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Thread: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

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    All We Have is Right Now The Champ's Avatar
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    Thumbs up A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    Now, before you roll your eyes at this thread, I'm not here to start another Rock vs. Cena debate. Quite the opposite, actually.

    I've been thinking a lot about how this feud will be remembered now that it's officially over. It was certainly a feud that people had strong opinions on, as we all know with having read (and participated in) the many arguments on here over the last three years. I know that I was very critical of it at times, specifically after the terrible ending to Mania 27, and what I thought at the time was a terrible booking decision to end Mania 28.

    But I'm going to try and be as unbiased as I possibly can, and throw some new thoughts out there that might go against what I've said in the past.

    First of all, The Rock going over John Cena at WrestleMania 28, in hindsight, was not that bad of a booking decision.

    A couple things led to me realizing that. First of all, The Rock's statement that the entire feud was planned years ago, and that the end goal was always to put Cena over (which I see no real reason not to believe). Secondly, and most importantly, the strong buyrate for this year's event, which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that their strategy worked.

    I may be a lot of things, but I'm not one to argue against the numbers. I wasn't sure that they could do a similar number the following year; clearly, I was wrong. Ultimately, they got three massively successful WrestleManias out of a single feud, and as a business, you can't ask for much more than that.

    But another thing is that the story itself was honestly a good one. The idea that they wanted to build Rock up to a godlike level, and make him Cena's kryptonite of sorts, only for Cena to finally take him down in the end is pretty damn solid.

    The story's execution wasn't always perfect, though; I thought the buildup to 28 was rather inconsistent with the ending of that match, and there were points recently when I didn't feel like Cena was selling his focus enough (i.e. his promos going into the Rumble).

    Another point of justified criticism is the way the matches played out, what with Rock being not so capable of putting on a truly athletic performance. It's true that neither match will go down in history as a mat classic or anything like that, but I enjoyed them both, particularly this year's.

    Many people thought this year's ending didn't fit with the story. I disagree.

    The way I see it, Rock and Cena always respected one another as performers, but just didn't like each other as individuals. That respect grew to a new level after their first encounter at Mania 28, when they brought the best out of each other; hence why the Mania 29 buildup was more about being the best than settling a personal grudge. That grudge was more or less settled the first time (and hell, maybe it's even more fitting that Rock won that one, seeing as how Cena was the one who started the personal stuff way back when).

    And sure, Rock said that he had no intention of passing the torch, but that was because he planned to win the match. Once he lost, it made sense for him to be a sportsman and bow out to the guy he had gone to war with, for better or for worse, and perhaps the only guy with as much respect for the business and the WWE Championship as him.

    I know there are different interpretations of it and I'm not saying mine is right, but that's how I saw it.

    And speaking of different interpretations, perhaps my most important point:

    I know the debates got to be tiresome, but were they really a bad thing?

    Granted, there's only so many times the same two sides could repeat the same set of points without it becoming tiresome. But when you put those actual points aside for a minute, it cannot be argued that everyone who ever vehemently argued in favor of either guy was somehow invested in the outcome of each of the two matches, and overall, the feud.

    Maybe that means that WWE did their job better than any of us thought. Because isn't that point of it all? For us, as fans, to get involved and to care about whether our favorite superstar wins or loses?

    Perhaps all the arguing was just a manifestation of how much we all truly did care.

    I realize this thread basically amounts to a huge ramble, and half of you aren't going to read it, which is fine. But for those who have made it to this point, I'd like to know your thoughts.

    Did you enjoy the feud?

    Would you have done it differently?

    And how do you think it will be remembered, years from now, when it becomes a part of distant history?

    HAYZE

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Heyman
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    This will remain in my sig until The Rock gets his WWE World Heavyweight Championship rematch.

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    MO to the G to the UNS! BadNewsFan's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    I pretty much agree.

    I never had a problem with the ending of 28 because it was a huge shocker at the time, which is rare in this day and age, everyone myself included thought Cena would've won.

    Overall I thought the matches themselves were decent enough and actually a bit underrated by most people here.

    In the end tho, like you said the numbers don't lie, people were definitely into the feud and it boggels the mind to think what the hell would they have done if Rock never came back.

    I doubt these Mania's would have been anywhere near as succesful.


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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    In all honesty I was kinda pissed off that Rock won cause it was like he came back to beat Cena and leave but in the end it made sense. I called it a while back and made a thread for Rock vs Cena II saying it was obvious. I said that Rock would beat punk and win the title to drop it to Cena at the end of Mania 29 to pass the torch, pretty sure most people disagreed but it was a while back so I can't remember but I always believed that when Rock said he would face the WWE champion at RR for the title we'd get Cena/Rock II and it was a passing of the torch ending.
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    I dont get how you can pass the torch to a guy whos been on top for 8 years or something

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    Senior Member Bang Bang's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    Let me preface my statements with the fact I was a huge Rock fan from 96-2000 which is when I bailed on WWE. I do not hate John Cena. I hate how he is written but I do not think he is this god awful wrestler everyone seems to think he is. I have to say all this beforehand because I was accused of being too John Cena hatey in a thread where I said nothing negative about the man. With that said.......

