The Rock – A transitional champion
When the Rock said he’d challenge the WWE Champion at Royal Rumble when he returned last year, people thought we’d see the ‘Road to Redemption’ of John Cena. When Cena failed to capture the WWE title from CM Punk, people realized it would be Punk vs Rock at RR. Punk was in the midst of the most impressive title run in the past 25 years. So, when the time drew closer, the so-called pundits were divided into two groups; one believing that Punk’s run would be ended by the Rock, and he’d face John Cena at WrestleMania for the WWE title, and the second group hoped that Punk would retain the title, and would headline WrestleMania at least this time around.
After the Rumble, when all the dust and smoke settled down, Rock had won the WWE title from CM Punk, thus ending his 434 day run as the WWE Champion. While all the internet fans were ticked off at the result, they were also interested in seeing how the Rock’s run would pan out. Many had expected this result, as a Rock-Cena Part 2 was being planned for WrestleMania. Although everyone knew it would happen, most of the fans didn’t want Punk to lose the title, which he eventually did. Now everyone wanted to see how Vince would book Dwayne going into WrestleMania. And the result? Both Cena and Rock being absent for multiple RAWs heading into the biggest PPV of the year.
It’s downright stupid to not have the WWE champion on not just one RAW, but many episodes going into WrestleMania, where he would close the show with another guy who isn’t getting time on RAW. Because of the logic that Cena’s presence on RAW would make Rock look bad, the decision to put the WWE title on his shoulders has to be a fault of Vince and the faulty WWE management. The same scenario happened in TNA, where during their Britain tour, their champion, Jeff Hardy couldn’t travel with them because he wasn’t allowed to go out of United States. You cannot have a major tour without your champion. Likewise, you cannot head into the biggest event of the year without the two guys who’d headline the PPV. That’s not logical; it defies every logic in the book.
Now, most of the people would think of me and the other fans who don’t see a point in Rock winning the title, as “bitter” fans of CM Punk. Can anyone else give a reason as to why Rock got the title? If someone says mainstream attention, Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter got thrice the amount of mainstream attention than the Rock. What’s more? Jack Swagger isn’t even a big time player in the organization. There is a reason you have a build up going into any PPV. While WWE almost never hypes or builds any superstar properly, they do with their big guys. Another reason people can give is to get more sales and generate more revenues for the PPV. That happened last year just with the marquee names; Cena wasn’t the champ, and neither was Rock. If anything, the only match people would look forward to is the Undertaker’s, because that’s the only different aspect from last year’s Mania.
Now, this brings out the situation that Rock is a transitional champion. And not only is he a bad transitional champion, and I’m not the only one who thinks so because many other fans echo my views, but his current run is possibly the worst WWE title run in over a decade. The only reason Rock was given the WWE title was because he would drop it to John Cena at WrestleMania. While the ‘Road to Redemption’ story sounds good, this could have been done without the WWE title involved in so many other ways. I agree that the match doesn’t need much of a build up, but both stars not showing on RAW, or one guy cutting a 4 minute promo one week doesn’t send the message across, and which is the reason WWE never puts the title on a part timer.
When you think of the Rock now, you have to think of David Arquette. Why? Because both their title runs were for the same reasons, and in the end, didn’t mean a thing. I am not disrespecting Rock, or for that matter, David. WCW pulled David Arquette and put the title on him, expecting a lot of media attention and press coverage. While that didn’t work out quite as planned, they took the title off him. What is so different with the Rock? Since winning the title and before going to WrestleMania, how many times has he defended or will defend the title? Better yet, how many times has he taken part in an actual match? Just once!
The meaning and the definition of a transitional champion fits the Rock perfectly. A transitional champion is one who is not meant to hold the title for a longer period, but to take the title from one guy and lose it to another. In olden days, this method was used when a guy didn’t like dropping the title to someone, possibly because of personal animosity or for whatever reason, and another guy would win it and drop it to someone else. Like Sheik was used to take the title off Backlund and drop it to Hulk Hogan after a month. Guess who fits that bill perfectly? Even if you do not like the answer, Rock’s run with the title has been nothing but a disappointment.
When the Rock won the WWE title after a decade, all of his fans were ecstatic, waiting to see how his run would go. Unfortunately, his run would have been underwhelming for them, and once again, one should blame the WWE management and Vince for putting the title on a man they knew couldn’t, and wouldn’t show up on most of the dates before WrestleMania. There’s a reason why titles get taken off superstars when they get injured, or when they can’t work the dates. It is simple logic, you cannot have a show with your top star missing for about a month. And yet, knowing fully well that Dwayne wouldn’t be on the show to hype his match at WrestleMania, Vince decided to put the title on him. Last year’s build up was a massive disappointment, with Rock and Cena having Twitter wars as Rock couldn’t make time to come to the WWE. How could it be any worse? WWE just found a way by not hyping the match at all.
WWE has another 2 weeks before WrestleMania, and no matter whether Rock shows up for the next two shows (He should, but hey, it’s Dwayne the superstar! He’s too busy shooting movies) or not, his run, and the consequential match against Cena at WrestleMania will go down in history as major let-downs. Not that I was looking forward to their match; Rock being a transitional champion wasn’t even entertaining, as he barely showed up on any RAW. After Cena wins back the title, let’s see where it goes from there, and any other Rock-Cena down the road would lose majority of their old school fan base, if they hadn’t already lost them.