MR. TITO: The Rock and John Cena Returning to WWE? Submitted by Mr. Tito on 09/22/2020 at 11:57 PM
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Wrestlemania 29 from 2013 was headlined by a huge main event for the second year in a row, John Cena vs. the Rock. This time around, compared to the previous year, the WWE Title was on the line with the Rock being WWE Champion. John Cena won the match, avenging his previous loss to the Rock at Wrestlemania 28, but this match had an even dire consequence: it caused the Rock to STOP wrestling for the WWE.
The Rock tore his abdominal and abductor tendons right off his pelvis during his match with John Cena at Wrestlemania 29. To his credit, the Rock finished the match but it reportedly finished his WWE career at that time. Reportedly, the RAW after Wrestlemania was going to set-up a potential Rock vs. Brock Lesnar match that might have used a 1 year hype model like Rock vs. Cena used for Wrestlemania 28. It's very likely that the Rock had some sort of insurance policy backing his acting career and/or this may have caused production delays for whatever film was next due to a need for surgery.
And Rock, between 2013 and 2019, made the right choice... According to Forbes, here is the Rock earned for total earnings between June 1 to June 1:
2016-2017: $65 Million
2017-2018: $124 Million
2018-2019: $89.4 Million
2019-2020: $87.5 Million
It's pretty obvious why the Rock stopped wrestling matches for the WWE based on those earnings...
Meanwhile, his opponent from Wrestlemania 29, John Cena, significantly reduced his in-ring role after his US Title run during 2015 to the point where he's just doing annual appearances at Wrestlemania. In case you haven't noticed, however, his appearances at the last 4 Wrestlemanias have been very light at best... At Wrestlemania 33, he did the mixed tag match with Nikki Bella and Miz/Maryse. Wrestlemania 34 had him losing a quick match to the Undertaker. Wrestlemania 35 just had him messing around with Elias. Wrestlemania 36 was a non-match with the Fiend/Bray Wyatt. It's like he is preserving himself to something...
At first, Cena was doing cameos, roles in comedies, and animated roles... During 2018, he starred in the Transformers spin-off Bumble Bee but for 2020, he was supposed to be appearing in Fast & the Furious 9 (F9) for the Summer of 2020 but COVID-19 delayed that (more on that in a moment). Cena is also going to appear in the next Suicide Squad film.
Pretty obvious where John Cena was headed, ironically following the Rock to Hollywood. After all, John Cena once called out the Rock for turning his back on or betraying the WWE and its fanbase to become an actor in Hollywood. Once John Cena saw the value of an acting career, he obviously apologized to the Rock for saying such a thing.
FAST FORWARD TO 2020...
From this headline posted on NoDQ, the Rock reportedly said the following about Roman Reigns when discussing the idea of returning to the wrestling ring:
"Feels like the one that would make sense, right, would be Roman [Reigns]. In terms of box-office draw…"
"I would be honored not only to share the ring with Roman and to go back to the WWE. But of course, I would be honored to have him raise his hand in that one."
Hmmm... Why would Dwayne Johnson say that? Sure, he was probably messing around and just stirring things in his own medium.
Or could he be serious about an in-ring return?
Would John Cena also be serious about an in-ring return?
Hell, maybe Batista could return while we're at it? We never did get that Batista vs. Brock Lesnar match to complete Ohio Valley Wrestling "Class of 2002" big match collection against each other (I feel that we should get another try at Orton vs. Lesnar, though).
And why would that be possible?
Thank you, COVID-19. The Coronavirus that has ruined everything that has large public gatherings in addition to forcing people to stay at home, more than ever. Sporting events are playing to empty arenas or with just a few fans. Bars and clubs had to close or are limiting capacity (hurting them financially). Many offices are closed with most of their workforce working-from-home.
Movie productions have been shut down, thanks to COVID... Thus, opportunities to make more movies is currently limited. On top of that, however, is the fact that Movie Theaters were greatly impacted and many have been closed for months. For the few that have opened, they don't have any new movies to sell to the public to try seeing movies in a theater again. It also varies state by state, as several states have strict guidelines for massive gatherings. Something involving sports might be allowed, but something within an enclosed theater might not. But again, there needs to be NEW MOVIES to sell in your theater and most of the largest blockbusters for 2020 have been delayed... Ghostbusters, Black Widow, Wonder Woman, and Fast & the Furious 9 were all pushed back, some to 2021.
But here is my question... Will people attend movie theaters again?
EVEN IF there is a vaccine presented for COVID-19, the disruption in the theater business could limit financing for movies permanently. In case you haven't noticed, Streaming services are on the rise for 2020... Netflix experienced a rebirth, Disney+ debuted and is growing, HBO MAX debuted and is growing, among other newer streaming services. In light of theater closings, several movies meant for movie theaters, Trolls World Tour or Mulan, debuted either on Cable/Satellite On-Demand or a streaming service.
Movie production companies prefer the Movie Theater model versus anything involving television of streaming services. Why? For one, they control the film to prevent piracy... Movie theaters have contracts in place to guarantee that the film provided won't be stolen and sold to the public. When the make something available on television or streaming, it can be easily ripped into a downloadable medium. Because movie theaters are the exclusive presenter of the film, the movie studios can maximize earnings by selling it in mass quantities to over 4,000 theaters in the United States alone, let alone for International movie theaters.
On top of that, seeing a movie in a theater usually makes for a good date night or something for groups of teenagers to do on a weekend. It was big business for movie studios...
But COVID-19 could have ruined the entire Hollywood industry for motion pictures, or at least caused it to shrink considerably. I believe that consumers are now going to be cautious about where they go or where they send their kids due to the fear of what happened during 2020. In addition to that, our habits have changed significantly... We're staying at home more than ever and watching streaming services more than ever. Many entertainment venues ranging from sports, theme parks, clubs, and of course theaters will have to rethink their business models while hoping that the vaccine is successful to survive.
So what does that matter for the Rock, John Cena, or even the 50+ Batista if he's interested?
If the film making experience isn't as lucrative as it once was, then making some quick cash with the WWE would become more appealing.
The Rock, John Cena, and Batista could all command HUGE one-night payoffs just as Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg have enjoyed for the past few years. Sure, you'll have to endure a few days in Saudi Arabia, but if you're a BIG STAR like Lesnar and Goldberg, Vince will place you on the Private Jet... Just ask for the "Lesnar Deal" and Vince will give it to you. Are you kidding me? Comcast and FOX would trip over themselves for more Rock and John Cena on their RAW and Smackdown shows. AND THEY DON'T HAVE TO WRESTLE... Just appear and save any match opportunities for Pay Per View exclusively... Just like Lesnar.
WWE's viewership numbers are in the toilet for 2020... We are now becoming consistently under 2 million viewers for RAW despite being available to 85 million homes, while Smackdown is barely above 2 million viewers despite being available to 120 million homes for FOX. The leverage for The Rock and John Cena has never been higher.
I believe this suggestion of Rock returning to face Roman Reigns is more serious than you think, even if he appeared to be joking when answering the question. WWE is still very profitable despite COVID-19. Hollywood is in deep crap because their feeder system for movie revenues, the Theaters, might be impaired forever.
Because the WWE needs major stars right now and viewership numbers are declining, the Rock and John Cena have major leverage to return on whatever schedules they'd choose to work.
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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