WrestleMania 29 preview: The Rock vs. John Cena

WWE

When "Once in a Lifetime" is good for a near record breaking number of pay-per-view (PPV) buys, it becomes "Twice in a Lifetime" in a hurry. That's what we're getting with The Rock vs. John Cena tonight (Sun., April 7, 2013) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in the main event of WrestleMania 29.

WWE Championship

The Rock (c) vs. John Cena

When Cena started calling out Rock years ago, it was clear there was an end goal in mind. That really kicked off when "The Great One" returned to cost "The Fruity One" the WWE championship at WrestleMania 27. The next night on Raw they booked the main event of WrestleMania 28 and when the match was a screaming success at the box office, the decision was made to run it one more time but with much higher stakes this time around. Now, the two will collide at tonight's (Sun., April 7, 2013) WrestleMania 29 pay-per-view (PPV) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with the WWE championship up for grabs.

The Road to WrestleMania 29

Rock came back in January to kick off his feud with CM Punk, who was the WWE champion at the time. This was set up at Raw 1000 in July when "The Brahma Bull" revealed he would receive a title shot at whomever was champion come the Royal Rumble PPV on Jan. 27.

That happened to be Punk, who rode a streak of 434-days consecutively as champion into the match. Rock ended that streak, winning the title one match after Cena won the Royal Rumble to set up their rematch.

After some posturing to get Rock a rematch with Punk at Elimination Chamber to help pop another buyrate, the match was finally set in stone just in time for the two to get about one month's worth of television to continue their story.

It started with the two having a confrontation that included Cena saying he needed to win and he knows he'll do so while Rock countered with Cena only thinks he can win while he actually knows he can because he already did it once before.

After two weeks away to promote movies, Rock's return to Raw, with just two weeks until the match, yielded a question and answer segment with a panel of legends. In it, Cena explained his confidence comes from the fact that he feels as though Rock didn't defeat him at WrestleMania 28, he defeated himself by getting cocky at the worst possible time.

But he won't make the same mistake twice.

Then on the WrestleMania 29 go home edition of Raw, they both got one last chance to say everything they needed to say leading into the match at the big dance. These were the final words left ringing through fan's ears heading into their showdown in New Jersey.

First, Cena:

Then, Rock:

Ready?

What's at Stake?

The WWE championship, for starters. It's the company's flagship title and it sure seems like, for all intents and purposes, Rock beat Punk to win it for the sole purpose of dropping it to Cena and giving him his ringing endorsement, making him a babyface on par with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan.

Or so WWE hopes.

And that's what's really at stake here: Cena's credibility as the number one babyface in the company. Because when Rock is around, Cena steps down from that role and that's not what the company wants for its biggest star. It wouldn't be a problem if "The Great One" was a full-timer but he's not. His press tours are for his film work while Cena works tirelessly to promote the WWE brand at every available opportunity.

It's why he has to win here and he has to get the ultimate rub from defeating a legend and getting a ringing endorsement. The hostile New York environment may sway that heavily one way, and not the way WWE wants, so it will be interesting to see the fans react to a Cena win followed by a handshake and hand raise from Rock.

____________________________________

You may not agree with the idea for this creatively, but it's impossible to argue against the decision to book the rematch from a business perspective. Not only did it do 1.2 million buys the first time around, it will do wonders for Cena to get his win back and begin yet another reign with the WWE championship, if that is indeed the plan. Do we think it is, Cagesiders?

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