Yesterday news broke around the internet that at some point during the Road to WrestleMania, it's almost an inevitability that the Rock will win the WWE Championship. What's more is that the decision is almost certainly motivated by the cash cow that is John Cena vs. the Rock. And really, who can blame WWE? Last year's WrestleMania moved more product and pushed more paper for the WWE than any other pay-per-view in history. Whoever said lightning doesn't strike twice clearly hasn't seen Vince McMahon's bank account.
The idea of Rock taking the WWE title from current champion CM Punk isn't a new idea. Pretty much since the Rock announced his intentions of winning the WWE Championship in mid-2012, it's been assumed that he'd face off against the Straight Edge Messiah of pro wrestling at the Royal Rumble. And like it or not, Punk's reign does have to end at some point. There will always be the "what if" factor to discuss, but the reality is WWE won't let Punk hold the belt for 3+ years. There's also no guarantee that doing so would be a good idea either; 2012 wasn't exactly a great year for WWE in terms of ratings and non-Mania, non-Rumble, non-Brock-related PPV buys.
Personally, I think there's a way WWE can have their cake and eat it too. Or rather, they can bring enough cake to share with the IWC, so at the end of the day, nobody is terribly upset. Here's what we know:
1) WWE wants to do Rock/Cena again.
Why not make the match a 3-way?
The question you have to ask yourself, if Rock/Cena II is going to take place, has to be "what will CM Punk do at Mania?" Rumors of him challenging the Undertaker have been floating around the water cooler all year long, but that's a risky move. The Deadman is coming off four nearly perfect matches against Triple H and Shawn Michaels, the last of which was contested inside Hell in a Cell. CM Punk is a damn good wrestler, but is he perceived as being at a level high enough to be a legitimate threat to the streak? I'll tell you, if Punk still had the WWE Championship going into WrestleMania, that would be one hell of an intriguing match. 20-0 up against a 500+ day reign as the face of pro wrestling.
But in this scenario – and truthfully, in any scenario I can see unfolding – Punk won't have the belt if he were to face Undertaker. Without that, not even the Shield at his disposal could make the Second City Saint a threat. Now, ask me about adding Brock Lesnar and Triple H to that match in a tag team encounter for the ages, and that's a completely different story. The honor between The Game and Taker is present from last year's iconic finish, and I'm actually getting chills thinking about Punk and Brock being on the same team, managed by Paul Heyman of course. Problem is, it's not going to happen.
The most obvious thing to do is make Rock vs. Cena a Triple Threat match. CM Punk retains the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble due to outside interference by the Shield, while John Cena wins the Rumble match itself. However, with no Shield inside the Elimination Chamber, Punk doesn't have the odds in his favor and drops the belt to Rock. Cena makes the obvious choice to face Rock at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship, while Punk turns the match into a 3-way using his rematch clause.
WWE still gets to have Cena/Rock II, and CM Punk isn't thrown out in the cold after spending the last year carrying the proverbial ball for the company. Everyone is nice and protected, just the way Vinny Mac likes it, and Punk gets pacified with a giant WrestleMania paycheck, as both a consolation prize for losing the belt, and a nod for his work as champion. As for what WWE does with Undertaker at WrestleMania, well…