Rock and John Cena were billed as “Once in a Lifetime” on WrestleMania 28. The only problem was, it’s not.
The iconic couple would meet at the next WrestleMania in a rematch. When you consider that WrestleMania 28 earned 1,217,000 purchases, making it the most bought wrestling event in history, with global gross sales of more than $ 67 million, in addition to the event that set a new record for the highest revenue in WWE history, which is earned $ 8.9 million, it becomes less surprising that they wanted to do it again.
And although the two men are respected today, things got heated during the rivalry. The original plan was for John Cena to cross, but for the WrestleMania weekend, Vince McMahon changed.
So what was the catalyst for the first meeting? Rock took the WWE seriously for Hollywood around 2003, after several years of immersion and coming out. He truly wasn’t there after WrestleManai 20 in 2004 and won’t see him again until 2011 on WWE TV.
Of course, at that time he became a big star in Hollywood. In 2002, a young rookie named John Cena made his debut. By 2005, he had won his first of 16 world championships.
Price basically replaced The Rock, while WWE’s leading babyface and a simple comment in an interview made Big think.
“I left, and he gave a series of interviews, radio interviews and I just felt – someone referred me and said,‘ Hey, is The Rock coming back? “And he said, ‘I’m not too sure.’
“I just didn’t like the way he said it and I was left with it. Years later, when I returned, I talked to him [chairman] Vince McMahon and we thought what if we really took it and created things like that. That’s perfect. “
Cena was never shy when he shared his dislike of freelance performers. As one of the toughest WWE talents ever, he felt he had every right to stand on his own turf.
“This is my position on The Rock, and he’s a really nice guy,” Cena said in 2010 before their quarrel. “I met him, and he is a fantastic human being.
“What they’re looking at me for a bit is, and I guess this is my flaw, because I hear it every day with young talent, middle-class talent, with people who aspire to get into this business, I hear . ‘ Rock falls into that category. At one point he loved wrestling and wanted to do it his whole life.
“Then explain to me why he can’t go back to the anniversary show, why he can’t show up at WrestleMania. Simply put, it’s because he wants to be an actor, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
“He’s a very good actor, he’s very successful, he’s done very well for himself, and hanging out with sports entertainment doesn’t do much for his acting career, so I understand why he doesn’t come back.
“Just don’t fuck with me and tell me you love me [wrestling] when you just do it to do something else. “
The irony now, of course, is that Cena did exactly the same thing and is now tailoring life in Hollywood. Funny how things change!
But back in 2011 Rock came back to host WrestleMania where Cena led against then-WWE champion The Miz. It would finally cost Price, and the next night on RAW, the pair for the first time ever prepared a match for the next WrestleMania a year in advance.
During the making of the match, the couple fought a promo battle in the middle of the ring on RAW, and Cena actually called The Rock out – one of the greatest speakers in the history of the business – because they had notes on hand to remember his promo.
The rock was momentarily and visibly furious. From there, reports suggest behind the scenes Brahma Bull was ready to kill Cena behind the scenes after the segment, and The Rock admits they almost got hit.
“He is a great guy. He’s one of the best guys out there, but here’s what we figured out: If we wanted to build the two biggest matchups and create something special in Miami and New York, we’ll do it this way.
“And we could schedule it badly. People might think it’s not real or you may be challenged to let people go: “It’s so real it’s not real.” But in this case it worked out very well and through all that sharpness and attitude and bite we had and we almost got hit behind the scenes and one night in the ring.
Literally, we were nose to nose, it was every second. And through that we became shiny buds in a crazy, weird, completely inexplicable way. “
Most reports claim that what Cena said is not scripted and would be supported by almost all indicators.
The Wresting Observer reported that it was time: “The verbal battle between The Rock and John Cena at Monday’s Portland RAW Supershow was designed to make Price prevail this time around.
“WWE officials are determined to react 50/50 to both at WrestleMania 28 in Miami.”
Reports suggest that Cena was supposed to win at WrestleMania 28, but for the weekend shows those plans changed. Given the fact that the show was in Miami, the hometown of The Rock, it was speculated that it played a role in The Rock’s victory and gave WWE a chance to tell a longer story.
Much like on WrestleMania 18 with Rock and Hulk Hogan, the current star, the full-time guy has to end up winning. Rock still won, and the very next night at RAW he announced that he would be the WWE champion again to secure his tenth reign.
“I think Cena had a little trouble doing the job, because here’s Cena who has been carrying the torch for the last 10 years at the time,” WM28 judge Mike Chioda said.
“It simply came to our notice then. Here’s the return of Rock after so many years in Hollywood and he has to go out to work with Rock? “
Chioda continued, “There was a little heat there. I think there has been a bit of a quarrel, but, you have to go where the money goes. So they put Rock on and I was happy about it. In a way, I felt bad for John. “
Rock will win the WWE title at the Royal Rumble next year from long-running CM Punk. At the same event, Cena would win the title tournament to punch a ticket to the main event of WrestleMania 29. Rock v Cena II was included, but this time for the title.
Mainly due to The Rock’s injury in the match, the second outing was not as good as the first. The Finisher-fest ended with Cena taking the win and Rock raising his hand on stage for a real transition. Some may argue that it was more significant for Cena to win this way, but many also feel CM Punk in that equation. Maybe it was supposed to be a triple threat.
It turned out, that year, it worked out for Punk. He had to host Undertaker one of the last great matches in his WrestleMania series.
As great as The Rock was, so it is, it seems that Price’s big win was more about The Rock than Price. The eventual win was a by-product of Rock that got a moment in Miami and another string of titles. Did that mean more to Cena when he finally won? That is debatable.
It could be argued that a stressed first win would do just as much. Perhaps the strongest motivator for this to happen again, was the incredible money earned the first time.
Today is Wrestlemania Week, so join talkWRESTLING team for a huge Mania review show! Listen to talkSPORT’s exclusive interviews with 5x WWE Champion Daniel Bryan and first British WWE Champion Drew McIntyre, plus “The Game” Triple H about why there’s no match this year, and Simon Miller of WhatCulture joins us to break the card. Enjoy!