Exterior of utterly catering to society as an entire and pushing its present roster and storylines to the again burner, there isn’t a match the WWE can placed on that will draw a much bigger field workplace than The Rock returning to the ring for a first-time ever matchup along with his cousin and present Undisputed WWE Champion Roman Reigns. Properly, they’re second cousins. However cousin simply sounds higher when you possibly can craft a narrative. The mainstream attraction of the matchup, mixed with how it will preserve the corporate’s informal and diehard followers , would trump any present plans in place to make the match occur, anytime, wherever.
In fact within the wrestling world, there isn’t a much bigger stage than WrestleMania. On paper, pairing the 2 makes excellent sense. In actuality, it’s way more difficult, with solely specs of readability given to the state of affairs on Friday, when The Rock appeared on The Pat McAfee Present. ESPN’s latest darling requested The Rock about the potential of coming again to the corporate to problem Reigns. The Rock revealed that he met with Nick Khan and Vince McMahon in January 2022, and a match between himself and the Tribal Chief was locked in for Wrestlemania 39, which occurred 15 months later in April, at SoFi Stadium.
In keeping with The Rock, there have been handshakes and hugs after the assembly, however the match fell aside when discussions occurred about how the story would go, and the corporate, Reigns, and The Rock couldn’t give you one thing that glad all of them. Reigns ended up defeating Cody Rhodes in that present’s major occasion. [Ed. note: Cody Rhodes winning seemed like a real possibility, but nope.] One of many cool issues about skilled wrestling is that there’s a couple of likelihood to tug off a dream match. And The Rock additionally mentioned Friday WrestleMania 40 subsequent 12 months remains to be on the desk and added “I’m open” a number of occasions. The Rock’s “openness” as one in all Hollywood’s most in-demand actors may solely be because of the coinciding Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes, however WWE would take any purpose at this level to deliver Dwayne again inside its partitions. The corporate’s need to deliver again The Rock in such a predominant vogue is a self-own about how stale Reigns’ title reign has grow to be, if not the whole on-camera product. Star energy or not, why does the WWE want a part-timer and a one-off look from a legend to finish the spot for the largest match of the 12 months? Rumors will recirculate as to the match being a risk after these uncommon public feedback from The Rock on it, however the former Black Adam talking on it doesn’t imply it makes any extra sense.
The Rock hasn’t wrestled a match longer than six seconds since 2013, when he confronted fellow former-full-timer-turned-actor John Cena — who was phenomenal in Peacemaker — at WrestleMania 29, a main-event conflict the place The Rock tore a number of tendons. The Rock could be just a few weeks shy of 52 for that match, and even in as titan-like form as Dwayne Johnson is, wrestling a main-event caliber match takes preparation and a degree of athleticism that I doubt The Rock nonetheless has. Take a look at Johnson’s contemporaries. The Undertaker was severely restricted on the finish of his profession at an analogous age. Stone Chilly Steve Austin seemed nice in comparison with expectations in his return to the ring at WrestleMania 38, however the match didn’t contain a lot outdoors the brawling fashion that all the time suited Austin finest.
Doubt me? Ask Reigns himself, as Jimmy Fallon did earlier this 12 months. Reigns mentioned The Rock does two of the three issues wanted to be an energetic skilled wrestler completely along with his weight coaching and diet. His conditioning? The Rock hasn’t taken a bump in over a decade. Can he do it? Completely. Ric Aptitude and Terry Funk retired what number of occasions? Neither of them tried to major occasion WrestleMania in a match that will possible be for 2 world titles, and due to this fact, expectations must be harshly excessive. And The Rock making an attempt to tug that off now’s a determined cry for assist. It’d be an ideal spectacle to see, however the match doesn’t want the titles or the large block of time generally carved out for WrestleMania major occasions.
Reigns himself has labored his lightest schedule ever this 12 months whereas being wholesome and his subsequent match is reportedly not scheduled till November. Whereas Reigns is all-but locked into the WrestleMania 40 major occasion, a route the place it’s not a rematch with Rhodes if The Rock can’t compete, or Johnson truly pulling it off and wrestling a protracted match for the primary time in over a decade, is simply as unlikely. Getting a narrative down that satisfies WWE’s new possession group, TKO, in addition to Reigns and The Rock, appears extra possible to attract eyes to the product. It’d be one other resolution of these in and round WWE chasing cash over the most effective product potential.