With less than two weeks to go, one of the most polarizing debates on the Internet is who should win the WrestleMania 28 main-event. Should The Rock stroll in and out of his hometown with a win in hand or should John Cena send Dwayne Johnson back to Hollywood with a big loss?
The debate either way is interesting and at times fascinating when you dig deep into the matchup and analyze the case for wins and losses on each side of the ring. To keep it simple, John Cena defenders argue that the face of the company should not lose to a guy coming in part-time while The Rock defenders argue that a Rock win is what the majority of fans in Miami want to see. To me, it goes deeper than that.
[adinserter block=”2″]I think you have to look at the big picture here. In the end, it all comes down to what the WWE has in store for The Rock down the line. We already know that The Rock is booked to appear at WrestleMania 29. Conventional wisdom would lead you to believe that he will be wrestling, but you really never know. There are also reports that The Rock could be wrestling at SummerSlam 2012. Once again we are in the land of the unknown when it comes to Dwayne Johnson’s future.
What we do know is that John Cena isn’t going anywhere. Heck, he reminds you of that every week. Cena is the workhorse of the company and is truly the man that the WWE counts on to drive the ship. He sells more merchandise than anyone in the WWE and is generally a ratings homerun whenever he appears on television. As much as his haters may not like him, you’d think a lot differently if he were delivering these kinds of numbers to your company.
20, even 10 years ago this would have been an easy answer. The old school pro wrestling rule of thumb has always been to put the hometown hero over. Yet for whatever reason, the WWE has had fun the last several years going out of their way to beat the hometown hero in front of his or her friends and family. One of the running jokes these days when it comes to WWE creative is the beating or jobbing out of the hometown hero. Remember last year when Zack Ryder couldn’t even get on the Survivor Series in New York and Beth Phoenix won the WWE Divas title only after losing in her hometown? CM Punk is a rare exception to that rule.
Quite frankly when you look at the big picture here I don’t think a win or loss matters whatsoever to business in this match or any other in the WWE. It isn’t like the pro wrestling I grew up with where a guy would go on a lengthy winning streak en route to his big push and was kept strong before and after for a lengthy period of time. Everyone loses in the current of the era of the WWE. Guys who have lost dozens of matches in a row will wind up with a championship match at the next pay per view. The stories told on WWE television in this day and age are rarely based on wins (although sometimes losses in the case of Daniel Bryan).
In looking at this bigger picture I think you have to put The Rock over. A win for The Rock opens the door for a rematch at SummerSlam or even WrestleMania 29. While the WWE could always move forward with a rematch off a Cena win, it wouldn’t be the same for business. Marginalizing The Rock at this point in time does nothing but stroke the egos of the jealous talent in the locker room that are upset about Johnson’s spot on the show. The fans will go home happy, The Rock stays strong, and maybe Cena rallies support behind a rematch. Unless we are all being worked and The Rock is never wrestling again, I think this is the way you go at WrestleMania 28.
[adinserter block=”1″]A Cena loss won’t do nearly the damage that the Cena defenders are predicting. Cena was up and down quite a bit in 2011 and yet he is still the biggest star the company has. Everyone from Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and yes even The Rock lost big matches and remained as big or even bigger draws than they were before they looked at the lights. It was always about the end game, keeping the door open for the final showdown, and having their hands raised after that last battle. That is where the money is, that is what the people remember, and losing sight of that here will cost the WWE much more money than the few dollars they may or not lose by penciling in the wrong move on the WrestleMania 28 booking sheet.