Resentment of Dwayne Johnson misses forest for the trees

By Martin Firestein
Online rumors about that a lot of WWE wrestlers are angry with the Rock for coming back for WrestleMania this year, and taking a spot that could have gone to them. This continues a trend from last year when Melina, using the exact same logic, convinced John Morrison to “cold shoulder” Trish Stratus after their match at last year’s big event. But just like John and Melina last year, the wrestlers who resent the Rock’s return in 2012 aren’t seeing the bigger picture.  
The whole reason Rock is coming back is because Vince NEEDS him to come back. WWE has no true superstars right now, other than Cena and maybe Orton. For the past 5 years, if not longer, WWE should have been building the future. Shelton Benjamin, MVP, Drew McIntyre, Nexus/Wade Barrett, Sheamus, Ted DiBiase, Kofi Kingston, and on and on and on. All of these people could potentially have filled the main event slot right now, allowing for some new and intriguing match ups.

But instead, all of these stars have fallen by the wayside because of WWE's start/stop pushes. The company pushes a wrestler hard, then take that push away when the wrestler: a.) gets too big for their britches; b.) hooks up with the wrong woman backstage; c.) tells off a doctor enforcing the wellness policy; d.) botches a move here and there; or e.) Vince just loses interest in them. That wrestler is jobbed out or taken off TV entirely. Their momentum deflates like a balloon. And pretty soon, all you're left with is a bunch of midcard jabronies who might win an IC title here, a US title there, or even get a shot at one of the world titles, but they'll never win the big one. They'll never break the glass ceiling. And fans will eventually pick up on this and tune out whenever these wrestlers have a match against Vince's flavor of the month, or against one of the top stars.
It’s impossible for a wrestler to become a ratings draw when fans believe they’re LOSERS. And of course, Vince will pick up on this and keep that wrestler stagnating in the midcard because they’re not a draw and haven’t earned the right to be pushed as the top star in the company. Suddenly, Vince comes to realize he doesn’t have a top star on his that fans care about and respect, other than someone like Cena, who has been pushed down our throats for the better part of 6 years now. And when that realization comes, what will Vince do?   He'll go back to his established stars - Rock, Austin, Triple H, Undertaker, Trish Stratus, etc.
These former top stars will hog all the top spots on ppvs or TV. And the result will be that the young talent will be kept on the midcard treadmill, winning here, losing there, and none of it will matter because none of those wins will elevate them. Making the argument that Rock will draw added buys for WrestleMania and increase the amount of money each wrestler takes home in their pocket is fine for the short term. It’s true. Each wrestler will benefit financially as a result of Rock being at WrestleMania this year. But that’s taking a short term view that ignores the big picture. After WrestleMania is done, the end result is that nobody new has been elevated and the people who COULD be carrying the company into the future are left holding the bag.

And so the cycle repeats itself over and over and over. And this is what the wrestlers who blame Rock for coming back don't understand. It's not the Rock's fault, or The Undertaker’s fault, or Hunter’s fault, or Trish’s fault, or the fault of any returning top star.   The blame should fall squarely at the feet of Vince McMahon and the creative team for not creating new stars or for punishing people for backstage transgressions through the booking of their characters. Until Vince and company fix these two problems, NOTHING will change and the company will have to continue living off the vapors of the past.  

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