Outdoors of fully catering to society as a complete and pushing its present roster and storylines to the again burner, there isn’t a match the WWE can placed on that will draw a much bigger field workplace than The Rock returning to the ring for a first-time ever matchup together with his cousin and present Undisputed WWE Champion Roman Reigns. Properly, they’re second cousins. However cousin simply sounds higher when you’ll be able to craft a narrative. The mainstream attraction of the matchup, mixed with how it will maintain the corporate’s informal and diehard followers , would trump any present plans in place to make the match occur, anytime, wherever.
After all within the wrestling world, there isn’t a much bigger stage than WrestleMania. On paper, pairing the 2 makes excellent sense. In actuality, it’s way more difficult, with solely specs of readability given to the scenario on Friday, when The Rock appeared on The Pat McAfee Present. ESPN’s latest darling requested The Rock about the opportunity of coming again to the corporate to problem Reigns. The Rock revealed that he met with Nick Khan and Vince McMahon in January 2022, and a match between himself and the Tribal Chief was locked in for Wrestlemania 39, which occurred 15 months later in April, at SoFi Stadium.
In response to The Rock, there have been handshakes and hugs after the assembly, however the match fell aside when discussions occurred about how the story would go, and the corporate, Reigns, and The Rock couldn’t provide you with one thing that happy all of them. Reigns ended up defeating Cody Rhodes in that present’s important occasion. [Ed. note: Cody Rhodes winning seemed like a real possibility, but nope.] One of many cool issues about skilled wrestling is that there’s multiple probability to drag off a dream match. And The Rock additionally mentioned Friday WrestleMania 40 subsequent 12 months remains to be on the desk and added “I’m open” a number of instances. The Rock’s “openness” as considered one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors would possibly solely be because of the coinciding Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes, however WWE would take any purpose at this level to deliver Dwayne again inside its partitions. The corporate’s need to deliver again The Rock in such a predominant style is a self-own about how stale Reigns’ title reign has grow to be, if not your entire on-camera product. Star energy or not, why does the WWE want a part-timer and a one-off look from a legend to finish the spot for the largest match of the 12 months? Rumors will recirculate as to the match being a risk after these uncommon public feedback from The Rock on it, however the former Black Adam talking on it doesn’t imply it makes any extra sense.
The Rock hasn’t wrestled a match longer than six seconds since 2013, when he confronted fellow former-full-timer-turned-actor John Cena — who was phenomenal in Peacemaker — at WrestleMania 29, a main-event conflict the place The Rock tore a number of tendons. The Rock can be just a few weeks shy of 52 for that match, and even in as titan-like form as Dwayne Johnson is, wrestling a main-event caliber match takes preparation and a stage of athleticism that I doubt The Rock nonetheless has. Have a look at Johnson’s contemporaries. The Undertaker was severely restricted on the finish of his profession at the same age. Stone Chilly Steve Austin seemed nice in comparison with expectations in his return to the ring at WrestleMania 38, however the match didn’t contain a lot outdoors the brawling model that at all times suited Austin greatest.
Doubt me? Ask Reigns himself, as Jimmy Fallon did earlier this 12 months. Reigns mentioned The Rock does two of the three issues wanted to be an lively skilled wrestler completely together with his weight coaching and diet. His conditioning? The Rock hasn’t taken a bump in over a decade. Can he do it? Completely. Ric Aptitude and Terry Funk retired what number of instances? Neither of them tried to important occasion WrestleMania in a match that will seemingly be for 2 world titles, and subsequently, expectations should be harshly excessive. And The Rock making an attempt to drag that off now’s a determined cry for assist. It’d be an awesome spectacle to see, however the match doesn’t need the titles or the large block of time generally carved out for WrestleMania important occasions.
Reigns himself has labored his lightest schedule ever this 12 months whereas being wholesome and his subsequent match is reportedly not scheduled till November. Whereas Reigns is all-but locked into the WrestleMania 40 important occasion, a route the place it’s not a rematch with Rhodes if The Rock can’t compete, or Johnson really pulling it off and wrestling an extended match for the primary time in over a decade, is simply as unlikely. Getting a narrative down that satisfies WWE’s new possession group, TKO, in addition to Reigns and The Rock, appears extra seemingly to attract eyes to the product. It’d be one other choice of these in and round WWE chasing cash over the very best product potential.