The Rock has returned to WWE on Monday Night Raww and he's back to beef with current WWE Champion CM Punk. The first encounter between the two went down last night (Jan. 7, 2013) in Tampa, Florida, and both guys brought out the big guns early.
And they both showed they're the same guys they've always been.
The Rock, when he wants to be, is one of the very best on the microphone in history. But what makes him the best? Back when he was a heel in the late 90s and early 00s, his derogatory catchphrases were the toast of the town, so much so that fans turned him babyface. His catchphrases became his calling card.
He wouldn't be "The Great One" without them.
That's why it was no real surprise when he brought them all back with him to Tampa last night, and even busted out a few new ones like Straight Edge Scrotum, Cookie Puss, and Punk-Eye the Crackhead. Childish? You bet, but that's who The Rock has always been.
Insults like that are used in one of two ways: Either you're beat and the only way to save face is to insult your opponent in such a way that everyone forgets you're beat or you demoralize your opponent with them. The Rock ran the gamut last night. At times, he was interspersing his childish, pandering insults with legitimate points. For instance, Punk promised changed and he failed to come through on all of it. A revolution, you say? You couldn't even bring back ice cream bars.
Insert Cookie Puss joke now.
There wasn't anything wrong with what Rock did and if that's your bag, that's fine. No one can fault you for enjoying that brand of promo.
Punk, on the other hand, elevated his game and after taking Rock's best shot, responded with the following. This gave me chills while he was delivering it:
"Unlike a lot of people, I'm glad you're back. I don't care what your schedule is. I don't care if you work here 16 days a year, 365 days a year, you could be Santa Claus and have his schedule, you could work one day a year, I'll still kick your ass. I don't care how many movies you film every year. I know how hard that schedule probably is but every time you come back, whenever you decide to grace us with your presence, I'm going to kick your ass. Because this isn't Candy Land, I'm like nobody you've ever faced before. You can make fun of the color of my t-shirt and you can talk about pie and you can sing songs and you can rhyme and you can do your tired lame ass schtick; I just want you to know that come Royal Rumble -- and you've got three weeks to realize this -- I'm going to kick your ass because I'm the best in the world. I'm the best thing going today, I'm the best guy you've ever stepped foot in the ring with. And you need to understand, congratulations Rock, you just graduated from the kiddie table. But you just bit off more than you can chew. You're playing little league with your little insults and your rhymes and your millions and millions and your finallys, and I'm in the big leagues and I'm swinging for the fence. You need to understand that your little jabs and your insults, it's all kiddie games. You can't leave a mark on the champ's face. Come Royal Rumble, understand when you step in the ring your arms are just too short to box with god."
He's not harping on the same points John Cena was harping on. He doesn't care that Rock isn't around for the fans because he doesn't care about those fans. He only cares about being the best in the world and he's going to prove that's what he is when he steps in the ring with Rock and kicks his ass. And every time Rock comes around after, he's going to kick his ass again, because he's the best and that's what he does.
There are going to be two Raw shows before the Royal Rumble. Two more rounds for both guys to get their best in. Round one, on my scorecard, goes to Punk.