Here's the Rock's return promo on Raw last night (Oct. 31, 2011) accepting John Cena's offer to tag together at Survivor Series against The Miz and R-Truth.
I think we learned a couple things here.
If there was ever any doubt before, it's completely gone now -- the taped promo doesn't work. The biggest reason for this is that the live crowd doesn't know when and how to react, especially if you're dealing with a crowd like the one that showed up at the Philips Arena in Atlanta last night.
Secondly, the gray in the beard is a bad look for a guy who is, admittedly enough, living on an awful lot of nostalgia. That means we're remembering the Rock that used to be and wanting that version of him. He shows up with gray in his beard and suddenly I'm feeling old.
Finally, and maybe it's just me, but I felt like this was one of the weaker promos we've seen from Rock. This just didn't feel like "The Great One." This was probably the only time I've ever felt like he simply mailed it in. Like it was an annoyance that he had to take time out to tape the promo and just got through it rather than owned it, like he usually does.
The "Fruit Loop Troop" was a hell of a line, though.
The biggest problem with all this is the booking of Cena leading into teaming with Rock. Having him choose his arch nemesis to be his tag partner only makes sense if he absolutely needs to do it. When he goes out and smashes both Miz and Truth in the main event, what's the point of Rock being around? The match at Survivor Series feels like it will just be a squash that WWE wants us to pay for just so we can see Rock back in action for the first time in seven years.
That's not good enough.
We've dealt with garbage booking for months on end with the promise of Rock coming back and inserting a needle full of adrenaline into our collective arms. This was thought even more promising when news came to pass that Rock has a great deal of creative control over what he does on TV.
But so far, it's not going well.
The rest of the relevant videos from Raw are after the jump.