As we close out the week there is an issue that really struck a cord with me and while I tried my best to avoid the inevitable conflict, I couldn't help but voice my opinion. In order for me to give the issue the full attention it deserves, let me catch you up to make sure everyone is on the same page. In Thursday's installment of Ask WNW I was asked the following question:
Why is CM Punk hating on the Rock? I really didn’t think that Punk would have a problem with him being back. I think the boys in the back should stop all the hate and like you said, take notes on what he does to get over.
CM Punk explained his problem with The Rock at this link. For me to say anything else would be to put words in Punk’s mouth which would be disrespectful and inaccurate. As for my own personal reaction, I can understand Punk’s frustration, however, if I was a WWE wrestler, I would try to learn all I could from The Rock. He’s an extremely rare talent that only comes around every couple of decades and anyone that criticizes him runs the risk of looking like a hater. The Rock earned his spot, it’s time for some of the other guys to do the same.
It was in the comment area below where things started to heat up as people began to take sides. Some readers sided with The Rock while others flocked to CM Punk. Ultimately I wanted to avoid taking sides, stating what I felt everyone not a main event level worker should try to accomplish. In the end, I came off pro-Rock and anti-Punk, at least on this topic. In writing this, I'm not trying to convince you to share my opinion nor am I trying to condemn you for your own opinion, but I would like to continue the discussion that was started on Thursday.
Before I include CM Punk's comments, I want to type a disclaimer of sorts. This is an entirely different situation than what is going on with TNA Impact Wrestling. While on the surface it might look like I'm presenting a double-standard, I can assure you that is not the case. TNA is an entirely different animal. They brought in Hulk Hogan and everyone Hogan had them sign because they felt it would take them to the next level. It's been two years and while there has been growth, the company is still not competing with WWE. One could argue the company was growing just fine without the added expense and the ratings effect Hogan has had has been minimal. Before moving on I want to try and quell any hate I might get on this topic by presenting the average rating for TNA Impact/Impact Wrestling:
- 2007: 1.04
- 2008: 1.06
- 2009: 1.14
- 2010: 1.06
- 2011: 1.17
- 2012: 1.12
Hogan and Eric Bischoff came to TNA in January 2010 where they brought noticeable and immediate changes. As you can see from the ratings data, not only was the growing trend reversed, but there was a hiccup of decline before the numbers went back up last year. The numbers so far this year do not reflect growth and have been below the 2009 average.
Back to the issue at hand, here is what CM Punk had to say about The Rock:
“I just think there’s a lot of us backstage and behind the scenes that bust our a– and we do it 365 days a year, and Rock just kinda comes in with his veneers and he’s smiling at everybody and – I don’t fault anyone for making money, he can make all the money he wants, but when he preaches about WWE, how much he loves it, and how much it’s family, and he loves being there, and nobody ever sees him because he goes right from his limo to his dressing room, from his dressing room to the ring, it’s a stark contrast – he says one thing and does another.”
In his comments, Punk isn't faulting The Rock for making money, returning to WWE, taking someone else's place, etc. He's basically calling him a hypocrite for claiming to love the business yet having nothing to do with the business except when it's good for him. Reading in between the lines, the picture Punk is painting is The Rock claims to be part of the family while shunning the family. Saying he's a team player but isolating himself as the superstar.
Here's my issue - The Rock has earned his spot. He doesn't have to do anything for anyone. If someone has a problem with it, do something about it. We've been waiting since the days of Steve Austin and The Rock for someone else to step up and take the big leap to superstardom. Recently, we had one worker send an anonymous text-message to another publication, attempting to bury The Rock for coming in for the big Wrestlemania payday. I still remember all the hate The Rock had after his 2008 WWE Hall of Fame appearance when he inducted his grandfather and father.
Obviously jealously plays a factor with added resentment for The Rock "selling out" for Hollywood, however, the hate bothers me. The Rock is the name that has made Wrestlemania XXVIII the most talked about Wrestlemania in several years. He's proven he can still make the crowd eat out of the palm of his hand, moving merchandise and trending Twitter like he's been a staple for the past ten years.
The Rock is on an entirely different level than even the top guys in WWE today. Did you how everyone else looked in the ring next to him at Survivor Series? I'm not trying to drive The Rock bandwagon but there's a point to my argument. Where are the big stars today? Why is it the guys that should be stepping up to his level are the guys burying him with their comments?
We don't see comments like this coming from the people entitled to make them. You don't see guys like The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H or Steve Austin bellyaching about someone else. Punk is entitled to his opinion, in fact it's his overly opinionated personality that has got him to where he is today. He can say what he wants and I respect the heck out of him for proving everyone that doubted him wrong. However, it's time to let your work do the talking. The Rock's success should be a motivator for everyone to step up their game to get better. It's time to ditch the overly sensitive attitudes, worrying about someone else and start stepping up to the plate to entertain.
I challenge every WWE worker to put up or shut up. I want to see the success of The Rock surpassed. I want to see the next big superstar. Stop complaining, it does nothing more than make you look like a hater. Even in CM Punk's comments, where I believe he was giving an honest opinion, it made him look bad.
The stage is set, Wrestlemania is here. It's time for CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, The Miz... someone.... anyone to take the torch and run with it. We want the next megastar, the business needs the next megastar. Let's go, the time is now... show us what you've got!