Now that The Rock has come back to WWE and will play a major role in the company's plans over the next six months, there's been a sort of venting period with the superstars of the promotion.
CM Punk made his feelings clear when he said "it would have nice if he would have said hello." Randy Orton, initially lukewarm to the idea of Rock returing, has since "gotten over the bitterness" of him being back and is now excited for WrestleMania 28 next year, where Rock will take on John Cena.
But perhaps the most interesting opinion to hear in matters pertaining to "The Great One" is that of Triple H. "The Game" recently did a radio interview with Greg and the Morning Buzz and talked about what he called his "unique relationship" with Rock:
"Rock and I have a unique relationship and I think it's unique to anybody else in the company, he and I were kind of like coming up at the exact same time. And we were always kind of like the yin and yang to each other. ... They brought him up as the squeaky clean babyface, I was the bad guy. Then it switched, I was in DX and he was in the Nation. He was the bad guy, I was the good guy. We wrestled at that, it was over the Intercontinental title and then the roles reversed again and then I became like the biggest heel in the business, he became the biggest babyface in the business and we wrestled over the world title. There's always been that kind of ... um ... you know, listen, I was there, it was Rock and I that Vince came to and said, 'Hey, I'd like you guys to sign with William Morris and think about going and making some movies in Hollywood.' He brought us both in at the same time and said, 'You guys are two guys that can do it, I'd like you to move forward.' Rock was like, 'Awesome' and I shook my head and was like, 'What, you don't want me to wrestle anymore? I don't get it.' So there's always that, we've always had that... we get along fine and we're friendly with each other and we're buds in that sense. I've never been out to dinner with him, we don't hang out, but there's always been that professional like... we had such a professional rivalry with each other but we also knew in the ring we were magic with each other so it worked but yet there was always that like, no matter what he did, I was always like, 'Screw him, I'm doing something better than that.' We've never had a cross word with each other, we've never had a strain in any relationship form with each other or anything like that but also, we're not best buds and there's also that little bit of professional tension between us, but I think it's a good thing. Even now, he comes back now and he's a big Hollywood star but I'm also an executive in the company. You know what I mean, there's still that little bit of a weirdness there, you know?"
That's a fascinating look into Triple H's psyche, namely the fact that it's so painfully obvious he still harbors a certain level of resentment towards The Rock for accomplishing more in his career than "Trips" was able to, despite his extensive list of accomplishments.
Indeed, you can trace this all the way back to the beginning of Rock's career with WWE.
He was immediately brought in and given a gigantic babyface push that was so blatant and over the top, the fans turned on him as voraciously as any superstar before him. Triple H, on the other hand, had to attach himself to the notorious backstage political power players, The Kliq, to help achieve his status within the company and get the big money matches he so desired.
In fact, as Bret Hart pointed out in his autobiography, Triple H and Shawn Michaels apparently tried to completely bury The Rock in his younger days for "supposedly not wanting to job, for not selling and for stealing their spots," none of which were true. Hart goes on to say they "disliked Rocky intensely and were too myopic to see he was destined to become one of the all-time greatest megastars in the history of the business."
And that's part of the problem and ultimately why Triple H wanted to snuff The Rock out before he could ever reach the unbelievable heights he eventually would. Begrudgingly, though, "The Game" has to admit that Rock attaining mega-babyface status was actually the best possible scenario for his career, as it gave him a top babyface foil to him when he reached mega-heel status around late 1999 to early 2000. The business WWE did in 2000 with The Rock and Triple H feuding over the world title hit levels the company likely won't ever see again. And they managed to do this while Stone Cold Steve Austin, possibly the hottest babyface of all time, was out with his neck injury.
Again, this still doesn't sit well with Triple H, mainly because the general consensus amongst fans, both casual and hardcore, is that Rock overshadowed "Trips" during that time and, to this day, still does. After all, Triple H effectively retired before returning this year for what should have been a monumental match-up against CM Punk but fell flat and had little effect on the numbers at the box office. The Rock, on the other hand, comes waltzing back to WWE for a match at Survivor Series and the buzz created by that was enough to hit mainstream outlets worldwide.
Thorn meet side ... again.
That's probably why Triple H feels the need to make note of such things like Vince McMahon approaching both he and Rock with the offer to do movies, which Rock obviously accepted and has prospered with while Triple H brushed it off in favor of maintaining his status in the business. In effect, it's the same line John Cena has been using on TV for the past few months, except it carries a lot more weight. Essentially, Triple H wants you to know he stayed and maintained his credibility in the pro wrestling world while The Rock left you high and dry to make movies.
And really, that's all "The Game" has left. Back in 2003 when The Rock and Stone Cold left for good, Triple H was the guy to take over at the top, as evidenced by how he utterly dominated the main event scene for the entirety of that year. But he did so to flat crowds, decreasing interest and dwindling ratings, with numbers steadily declining week after week until the wrestling boom period, starting somewhere around 1996, was declared dead. And this happened on Triple H's watch with no one else to point the finger at, though he repeatedly did so anyway, snuffing out the WWE careers of guys like Scott Steiner and Bill Goldberg.
The one man he could never do that with, though, is back and has once again made Triple H an afterthought. And if you're wondering why an injury angle was booked that took "The Game" off TV until The Rock came back and settled his business at Survivor Series before leaving again, well, you've got your answer.