    No amount of reflecting back for me will ever see it in a positive light. I thought every match Rock was involved in was terrible including the 2 Punk matches. The finish of back and forths at 29 was atrocious.

    The booking of the WWE title has been god awful. The fact that it is literally only important unless it is on The Rock or John Cena is just terrible. Say what you want about Macho Man sharing spotlight with Hogan. Savage never went on in the beginning or middle of a PPV as champion. I'd appreciate it more if Cena went a year without the title or headlining only to win the title back and be closing out PPVs. Whats the big deal he won the title again but has headlined every fucking PPV anyway so who cares. WWE booked the title as bad as they book their entire roster. Things like Cena/Kane or Cena/Big Johnny closing out shows over the champ was just a slap in the face to everyone not named Cena.

    I am very disappointed in how successful these Manias were because it will only back up Vince's method of nostalgia needs to headline over current talent. Eventually all the nostalgia acts will be gone and no new legends have been created in the process. What then? John Cena is the biggest thing the WWE has and they do not use him to make new stars which is absurd. Stop bringing in the older guys and start making new stars.

    I also do not think if they do Cena/Taker at 30 that it should close out the show. Sorry I know you will alll disagree but unless the title is involved it shouldnt close out the show. Neither should Rock/Brock if that happens which I sure as shit hope it doesnt. I am done watching Rock show us how out of wrestling shape he is.

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    Senior Member PB's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bang Bang View Post
    The booking of the WWE title has been god awful. The fact that it is literally only important unless it is on The Rock or John Cena is just terrible. Say what you want about Macho Man sharing spotlight with Hogan. Savage never went on in the beginning or middle of a PPV as champion. I'd appreciate it more if Cena went a year without the title or headlining only to win the title back and be closing out PPVs. Whats the big deal he won the title again but has headlined every fucking PPV anyway so who cares. WWE booked the title as bad as they book their entire roster. Things like Cena/Kane or Cena/Big Johnny closing out shows over the champ was just a slap in the face to everyone not named Cena.
    I think this is a really important point. Cena, whilst having the 'worst year of his career,' was still the main focus. He still closed every show. Everyone else, including the WWE Championship, was booked as little more than an afterthought. This got to the point that by the time Rock/Cena II came about the match didn't feel like it was about the WWE Championship but that it was solely about Cena getting his win back.

    There were elements of the feud that I absolutely loved. The debate two weeks before Wrestlemania is on of my favourite promos of all time - it was truly excellent. However, it was just too inconsistent to be as great as it should have been and was then capped off by a really crappy match that I have no desire to ever see again. Even the 28 match was decent compared to 29 in my opinion.

    On top of that, too much was compromised to get to the payoff. CM Punk as top face. Ryback as any sort of credible main eventer. Undertaker vs. John Cena at Wrestlemania. All given up just for this one ultimately unsatisfying moment that was the biggest downer at the end of a Wrestlemania that I can remember. I felt flatter than even 25.



  7. #7
    just a plain cunt Waffle Circus's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    To have the feud stretched across a 2 year span with it headlining WrestleMania twice? In hind sight I'd call it pointless from a fans perspective. I'm sure it made the company a shit ton of money but it all seemed pointless.

    Two years. Two fun buildups to WrestleMania. Two years of fun mic work. Two WrestleMania matches that were awful.

    With the hype of these two going toe to toe with each other. With 2 separate chances to put on a great once in a life time memorable match on the grandest stage of them all. They failed... TWICE! The matches are so not memorable moments. They bring up feelings of what could of or should have been and not what did happen.

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    Senior Member Steeda90GT's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    Looking back, this feud is/was awesome. Sure I had some issues with a promo here and there (Rock's we will rock you segment comes to mind, also the lack of physical encounters), but all in all it delivered...and delivered well. The matches were great too. No it's not Daniel Bryan vs Bret Hart for all you smarks, but Rock and Cena tell a much better story in the ring with their charisma. The drama is there, which can't be said about too many "technical wrestlers" that aren't named Shawn Michaels.

    To be quite honest, if anything spoiled this feud, it was coming on here and reading articles or interviews from bitter performers.

    Rock/Cena will stand the test of time.

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    Senior Member Steeda90GT's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by vinwwe View Post
    I dont get how you can pass the torch to a guy whos been on top for 8 years or something
    Think of Rock/Hogan. No it wasn't needed to solidify Rock, but people still labeled it as a torch passing. Not needed, but icing on the cake of any mega star's career.

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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by BadNewsFan View Post
    I pretty much agree.

