On the February 7th edition of Monday Night Raw, Vince McMahon stated that there would be a host for this year’s Wrestlemania, and that person would be announced on the following week’s Raw. The internet filled with speculation on who the host might be, but in the end, the result was bigger than anyone could have hoped for.
After a seven year hiatus from WWE, The Rock returned to his old stomping grounds on the February 14th episode of Raw to announce that he would be hosting Wrestlemania 27. Upon his arrival, what transpired was a 20-minute promo that brought the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, into an ecstatic frenzy. Here is a brief recap of what went down:
Before the final commercial break, a limo pulled up to the arena, presumed to have the Wrestlemania host inside, but instead we only saw a shot of a woman’s feet walk out. Obviously, this wasn’t The Rock. It isn’t yet known if that person will eventually be accounted for, or if the mystery woman used was a one time thing to simply swerve the audience.
When the host was ready to be announced, all the lights went out, but The Rock’s music hit shortly after and he walked down to the ring to one of the most thunderous ovations heard by a wrestling crowd in recent memory. He used his “Finally…” catch phrase three different times; once to state that he had returned to Anaheim, another that he had returned to Raw, and the final one to say that he had returned home.
He then broke his Rock character for a moment and spoke to everyone as Dwayne, and not to earn money or promote a movie but for the fans that stuck with him through all the years. He said that he loved the fans and that because of them, he’s back and promised to never leave.
The Rock went back into character and said that he called Vince McMahon, who spoke about needing a guest host for Wrestlemania, and Vince said that person would be Justin Bieber. The Rock said he disagreed because only he could be electrifying enough to host the event, and that if needed, he would lay the smack down. But to whom? The Rock was really starting to get going here.
He mentioned the Miz and berated him a bit, but then began to explain that there was only one person he wanted to see at Wrestlemania. Before he could say who, an email alert came in from the anonymous Raw general manager. Michael Cole seemed smug to cut The Rock’s promo off, but the “Great One” didn’t give him a chance to read the email. This is when The Rock put the pedal to the floor.
He hit Cole with vintage, no pun intended, lines such as the “It doesn’t matter!” phrase, told him to know his role and shut his mouth, and said that he would take the computer, turn it sideways, and stick it straight up his candy ass (which began a stretch of about ten other uses of the word “ass” over the next several minutes; so much so that the USA network apparently just got tired of bleeping them out after a the first couple).
The Rock then finished him off by saying that he looked like a drunk hobbit. Cole sold it well, who sat down and looked like he was about to cry after his mom told him he couldn’t have a cookie. If this were NBA Jam, The Rock would have been on fire at this point.
The Rock went back to talking about Wrestlemania, and the one person he would want to see face to face…John Cena! “Cena sucks!” chants started to erupt in the arena despite being the face of the company. He said that when The Rock left, Cena started talking trash about him. He stated that the WWE went from the iconic “Austin 3:16”, to the dominant “Can you smell what The Rock is cookin’?”, then to, and in a mocking voice, “You can’t see me”.
The Rock then verbally owned Cena from this point forward, doing his “You can’t see me” hand taunt and asking if he was playing peek-a-boo. The Rock then added that we could all see him, including a blindfolded Stevie Wonder in his basement.
He then switched gears to Cena’s bright purple, orange, and green shirts, and compared him to a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. To cap it off, he stated that Cena looked like he came out of Barney the dinosaur’s anus!
The Rock finished off the segment by perfectly timing some more classic catch phrases, such as “guaran-damn-teeing” that he would “layeth the smackdown” for the millions…and millions of The Rock’s fans. If you smell what The Rock is cookin’!
The was a promo that truly had to be seen to be appreciated, and his verbal assault on Cena and thinly veiled attack on the PG era certainly scratched many a die-hard wrestling fan where they so badly itched. It was refreshing to hear someone speak with actual substance to their promo, and some adult words get thrown around. Of course, this now leaves the door open to so many questions.
For starters, what did The Rock mean when he, speaking as Dwayne Johnson, promised the fans that he would never leave? It would be surprising if he stepped away from Hollywood for a while to appear regularly on Raw, but that’s essentially what he said, otherwise he would be lying.
Also, will he actually wrestle in a match at Wrestlemania? That would be another shocker, mainly because he has been so adamant in interviews over the years that although he would return to WWE, he would never actually wrestle in a match. But with the massive verbal attack aimed at Cena, it would be difficult to see any other culmination in Atlanta.
If this does result in a match against John Cena, I see this playing out very similar to the Icon vs. Icon match when The Rock faced Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 18, except this time The Rock would be in Hogan’s boots as the returning legend that is super-over with the fans, while the current face of the franchise (Cena), uncharacteristically gets booed.
Finally, what does this mean about the PG era? I would highly doubt that the PG rating is going anywhere, but The Rock has stated in recent interviews that if he came back, he would not want to participate in any PG-style program. It will be interesting to see how The Rock’s desire to continue the Attitude Era clashes against WWE’s current PG format. More interesting to see is if this feud will bring out a more adult-orientated version of John Cena, because we all know he has that in him.
Next week should certainly be an exciting episode of Raw, coming off the heels of The Rock’s return and the fallout of the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view!