The Rub Justifies The Risk; Stone Cold…Or Lukewarm?

Mark Madden


I always wondered what might happen if an old-school killer promo with a quick ad-lib went heads-up with an overly-scripted latter-day “superstar.”

Well, now we know.

I’m not sure if the feud between The Rock and John Cena (you know, the feud with no match) is suffering greatly because of it, but The Rock is urinating all over Cena. I’m concerned Cena might drown. Somebody call a lifeguard.

I don’t blame Cena. The Rock is one of the best promos ever, and has that schoolyard ability to strangle you with your own words, to make whatever you say sound foolish. When The Rock utilizes bathroom humor, he spits it all over his victim. Cena ends up swimming in a gas-station toilet. He sounds like a little kid hoping he gets away with using bad words.

Cena’s never had a chance to ad-lib in promos. He’s funny. He’s got wit. What if…?

When The Rock is back in Hollywood, will Cena be perceived as lesser because of this encounter? Or will the brush with greatness win out? I’m betting on the latter. The rub justifies the risk.

STONE COLD…OR LUKEWARM? reported last week that WWE writers were told to painstakingly make sure Stone Cold Steve Austin seemed as big a deal as The Rock. I’m not sure that happened this past Raw.

Austin’s segment was VERY effective. I just expected a full-blown promo, something to remind everyone that Austin is on a very special plateau. Maybe that reminder isn’t necessary; perhaps it’s forthcoming. The circumstances setting Austin up as special referee for Cole-Lawler at WrestleMania were relatively logical, at least within the convoluted world of fake wrestling. JBL was a brilliant foil. Sold great.

Beering Cole was a mistake. No harm, however minute, should have come Cole’s way until ‘Mania. Everything should build toward Lawler FINALLY getting his hands on Cole.

But the reinvention of Cole has been wonderful. I never thought Cole could take his character to this level. Sure, it’s largely Andy Kaufman revisited, but Cole is such a marvelous heel, you wonder if he might actually find a way to screw (and beat) Lawler – thought Austin’s presence dilutes that possibility.

Cole has been great – but at what price to his career? I don’t see how you put Cole back in the booth after this, but WWE is so thin on quality announcers, what are the options?

There’s always the obvious. Get Jim Ross back in the booth for ‘Mania. Then get him back on Raw. HE’S THE BEST PLAY-BY-PLAY GUY EVER. Christ, it shouldn’t be this hard.


Great column by Kevin Kelly regarding Charlie Sheen’s potential involvement with WrestleMania. Seems like a perfect fit, a no-brainer. I’m not sure Sheen is as calculated as the late, great Brian Pillman, but I understand the comparison.

WWE always manages to make WrestleMania special. Much of this is being done off the cuff – late in the day, at the very least – but it’s working. Get Charlie Sheen in the mix to add that TMZ, er, “sheen,” and WrestleMania could be off the hinges. This is right up the warlock’s alley. McMahon’s, too.

The only bad part – it’s all being done with outsiders and part-timers. After ‘Mania, it’s not back to business. It’s back to blandness.

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

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