    I never had a problem with the ending of 28 because it was a huge shocker at the time, which is rare in this day and age, everyone myself included thought Cena would've won.
    Huh?! Nobody thought Cena was going to beat the Rock in his own hometown, Miami. That was actually my biggest criticism of the feud. It was extremely predictable. Everyone knew that Rock was going over Cena at WM 28 just like everyone knew that Cena would win at 29.

  11. #11
    All We Have is Right Now The Champ's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by PB View Post
    I think this is a really important point. Cena, whilst having the 'worst year of his career,' was still the main focus. He still closed every show. Everyone else, including the WWE Championship, was booked as little more than an afterthought. This got to the point that by the time Rock/Cena II came about the match didn't feel like it was about the WWE Championship but that it was solely about Cena getting his win back.

    There were elements of the feud that I absolutely loved. The debate two weeks before Wrestlemania is on of my favourite promos of all time - it was truly excellent. However, it was just too inconsistent to be as great as it should have been and was then capped off by a really crappy match that I have no desire to ever see again. Even the 28 match was decent compared to 29 in my opinion.

    On top of that, too much was compromised to get to the payoff. CM Punk as top face. Ryback as any sort of credible main eventer. Undertaker vs. John Cena at Wrestlemania. All given up just for this one ultimately unsatisfying moment that was the biggest downer at the end of a Wrestlemania that I can remember. I felt flatter than even 25.
    While I disagree that 29 was unsatisfying, I think most of the points you raise here are fair. The consistency issues hurt it, and they did sacrifice a lot to make it happen. However, at least two of those things are salvageable (Punk may return as a face and Undertaker vs. Cena, by all rights, should happen next year).

    Ryback may be the biggest loss of the whole thing, especially since there's a chance he may lose yet again on Sunday. But not all of that is on Rock/Cena; they could have put someone else in there against Punk if they wanted. It was just utterly stupid booking.

    Remember that it did give us the Shield, though.

    HAYZE

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Heyman
    My client, Brock Lesnar, conquered the Streak.
    This will remain in my sig until The Rock gets his WWE World Heavyweight Championship rematch.

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    Senior Member LS's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    The two things that bothered me the most about the Rock/Cena storyline:

    1. It stretched out to three WrestleManias in a row.

    2. Basically what PB mentioned. The things that were sacrificed and how everything had to be catered to the WM29 Rock/Cena match, months in advance. Punk's heel turn, the predictable Rumble match, the predictability of Punk losing the belt to Rocky. Long-term plans could be good but when most knew in July what was going to happen 8 months later...it's not as effective. We did get the Shield though, like Champ mentioned.

    Also, I would have liked for Rock to wrestle on Raw and SD a few times. They brought a legend back but gave him almost no matches with any of the younger, newer guys - of course apart from Survivor Series, but the bigger story to that was the Cena angle. It would have been cool if they had a few episodes of Raw or SmackDown focus around Rock having beef with Sandow, Dolph, Cody, or Cesaro, leading to a main event match at the end of the night. I understand Rock was only available on certain days, but they could have made this happen a couple of times. I remember he interacted with Rhodes Scholars on SD and it was enjoyable, but it would have been a cool moment if they got to have a match.

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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    Rock definitely should've wrestled on Raw or Smackdown one of the several times he was featured on those shows this year.

    It made no sense not to have him wrestle, when he obviously agreed to have pysichal contact with the boys, during his several brawls he engaged in.

    I hate this new part timers only wrestle at PPVs thing that WWE does with guys like Rock and Brock.


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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by merle View Post
    Huh?! Nobody thought Cena was going to beat the Rock in his own hometown, Miami. That was actually my biggest criticism of the feud. It was extremely predictable. Everyone knew that Rock was going over Cena at WM 28 just like everyone knew that Cena would win at 29.
    I duno, I remember people thinking there was a slight chance of Rock winning since it was Miami, but without knowing Rock would come back after, I think most ppl thought Cena would go over.


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    Senior Member LS's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    Rock winning at 28 was kinda predictable, but not nearly as predictable as Cena getting a win in the rematch. There was a chance Cena was going to win at 28, there was no way Rock was going to win at 29 (regardless of what that dirtsheet report claims..)

