Why Rock is the Perfect Champion Heading into WrestleMania 29

In eleven months when we look back at the year that was 2013, Rock’s WWE Championship win over CM Punk may stand out as the most important story in all of wrestling. Rock defeated Punk at the Royal Rumble on last Sunday to capture his eighth title. When Rock returned in 2011, I never thought he’d be champion again.

As with anything involving wrestling, there are differing camps of opinion regarding his win and what it means for the direction of the company heading into WrestleMania.

Rock’s win was likely the most important championship victory of the last several years. The match itself came across as an historic occasion. I will never forget the eruption of the crowd when the referee counted to three. In many ways it was similar to his win over John Cena at last year’s WrestleMania in Miami.

With him as champion, the WWE will be treated with a level of prestige and mainstream recognition that has eluded the company for years. Never before in history has a major star in Hollywood ever held the most important title in wrestling. The plan is for Rock to promote himself as WWE Champion in all media appearances over the next couple of months.

On the flipside, some believe the way Rock won hurt Punk. One of the main arguments is that he pinned Punk following the people’s elbow instead of his signature rock bottom. I think it was a miniscule point because the match was excellent either way. There will be rematch at next month’s Elimination Chamber PPV where Rock could win with his preferred finishing maneuver.

There is no question that the championship means more on today than it has in a long time. Aside from Rock’s stardom, the biggest reason is because of Punk’s legendary reign. He held the championship for 434 consecutive days, making him the longest reigning champion since 1987. He did that while having great matches against an assortment of talent. His matches against Cena, Chris Jericho, and Daniel Bryan were among the best of 2012 and he’s already had two of the best matches of this year against Ryback and Rock. Punk brought a level of credibility to the championship that made it more than just a storyline prop and he should be commended for that.

Any fan that seriously follows the business should’ve expected Punk’s reign to end at the Rumble.  While Rock could’ve won at Elimination Chamber, it wouldn’t have made good business sense. The Rumble is the second biggest show of the year and if I were Vince McMahon I’d want Rock to be champion for as long as possible heading into WrestleMania. This brings me to the most heated point of discussion—was Punk’s title reign little more than a means to an end to get a Rock vs. Cena rematch?

Yes it was. There is no other way around it. However, the scenario isn’t that simplistic.

I originally had reservations on that direction as you can read in my previous post. I’m more open to it now because it’s clearly the biggest money match possible. With Brock Lesnar programmed against HHH, Rock vs. Cena is the only other main event that could fit the bill. While last year’s match was great, there is a chance that this year’s encounter will greatly surpass it.

For one, it’s in the hottest venue possible at MetLife Stadium. The NY/NJ market has always been a WWE hotspot and the crowd for this WrestleMania should be like very few we’ve seen. The atmosphere alone should ensure it goes down as a match for the ages. On top of that, they should have a technically better match than last year.  While their clash was memorable, there were notable points where Rock got exhausted. It stemmed from him not working a match of that caliber in nearly eight years. His match against Punk was tremendous and there were no points throughout where he lost his steam athletically. I have little doubt that the quality of the match will be superb.

I expect the championship to be a huge draw of the match. If they had fought over it last year, there is a good chance it would’ve come across as secondary. The big story of their rematch, aside from Cena going for revenge, should revolve around the importance of the title to both guys. We have Punk to thank for that.

I don’t think Punk has been hurt in the slightest. He is a legit main eventer and is guaranteed to be in one of the major matches at WrestleMania.  Just working with Rock has elevated his status to the casual wrestling fan. Those casual fans are vital to the success of the company.

Is it accurate to label Rock as a transitional champion?

If you look at it from a traditional perspective then the answer is yes, but traditional is not a word commonly associated with him.

164426_10151257161426443_370373603_n

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Why Rock is the Perfect Champion Heading into WrestleMania 29

  1. I am glad someone else thinks the Rock winning the title was a good idea. I have seen a lot of Rock bashing on the net because he “left WWE, and Punk and Cena” are here every week.” I just don’t get it. The Rock helped pave the way for those guys. He fought for his spot. UGH.

    Anyway, I am glad the Rock got the belt. I think you know I am not a huge Punk fan. He puts on very good matches, but he just doesn’t do much for me. I was glad that his reign ended. I was bored silly. Sorry. Don’t be mad.

    We live in a world where if you criticize certain athletes/wrestlers , you get jumped on.

    Great column.

    • Yeah I’ve never been the biggest Punk fan, but I definitely respect his work, especially the prestige he restored to the once meaningless WWE title. My only hope is that even after Mania the title is treated with the same amount respect it currently has. In other words, if Cena wins at Mania, he shouldn’t lose the title a month later. The belt is not a freakin hot potato.

      I do think that alot of fans forget that Rock paid his dues just like any other wrestler. It’s not like he woke up one day and became the biggest star in the industry. He had to fight, claw, get over and deal with the backstage politics just like Punk and all the greats have. He fought for his legacy and deserves the attention he gets whenever he comes back for an appearance.

      Plus the reign wasn’t going to last forever, so these vocal fans need to chill. Lol.

  2. People don’t realize that Punk is in a great position. Punk has a lot of options for WM. He could be pur with Rock/Rock or face Taker. Or something else we don’t know about.

    As I said in my last column “Why so serious”. Fans need to chill out!

    Great work buddy!

    • Thanks Ray and your column was great! Punk was already established as a major star, but his stock should skyrocket after his rematch with Rock, plus whatever plans they have for him at Mania. I think this could be Punk’s biggest year yet.

  3. The worst part about all the people trashing Rock is they’re just so smug about it. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. It’s funny…this title change prompted me to start a blog! Although I respect your perspective and think you’ve made some valid points, I have to disagree in the assessment. I think the whole thing is bad for the belt, therefore bad for pro wrestling. Here’s why, along with how it SHOULD have been booked: http://bit.ly/XddZh1

    • I’m always glad to see a new blogger take the plunge! I read your post and think it’s pretty good. One thing I love about wrestling is that nearly everyone has a different point of view. Could you imagine how boring the sport would be if we all thought alike? Lol

I know you read it, now prove it!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s