Michael N. Todaro
The Rock is back in WWE and that's supposed to be a good thing. So why does it feel like it's not?
When The Rock first left WWE for the greener pastures of Hollywood, he did so in a way that dictated a total break up with his former employers. An appearance once every few years for a comedy spot was about all we could expect of him and it worked out rather well. His film career has exploded.
But once he let his ex-wife take over as manager of his career, his edict changed. A return to the business that made him famous came quickly after and since then, he's juggled the two in a way that only enhances his image across the board.
You would think that would be good news for the WWE fan. After all, The Rock is a veritable legend, one of the best promo artists in history, and one of the most popular stars in the industry.
So why does it feel so unsatisfying having him back?
Your mileage may vary but when Rock was at his absolute best, around 2000, I was 13-years-old. That was an age when I thought it was just the coolest thing in the world to ask someone a question only to cut them off right as they started to answer by shouting, "IT DOESN'T MATTER!"
That's what made The Rock appealing to me. He was cool like that.
Now, though, it's 13 years later. I'm almost 26 and my tastes have changed. I no longer find it cute and funny to troll people like that, therefore it's difficult to find it funny when Rock does it. He still has a few good lines -- I did enjoy the time he called John Cena a homeless power ranger -- but it seems more often than not that he's only ever searching for the next great insult.
And they all leave me wanting.
Again, age has something to do with it. Rock talking about Paul Heyman's penis, calling Vickie Guerrero a bee-yotch, bringing up CM Punk's "Straight Edge Scrotum," Cookie Puss, Twinkie Tits, and so on and so forth only serves to make me shake my head and wonder what any of it has to do with pro wrestling. It's not that I can't enjoy a good wisecrack or two, it's that I'm no fan of how Rock goes about it.
I was before, I'm not anymore.
In recent comments sections, a few of you have wondered how I can criticize the Rock for his lack of evolution while connecting to Stone Cold Steve Austin and his character, one that never really grew much throughout the years. The difference, of course, is that Austin is someone I can identify with. Grade school insults? I'm not in grade school anymore. Going against the man and stunning your boss at every turn, though?
Who hasn't wanted to do that in their life?
The best part about Austin's character is that he doesn't need to evolve. When it comes down to it, he's all business. He wants to come in, whoop your ass, take your title, and give you the finger while he's doing it. All of that falls within the parameters of pro wrestling.
You know, the show I'm trying to watch when I turn on Raw.
I don't need to see concerts. I don't need to see someone attempt to be a stand up comedian. I can get that elsewhere, and I can get it so much better than what Rock can offer. What I want is for "The Great One" to join us in 2013 and come up with a more creative way of blasting Punk and Paul Heyman without bringing up their genitalia.
Is that so much to ask?