Two weeks ago I couldn’t have been happier. HHH and Undertaker were announced as a Hell in a Cell match with the tagline of ‘End of an Era.’ John Cena and The Rock were about to start their road to WrestleMania and Chris Jericho was confirmed as the title contender for CM Punk. Here I am a mere two weeks later and I feel slightly deflated.
The Rock has had a mixed result for the past two weeks and people are starting to lose interest in the ‘Once in a Lifetime’ match and HBK has been entered in to the Hell in a Cell match which was something I felt was unnecessary.
HBK has done wonders for the HHH and Undertaker rivalry in the past 12 months. Last year on the go home RAW to WrestleMania he drew massive interest in to a match which people didn’t really feel was a good choice. A few weeks back HBK also injected some life in to the match again this year. Unfortunately on this week’s RAW he inserted himself in to the match as a special referee. Now don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to see HBK on the big show again in person but I can’t help wonder where all this is headed. What’s the real pay-off? HBK isn’t going to get in the ring again and everything points to him being involved. If he calls the match straight down the middle, then why was he involved? If he costs HHH the match then why push towards a HHH and HBK rivalry when I don’t believe that HBK will ever wrestle again. Or the alternative, If he screws the Undertaker then why have you just ended one of the biggest stories in wrestling to never have it develop in to something else. Undertaker and HBK aren’t going to have another rivalry in the ring, so where is this all going?
The show this week seemed to put Undertaker on the back seat and felt way more like a HHH and HBK rivalry again. The only logical option which seemed to make sense was to insert him in to the match and make it a triple threat, knowing that this wasn’t happening only left people disappointed with the outcome.
Then we get The Rock. After last week’s poor performance I was very interested in what direction WWE was going to go with this. The show started off brightly as we got a segment with The Rock actually portraying his character instead of Dwayne. He looked on form and the laughs came in full force. Granted it slightly felt like overkill by the time we reached the third segment and it seemed that The Rock was trying to make up for lost time last week.
John Cena had his moment as well with his speech inside the empty arena. A strange segment but at least in this one he actually showed some respect for The Rock and sold the match as the most important thing in his life. I also feel the need to share a small laugh which I had during this segment. My friend who I watched RAW with joked about 2 minutes in to Cena’s promo the idea that he had his entire promo wrote on the back of all the seats in front of him. As soon as he made this statement, Cena’s head moved to the next seat and it looked exactly like he was reading. I’m sorry folks but I couldn’t control myself (As the late great Frank Carson would say “It’s the way I tell ‘em!”)
Then we got the last segment where John Cena came out and mentioned everything that the IWC had been talking about all week, Rock’s confidence, the stuttering and lack of conviction. Rock came out and delivered another subpar promo before walking out. Cena finished the night off with a few more comments and even writing on his arm in a blatant fashion.
Now people call me for being a John Cena ‘hater’, now granted I’m not his biggest fan. I do however agree that he has beaten The Rock in the war of words. Has this been a creative decision? Who knows? But one thing that I have to mention is the fact that John Cena is seemingly making this worse too. Rock is below his usual standards, this is obvious. But when someone is struggling Cena seems to be picking up his faults rather than trying to promote the match or his opponent. Cena is coming across as the cocky kid rather than the man who shows ‘Loyalty and Respect.’ Cena is also cutting promos on Dwayne Johnson as a person. Rock seems shaken by this and seems to be holding his tongue. Rock’s promos have ALL been about John Cena the character, not Cena the man. I keep expecting Rock to ‘lose’ it and tell a few home truths but they never seem to come.
Now granted this is all opinionated and this can all change within the next few weeks but two things annoyed me about this final segment. One was Cena’s coaxing Rock to come out. I’d have rather had Cena bad mouth Rock until his music hit. That would have got people jumping out of seats but instead we get Cena challenging him to come out and Rock was forced to come out like he was obeying Cena’s commands. The second one was when Rock went face to face with Cena. Now granted, both of these guys can do comedy and they can do serious. Rock at this point had turned serious; he was trying to make a point. Not only did Cena keep talking over The Rock he also kept grinning like a Cheshire cat and nodding his head whilst Rock was 3 inches from his face. This didn’t make for that ‘moment’ when two legends face each other. We’ve all seen the posters for the matches and we can all think of classic stare downs. This was not one of them. Rock looking serious and Cena looking childish only made Rock seem more flustered. The speaking over each other made things worse as there wasn’t a natural flow to the dialogue and as was the case last week, Rock suffered from this. These promos need to focus on the reason why they are fighting and not just taking cheap shots at each other. Cena didn’t really give the impression that his back was up against the wall when he was nodding like a 13 year old who claims they are listening to you when they are in fact doing the complete opposite. Something needs to happen to pull this rivalry in tighter because to be honest, in the past 2 weeks they have done nothing but damage this match.
Nearly a year has passed since The Rock challenged John Cena to this WrestleMania match. We all rejoiced that WWE were thinking of a program which could involve a year’s build. We have had a few rare moments throughout the year but when we get something consecutive for 2 weeks we are now bored of the rivalry? WWE can produce better than this. I’m three weeks away from flying round the world to watch the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’ and at the minute I feel like I’m going to be watching a stuttering man who doesn’t look bothered against the annoying teenager who believes his own hype. I want THE Rock, the man who can make hairs stand on your neck. I want John Cena, the man who can take things seriously rather than look like Rock’s cheerleader when he does his “Finally...” moment. They have proven within the past year that they can produce some fantastic television but you CANNOT allow this to burn out when you’re 3 RAWs away from the match.
As I’ve mentioned before, wrestling is a funny business. What we moan about one week can be reversed the next. Who knows what WWE have in store with so many RAWs to go before we hit the grandest stage of them all? I just hope that I get that ‘feeling’ back before I board a plane.
P.S. At least CM Punk and Chris Jericho demonstrated what could be one of the best matches we have ever seen at this year’s ‘Mania. But don’t you think this physical altercation should have been left until the go home show?