It's that time of year again, Cagesiders.
The Rock will return to the WWE ring to pick up where he left off last year, when CM Punk turned heel and sent him ass over tin cups at the RAW 1000 supershow. If this thing plays out the way most of us expect it to, the "Brahma Bull" will reclaim the WWE title -- just so he can drop it to John Cena later this year at WrestleMania.
At the end of the day, that's all this is about. It's not about giving the fans what they want or keeping the Rock involved with the current product, it's about making sure John Cena leaves WrestleMania STANDING TALL. Boy, that's gotta hurt if you're CM Punk.
No main event for you!
Sure, the "Straight-Edge Superstar" gets to have his title reign etched into the WWE's Rosetta Stone, but it surely comes with an asterisk. At last year's "Granddaddy of them all," Punk defended his belt against another part-timer, Chris Jericho, but still played second fiddle to Cena and Rock.
It's deja vu all over again.
There's no question Punk will be a part of WrestleMania 29, but he couldn't make it to the top with the title, you can forget about getting anywhere near it without. The message is pretty clear: CM Punk has become the longest transitional champion in WWE history.
Hell, even The Miz got to main event against Cena back in 2011.
I've never really had a problem with Rock bouncing in and out of storylines. He's always been a top-shelf competitor, both on the stick and inside the ring. He may blow up a little easier these days, pushing 40 and carrying more muscle than a Belgian blue, but he consistently delivers.
I just wish it didn't come at the expense of existing talent.
As of now, I'm not sure where Rock fits into the current line up. In words I never thought I'd type, I find myself invested in CM Punk's program with Ryback, heightened by the knee injury and interference from The Shield. If you told me Cena and Rock would once again tangle in late spring -- but no title would be on the line -- I'd probably be a little more gung ho about it, because I don't think a championship adds anything to their rivalry.
Frankly, I feel like it's just being greedy.
I have a realistic view of the way this business operates and I understand why Rock and Cena are getting the main event, but leave the belt on a guy who actually benefits from wearing it. It doesn't have to be CM Punk, either, I just think it would be nice if his title reign was something other than a forward pass to an incoming attraction who writes his expiration date next to the notes on his wrist.
Part of the problem is that not all fans consider a guy like CM Punk to be on the Rock's level.
But how could he be? "The Great One" enjoyed extended feuds with some of the best ever, like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Triple H, Mick Foley and Kurt Angle, in addition to smaller runs against guys like Chris Jericho, The Undertaker and The Big Show.
And Rocky comes pre-packaged with a built-in nostalgia pop.
It's no longer the "Attitude Era," as this moment in space and time more often resembles the Hulk Hogan era, where the company is built -- and revolves around -- one hero STANDING TALL in the face of any and all adversity, even though there are plenty of other guys on the roster that can help shoulder the weight.
One of these days, I hope they get the chance to prove it.