The pro wrestling world will get to see the People’s Champion back in action faster than expected. The Rock will be returning to the ring at WWE Survivor Series 2011. Dwayne Johnson will team with John Cena and wrestle for the first time in over seven years.
The news started buzzing last week when Survivor Series ads read “The Rock returns to the ring.” Even then, it was still in doubt whether that meant Dwayne Johnson would lace up the boots or just make an appearance. However, it was confirmed by the end of the week that The Rock would indeed be wrestling in Madison Square Garden on November 20.
It was also later reported that The Rock and John Cena would be teaminm in a five on five elimination match, the same kind of match that was traditional in past Survivor Series events. Dave Meltzer on his F4Wonline.com podcast presumed that Cena and The Rock would team with CM Punk, Sheamus, and another vs. Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, R-Truth, and two men to be named later. Keep in mind that this was just speculation and not a confirmation on a match.
I am stunned by the news. The bright spot about announcing the Cena vs. Rock WrestleMania 28 match a year early was that the WWE could let it simmer for 12 months. I also said at the time that the bad news was that it also gave WWE creative 12 months to take some shine off of it. In my opinion, that is exactly what is happening here.
There are two reasons that this thing is a bad move in my opinion all the way around. One, the first time that fans see The Rock wrestle again should be WrestleMania 28. Seeing The Rock wrestle beforehand kills a lot of anticipation in my opinion. Two and more importantly, fans do not want to see The Rock endorse or team with Cena in any way, shape, or form. Remember what happened the night after WrestleMania 27 when they shook hands on RAW? The place booed them and that will happen again.
I think there are a couple of things at play here. One, the WWE is panicking right now with low RAW ratings and disappointing pay per view buyrates. They have already had to give up their Survivor Series hook (Punk vs. Triple H), and felt they needed something to give this show a “Big Four” feel. Two, I think they are so paranoid about seeing Cena booed out of Miami that they are willing to force The Rock’s endorsement of Cena down the fan’s throats. Fans aren’t stupid and this is only going to blow up in their face when both guys get booed for shaking hands at Survivor Series.
Hey listen, I am a fan of The Rock and I am excited to see him wrestle sooner than later. Yet at the same time, I can’t help but think of how special it would have been to see The Rock step into the ring to wrestle in Miami for the first time in eight years. It’ll still be big, but it won’t be the same.