee Cena-Miz, but I doubt it. More likely, he’ll do backstage vignettes and make an appearance (or two) in front of the live crowd.

And be worth every cent. Thanks to lazy booking devoid of long-term targets, WrestleMania was DEAD before last night. The Rock revived it. People will purchase ‘Mania to see what The Rock does. They’ll probably be disappointed, but who cares? At that point, WWE will have their money.

Nobody ridicules like The Rock. His sing-song “you can’t C me” had me laughing out loud. The Rock was AMAZING. His timing was spot on. His riff on Michael Cole (“and I quote…”) put a lot of polish on Cole, too. Just to be briefly associated with The Rock is money.

I hope Vince isn’t revealed as Raw’s Mystery GM for the purpose of a ‘Mania “showdown” with The Rock. That’s been done and re-done. Don’t go there. Don’t waste The Rock.

Now, about those mixed emotions…and you see this when Steve Austin makes his occasional appearances…

The Rock showed up at Raw, trotted out an antiquated act, at least chronologically speaking…and ABSOLUTELY PISSED ALL OVER everything WWE is currently doing. That says a lot about the current state of the product…and it’s ALL BAD. It says a lot about the current state of WWE creative…and it’s ALL BAD. Just what I was started to think The Miz could talk, The Rock shows up and re-teaches the art of the promo.

The Rock makes a lot of money doing movies. He’s achieved mainstream credibility few wrestlers do. Good. I’m glad. The Rock has worked hard and deserves his success. But if he came back full-time, The Rock could revitalize the business.

He certainly highlighted that nothing presently being done by WWE and TNA has a chance. Like I said…mixed emotions.

When The Rock was done with that promo, he should have turned the lights off upon leaving. He was THAT GOOD…and WWE is THAT DISAPPOINTING by comparison.

To quote Jim Ross: “I hope young wrestlers paid attention.” Me, too. I also hope WWE and TNA creative paid attention. WWE creative took The Rock in a lot of different directions before getting it right. Sure, when you change your mind, you admit you were wrong. But the important thing is to get it right. Not egos. Not agendas. GET IT RIGHT.

Natalya is growing on me. Very talented. Deceptively hot. I drove her dad around once, and survived. Like Sean Morley says elsewhere on this site, every time you see a good divas match, think of Fit Finlay, one of the all-time great workers and WWE’s road agent for women. He makes it happen.

Sheamus is growing on me, too. But he doesn’t appear to be growing on WWE. Is it just me, or is he being de-emphasized? Wait, Morley wrote that, too. I’m going to have to start getting my columns in before he does.

I’M MAD AS HELL…

So, TNA’s new character appears to be “The Network.” Isn’t that a “Standards and Practices” reprise? Or maybe a rip-off of “the anonymous Raw General Manager”? Is Don Callis going to debut as the human embodiment?

Can booking get any lazier?

Instead of character development, TNA creative is instead investing TV time in something not only inanimate, but invisible. How can there be a payoff? TNA is updating WCW’s coffeepot match. Conflict would occur in catering; a match would result. Now, TNA can blindly and illogically match foes because it’s “what The Network wants.”

It’s going to be easy to turn “The Network” babyface: Just cancel Impact. Anyway, Spike TV isn’t really a network. More like slightly updated cable access.

I continue to be amazed at how Dixie Carter is letting TNA flush money down the drain without making significant changes in management or creative direction. The same idiots book the same crap with the same results, but NO CHANGES. A slight ratings improvement pops up every once in a while, and that’s enough to convince Dixie that a corner can be turned. Vince Russo has been booking since 1996. Since 1999, he has been to wrestling what The Black Plague was to Europe from 1348-1350. That’s four good years, 12 HORRIFIC YEARS. And yet, Dixie Carter keeps paying him to do it. It’s UNIMAGINABLE.

Don’t tell me he’s just part of a committee, either. This “Network” crap has Russo written all over it.

SPEAKING OF NO PAYOFF…

When the Nitro Girls started getting involved in WCW storylines, Nitro Girl Tayo suggested that she play dual characters: “good girl” Tayo and “bad girl” Kayo. That’s right, she wanted to feud with herself.

Somebody, I think it was Kevin Sullivan, said, “What are we supposed to do when it’s time to have a match?”

Sounds difficult, you’ve got to admit. But I bet “The Network” could find a way.

Mark Madden hosts a radio show 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WXDX-FM, Pittsburgh, PA (105.9). Check out his web page at WXDX.com. Contact Mark by emailing WZMarkMadden@hotmail.com.

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