Stars in Progress: The Rock Returns, James Storm, Zack Ryder

Chris Cash

The RockThe Rock – One Step Up

I joined Justin LaBar on Chair Shot Reality this week for a good conversation about The Rock's upcoming return to television and pay per views. Regardless of what side of the fence you're on as it pertains to his title match with CM Punk at the Rumble, I can't imagine many would argue Rock's return isn't welcomed (with open arms) at this point.

I'm sure CM Punk is ready, too. Stars like working with other stars, and even further, talkers like working with other talkers. Ryback's nowhere close to Punk's level in either category. That being said, Rock is arguably better in both, and that's a challenge Punk will gladly accept. He'll thrive off it as a well.

By the way, that was no criticism meant toward Ryback, either. He hasn't had the time or opportunies to get to that level yet, but while he continues to try and make it there, Punk is likely ready for a true main event challenger in The Rock.

The Rock returning isn't something new, but this time is a little different than the others. We're not getting Rock for one main event match and a few weeks worth of build; we're getting Rock for three full months, maybe longer. Relatively full, anyway. That's three straight pay per views, plus a fourth in the post-'Mania edition of Raw. WWE will likely use that to the fullest if it's going to be the last time we say Rock for a while.

Before, when Rock would return, it was never about winning titles, writing thought-out storylines that extend past one particular match on one particular pay per view. Good follow-up was never really required. This time, they have a host of possibilities, and plenty of time to deliver the best Rock has to offer for a full quarter of a calendar year.

Most would assume, and rightfully so, that Punk and/or Cena will get to benefit most by Rock's presence. That's going to be great, and it would really be hard for WWE to screw that up, regardless of what direction they decide to take. I think I'm more interested in seeing how they handle the rest of the roster during this same timeframe.

For example, Brock Lesnar is still under contract for at least one more match, possibly two. I think it would be a waste of time and resources to put him in the main event mix. Undertaker is an easy option for 'Mania, but is that the best option when you really look at it?

Lesnar and Undertaker is a great marquee match, certainly worthy of WrestleMania, IF you don't already have Rock involved on the same card. Additional star power is no longer required when Rock is there; it's really just icing on the cake. Would it be better then to have Undertaker and Brock working separate matches with deserving superstars needing that huge rub? I tend to think so.

Ryback would be my first choice for one of those matches. Sheamus, Orton, and Dolph would be considered. Those guys are going to be counted on to carry the weight once Rock, Lesnar and Taker are gone. Let's give them some momentum if at all possible.

The Rock's return should excite everyone involved, from workers to fans – business simply picks up when he's around. But you can't simply rest on that fact alone. Not if you want business to remain picked up once he's gone.

Follow Chris Cash on Twitter @RealityofChris and email him at chris.cash@wrestlezone.com. Keep an eye out tomorrow for the launch of his new site about making money online in the pro wrestling business, and join him for the returns of Voice of Wrestling and VOW Reaction, before and after Raw. Visit VOWLive.com for details.

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