Thursday, February 24, 2011
John Cena responds to The Rock
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson returned to World Wrestling Entertainment last Monday, February 14, after a nearly-seven-year absence. Click here to read a blog I wrote about that. That blog includes both a 9-minute recap & the full 23-minute video of The Rock's return.
The Rock returned to be the "Host" of WrestleMania, WWE's biggest annual pay-per-view of the year. While he won't be wrestling at the event, and has pretty much said that he won't ever wrestle again, The Rock will be at the biggest event of the year and will play a prominent role.
During The Rock's promo, he called out John Cena. But first, some backstory...
The Rock was arguably the biggest star in WWE history during the late 1990s - early 2000s. He was a multiple-time WWE Champion, the top merchandise seller, the most popular wrestler, the most charismatic wrestler, the list goes on and on. As we all know, he left WWE and went to Hollywood to become an action star. The action star thing didn't work out quite the way he envisioned it, but he did become a very formidable actor with a wide range (action, comedy, voice work).
The Rock's last match was in 2004. In late 2003, there was a young wrestler rising his way up the WWE ranks. His name was John Cena. His character was that of a bad-boy rapper. He was technically a "bad guy," but his entertaining raps about his opponents, coupled with his charisma and work in the ring, led him to becoming one of the most popular stars WWE had.
At WrestleMania 21, in 2005, it became official. John Cena won his first WWE Championship and the torch was unofficially passed. Rock was out and Cena was at the top of the mountain. Cena became a multiple-time WWE Champion, the top merchandise seller, the most charismatic wrestler, the list goes on and on.
In the 6 years since, the WWE and Cena have gone through several changes. Cena's rap character was downplayed and eventually faded away. WWE for nearly a decade, from the late 90's until the late 00's, was one of the edgiest, TV-14/TV-M programs on television. Cena was one of those edgy characters, with his rap persona. In 2008, the decision was made to change WWE's core audience. Their programming was changed to TV-PG. Gone was the bloody violence, excessive cursing, and trashy-looking ladies.
Cena was still the top star in the company. He just now appealed to a much-younger demographic. Kids loved him. The older fans who remembered The Rock and others from the "glory years" of professional wreslting tended to dislike Cena.
In the years since Rock left, WWE started its own film division and has made several feature films for theater and straight-to-DVD. Cena is their biggest film star. In one interview to promote a movie, Cena was asked if he would ever leave WWE and become a movie star like The Rock, if the opportunity presented itself.
Cena answered the question by saying that he loved WWE and would never leave. He then questioned whether The Rock truly loved WWE or its fans, because he did leave. In the last two weeks, it has never been stated publicly by WWE or Cena and Rock, but that is the issue-at-hand between the two of them.
The Rock stated in his promo that he thought Cena was a good guy, until he started saying stuff about him in interviews. Cena brought up a couple times in his response that he wasn't "talking trash," but instead "talking truth."
The Rock's promo was very noticable for its TV-14 slant, as he used a lot more profanity in 23 minutes than had probably been seen on WWE TV in several months combined. Since The Rock didn't go PG with his remarks, Cena slipped out of the TV-PG restraints for one-night only and reverted back to his previous persona for a response.
I'm very intrigued by where all of this goes. WrestleMania is April 3, live on pay-per-view. Rock has stated that he will see Cena at WrestleMania, so there will likely be some sort of interaction between them. Will The Rock show back up on Monday Night Raw before then? Will Cena mention anything else? We'll just have to tune in and find out.
Monday Night Raw airs every - you guessed it - Monday night on USA Network at 9 p.m.
Cena mentions The Rock at the 2-minute mark of the video. He starts his rap around the 5-minute mark.