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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    When the Rock came back and called out Cena, I was very excited to see where it would go. After mania 27, and the match announcement, I had very high hopes, and was very interested to see how they would book the build up for a match a year away. I think this is where the "feud" went south for me. Rock just wasn't there enough, I understand he is a huge movie star, but throw in a few more pre-taped segments or something. Cena being the company's top guy had to be featured, so he went on and did his own thing for the bulk of the year. Things picked up after the Rumble, but it still felt like the two didn't have enough interaction. When the match finally happened, it was just so underwhelming. The Rock gassed out fast, and the 2 just didn't seem to have any chemistry together. The outcome didn't bother me, as the second it happened, I knew we would be getting a rematch, and I hoped that the rematch would be a shot for the two to make up for the lackluster match. The build to the second match was even worse than the first. I was ok with it though, as I wasn't expecting much until the Rumble, and had high hopes the rematch would be good. It wasn't, I understand the Rock got injured, but I thought the finisher fest was just terrible. So afterwards, I really don't care if the Rock wrestles again, the Cena character is basically the same, he would show flashes of something different during promos at times, but is really just the same smiling guy making poop jokes. It really wasn't the once in a lifetime, past vs present showdown that I think most of us hoped we were getting. It made the company a shit load of money, I think that is the true legacy of the feud.

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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    It was alright. It could have been booked a little differently, but hindsight is 20/20.
    (Mucho credit to Bender)

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    Senior Member JACKNIFE's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    i enjoyed it.

    but it feels like they were trying to artificially produce (and stretch out/milk) the lightning in a bottle that was Rock/Hogan from 2002 to possibly get cena over with 100% of the crowd.

    still no on that one.
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    The Rock fan in me would've preferred him winning the belt at Wrestlemania, but I'm glad it worked out the way it did as it worked out for the better. Besides, I would've been beyond pissed had Cena won in Miami.

    Huh?! Nobody thought Cena was going to beat the Rock in his own hometown, Miami. That was actually my biggest criticism of the feud. It was extremely predictable. Everyone knew that Rock was going over Cena at WM 28 just like everyone knew that Cena would win at 29.
    Rock's history of not having a problem doing jobs, Cena's "I'm going to win" promo on the final RAW, and his "Invincible" music video had me convinced Rock was losing. Yes, Rock was the underdog in the match.

  20. #20
    All We Have is Right Now The Champ's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    Yeah, merle couldn't be more wrong on that point. There were plenty of people who thought Cena was winning (and really, the Miami thing has little relevance in comparison to New York, a place where Cena is hated even more).

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    This will remain in my sig until The Rock gets his WWE World Heavyweight Championship rematch.

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    Senior Member TheKliq's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    I thought the actual matches themselves were terrible, cena and rock do not work well together in the ring at all.. The buildup and hype surronding the matches are as good as we are going to see this day in age.. So overall I thought it was pretty succesful and accomplished what it needed to despite the lackluster matches.

  22. #22
    WE WANT PUNK! Weezl's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    The build to the first Wrestlemania match was one of the most boring and annoying builds to a Wrestlemania main event I've ever experienced. The build to the second Wrestlemania match was a bit more entertaining. Both matches sucked ass though. Rock and Cena don't have any chemistry at all.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by LS View Post
    The two things that bothered me the most about the Rock/Cena storyline:

    1. It stretched out to three WrestleManias in a row.

    2. Basically what PB mentioned. The things that were sacrificed and how everything had to be catered to the WM29 Rock/Cena match, months in advance. Punk's heel turn, the predictable Rumble match, the predictability of Punk losing the belt to Rocky. Long-term plans could be good but when most knew in July what was going to happen 8 months later...it's not as effective. We did get the Shield though, like Champ mentioned.
    I pretty much echo this.

    I personally just could have done without the re-match, the predictability of it all, the overcooked match that came off like a cluster fuck including the post match and dick suck fest, it should have ended at the shake hands then thats it, we dont need lame salutes, Rock looking sheepish raising Cenas hand, I just didnt like it and it didnt help the going through the motions feel the re-match got at Mania, no special entrances, no hype, just Cenas music hitting out of no where, granted that was because as I had said weeks before hand Mania was overbooked, it was just passable to me, like Triple H v Jericho at 18, out of all the WrestleMania events I have seen there are only 2 I turn off before the main event, 18 and 27 and now 29.

    I loved 28, the match, the hype I could even forgive what it did to the WrestleMania 27 main event, turning it into a glorified Raw main event and if it was just left there and even if they did the triple threat match with Punk I would look on it with fond memories with it left at Once In A Lifetime instead I just have this bad taste in my mouth due to the months and months of predictable build up to the most predictable match that springs to mind.

    John Cena just didnt need that win and we didnt need that re-match, thats how I feel.

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    Senior Member Steeda90GT's Avatar
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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    I will agree with one thing. The lack of special entrances. What the heck...this is supposed to be Wrestlemania, and esp for the main event.

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    Default Re: A reflection on The Rock vs. John Cena after its conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Champ
    Granted, there's only so many times the same two sides could repeat the same set of points without it becoming tiresome. But when you put those actual points aside for a minute, it cannot be argued that everyone who ever vehemently argued in favor of either guy was somehow invested in the outcome of each of the two matches, and overall, the feud.
    I don't know about that. I argued with you frequently about how much you'd overreacted to the WM28 ending, and I couldn't have been less invested in the actual feud.

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