Superstar Spotlight: I Smell What’s Cookin’

Bill Pritchard

Superstar Spotlight

The RockThe Rock came through on his promise, and he won the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. The thing that bothers me the most about this, being a CM Punk fan, is that his historic title reign is over. I'm not pissed off about The Rock winning it, it doesn't bother me that much that the rumor of John Cena being "handed" the title at Wrestlemania is out there. CM Punk's title was fun to watch and it was something that kept me invested in WWE programming. It's that simple.

I thought and up-and-comer like a Dolph Ziggler or a Ryback should be the guy to finally beat Punk for the title, and my opinion on it has been fairly well documented. The problem with that is, Dolph is going in a different direction (and staying heel for the time being) and they pulled the trigger too early on Ryback, so a big star like The Rock is a great candidate to come back and beat him. Punk being beat by "The Great One" is a doubled-edged sword; it took someone with the resume of The Rock to finally beat Punk, or you could say no one else was on Punk's level so it took a 'part-timer' to take his belt away. I would like to look at it as a positive, mostly because it shows that WWE has enough confidence in Punk to be a main guy and to be in a high profile program with someone like The Rock.

Mark Madden made an excellent point in his column last week when he talked about promises in wrestling. Madden said, "John Cena promised he would win the Royal Rumble. So he should. The Rock promised he would beat C.M. Punk for the WWE title. So he should. That’s Wrestling 101. If a top babyface promises to do something, he should deliver. Otherwise, he looks like an impotent blowhard." I couldn't agree more, even if I don't like the result because of who I am a fan of. I said I'm a Punk fan, I'm a Rock fan too. This wasn't anyone making a promise or Vince McMahon GUARAN-DAMN-TEEING something. This was The Rock, The 'People's Champion', telling Punk that his days as champion were numbered.

The build up to this match was very good, if not excellent. Punk and Rock are good foils for each other, and I'm glad we got a more serious side from both of them. This program was not same 'lady parts jokes' Rock we got with Cena last year. Sure, Rock had jokes, but when it came down to it, Rock said he was going to kick Punk's ass and Punk dished it right back to Rock. I think the best thing to happen with this entire program so far is that we are already getting a rematch at Elimination Chamber. I think so much emphasis was put on Cena versus Rock II at Wrestlemania that we almost wrote off Elimination Chamber as having nothing important happen with the WWE Championship. I will admit, I thought we would get some form of a RAW Chamber match out of it, but I never thought we would see Punk versus Rock II so soon. There's so much going on with Wrestlemania season starting, but that match alone would sell me on buying the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view if I was still on the fence about spending money.

The Rock is good publicity for WWE, and in turn having him holding the WWE Championship makes the focus on him and the company that much larger. I said the thing that bothered me about Punk losing was that the title run was over, which as a fan is dissapointing if you are invested as a character. The other thing that bothers me about the whole situation is that we have some other wrestling personalities out there saying Rock versus Cena II is good for business, and at the end of the day WWE is a business trying to make money. I get that; I can still be disappointed but understand it.

Andy Warhol was an artist that didn't have any real 'depth' or meaning to his work; he wanted to make money and be famous and he was open in saying it. My issue with the "business" argument is that some of these fans don't care about the business side of things, they are invested fans who have opinions, and very strong ones at that. Telling someone they are ignorant for not liking a result is the wrong way to go about it. Saying the "marks" don't understand the business is a poor argument too because they are absolutely right, we don't know the business because they never worked there. I'm not suggesting to anyone to change their opinion, but thinking someone shouldn't have a strong opinion on something is a bit ludicrous in the days of social media.

The bottom line here is The Rock is WWE Champion and it's not a bad thing. Rock will help WWE, however long he is here, and we is creating more of a profile for a company that is not as strong as it used to be. Whether we get Rock versus Cena, or Punk, or Brock or Undertaker, Wrestlemania is going to sell, but having The Rock wanting to be involved just makes it that much better. The Rock is a movie star, but you know he enjoys being 'home' because you can see him having fun every week. Punk may have lost the title, and Cena may end up being a rehash of last year, but WWE has spent two years putting time into booking this, something we complained about WWE not doing for sometime. I will give this time because The Rock has always been a positive for WWE and I don't see that changing; he's entertaining and he's definitely worthy of being champion.

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