Dwayne Johnson, or “The Rock” as he is often called, has taken as much from the world of professional wrestling as he has contributed.
In fact, it’s starting to get to that point where he is absolute poison to current WWE Superstars.
While he is beloved by many, and while his run with the company was one of the most successful (and entertaining) of all time, each appearance since his retirement from full-time has only served to further his cause at the expense of talented up-and-comers.
Recent history has provided two sterling examples of this.
The first centers on the superstar Rusev. To be fair to Dwayne Johnson, he wasn’t completely responsible for Rusev’s burial. In fact, he only had a small part in it, but it was a significant one.
During the height of Rusev’s popularity in 2014, The Rock made an appearance wherein he basically emasculated the Bulgarian Brute in front of a crowd on Monday Night Raw, the company’s flagship cable program.
While you can blame WWE Creative more for this booking decision, Dwayne Johnson agreed to it with the air of a man more concerned with furthering his own brand than giving back to the industry by putting over new talent.
The appearance served to reduce Rusev’s fearsome image to one of comic relief during a time when he really needed the bounce-back.
The Rock didn’t need to take a beating from Rusev here, but the segment should have maintained some form of fierceness to the heel character while keeping the Dwayne Johnson brand intact.
Instead, you get a part-time veteran showing up to work a little bit of offense and leave the ring unscathed. Exhibit A is below.
Now onto Exhibit B.
You don’t have to look far to see this. Just go back to April 3 and The Rock’s appearance at WrestleMania 32.
After an entrance with a flamethrower that took entirely too long to pull off, The Rock announced attendance figures had broken new records before being accosted by the Wyatt Family.
Bray Wyatt, one of the best current performers on the mic, had the chance to cut a solid promo before turning it over to Johnson so he could do his thing.
Had the segment played out with Dwayne Johnson and Bray Wyatt going back and forth before getting into a Wyatt Family assault of The Rock, John Cena could have made a late appearance to help even the odds.
Instead Johnson buried Erick Rowan in a match that lasted six seconds, and Cena made his appearance for a two-on-three takeout that left the Wyatt Family looking completely ineffectual.
Blame that all on WWE booking if you want, but The Rock is now at a point in his legacy, where he can say “yes” and “no” to certain things.
If he is going to make an appearance at any WWE shows, he should do so with a greater spirit of generosity for the industry that made him.
That doesn’t have to come at the expense of his legacy.
A simple statement to Vince McMahon that he’ll go over but not in a way that neuters talent could have gotten Rowan and the rest of the Wyatt Family more heat than what that segment derived.
While it got a pop for the live audience, it’s hard to look at any of the Wyatts — from Bray to Braun — without the sense that they have turned full-jobber on the WWE roster.
The Rock will always be a legendary character in sports entertainment no matter what; but Dwayne Johnson needs to stop hogging glory from WWE Superstars, who have put their bodies and reputations on the line year-round.
The Wyatts deserved that much; every full-timer worthy of the roster does.
But what do you think, readers?
Is Dwayne Johnson past his expiration date with the WWE? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via WWE]