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The Rock returns to Raw: How WWE should -- and shouldn't -- handle it

The Rock is returning to Raw tonight (Jan. 7, 2013) in Tampa. Here's how WWE should handle it.

David Shankbone

As you may or may not have heard by now, The Rock makes his long awaited return to WWE on tonight's (Jan. 7, 2013) episode of Monday Night Raw down in Tampa, Florida. He's coming back to (apparently) set up his program with CM Punk leading to a match between the two at Royal Rumble with the WWE championship on the line.

While competition with the BCS National Championship Game is fierce, it should be a big moment for WWE. But really, it all depends on how they handle it.

For too long now, Rocky returning has meant taking out a 20 minute block of Raw for what usually amounts to a masturbatory, self-congratulatory promo where "The Great One" wastes entirely too much time talking about how happy he is to be back "home" while the live audience kickstarts "Boots 2 Asses" chants.

Let's go ahead and call that exactly what it is: awful.

It's also the wrong way to go about booking tonight's show. Do we really need to sit through another dragging segment where Rock comes off like a mark for himself and all he accomplishes is to tell everyone how great it is that he's back?

We really don't.

The hope is that tonight will be different. The biggest reason it should? The Rock, for all intents and purposes, is going to be an active member of the roster over the next three months. He'll appear on more shows than he'll miss and that means we don't need to spend 20 minutes saluting his return. He'll be back next week.

It means WWE can skip all that in favor of simply running whatever storyline they have up their sleeve which, according to rumors and Rock himself, is something big.

Here's to hoping it pops off without an extended circle jerk before it.

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