KELLER: Notebook - Final thoughts headed into tonight's Rock & Cena main event at Survivor Series
By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
-Tonight is huge for WWE. What happens tonight at Survivor Series sets the tone for WrestleMania hype. There are a lot of things to look for tonight, not the least of which is how do fans react to The Rock at Madison Square Garden. Has endorsing John Cena like he did after WrestleMania last year affect how the anti-Cena fans embrace him. He came in as the anti-Cena, which many adult male fans loved. Then he got all palsy with him and lost his edge. C.M. Punk has since taken over the anti-Cena hero in WWE. In fact, is there a chance that MSG fans will turn against Rock and actually start to cheer for Cena; perhaps all the talk by Cena about his being there every week and Rock being the absentee star who drops in when his busy movie schedule allows is catching on. It'll be interesting, for sure. If WWE, by slight chance, has decided to turn or start to turn Cena heel tonight, would MSG fans siding against Rock and with Cena cause an audible. All of that said, I expect Rock to be wildly cheered and Cena to be booed by the usual fans, but it's New York, it's MSG, and you just never know until it all actually plays out.
-The Twitter obsession by WWE was at its worst, and most counter-productive, on last Monday's Raw. The fact that The Rock joined in made him seem small-time. Rock is too big of a star to be marking out for "trending on Twitter." He's way bigger than that. If Zach Ryder can trend on Twitter, what does it really mean if Rock can, too? What I think was more lame was when he last appeared by tape on Raw a few weeks ago and gave that speech about how his answer to Cena's invite to team with him was "hell no," only to then do a 180 because "his fans on Facebook and Twitter" told him to. This was on two levels. For one, it made viewers think Rock was a follower, not a leader, pandering to his fans on social media sites rather than doing what he felt in his gut he should do. Also, most of Rock's fans don't want him to team with Cena, so by going on TV and saying his fans told him to team with Cena, it could backfire by turning the 99 percent (give or take) who don't send Rock social media messages and who don't want him to team with Cena aren't as important as Rock's "very special fans" who do spent time sending him messages on Twitter.
-On UFC 139 on pay-per-view last night, there wasn't one mention of "trending on Twitter." I have no idea if anything from last night trended on Twitter or not, but it doesn't matter at all to UFC"s bottom line. UFC is going to be popular because they put on a great show and do what they do best, without distracting themselves with bragging about how many Twitter followers various fighters have or how often they've trended on Twitter lately. Frankly, UFC Is too busy putting on a great show to get bogged down and distracted by such nonsense.
-I saw an add on my cable guide today that advertised Survivor Series on PPV tonight. No mention of The Rock in the ad.
-Back to the main event of Survivor Series, I think WWE lost a lot of customers tonight by not building up a reason for Rock to his hands on R-Truth and Miz. Truth and Miz are just bit-players in this entire main event, standing in the background, literally, before taking a beating in the final hard-sell angle for the PPV. The entire selling point for this show was about tension between Cena and Rock, and the question of whether they can get along. That's a nice subplot, an undercurrent that could add depth to the match, but the main thrust of the match should be about how Miz and Truth are such annoying, cheating, ruthless heels that it was enough to bring Cena and Rock together. Instead, Truth and Miz didn't do anything that would cause fans to think Survivor Series is the setting for Rock and Cena to get their revenge. Truth and MIz are to Rock and Cena what the Washington Generals have been for decades to the Harlem Globetrotters. They're jobbers who are there to not get in the way of the Rock-Cena show. It didn't have to be that way, and it's bad for business that WWE has increasingly lost sight of the importance of heels having heat. Fans pay to see babyfaces they admire get revenge, with a sense of jeopardy and tension over whether the babyfaces can overcome the heels being what adds the drama to make the eventual victory a moment for celebration and elation.
-It also jumped out how underplayed Rock's return to wrestling was on Monday. It's been over seven years since he wrestled, but you wouldn't know that from watching Raw on Monday night. Had Rock wrestled once or twice a year in recent years, the way he was presented and the way Survivor Series was hyped would have been the same. Why I felt it was worth putting Rock in a match before WrestleMania was because I felt hyping the heck out of this being Rock's very first time back inside the ring in a match since becoming a movie star would have been the primary selling point. But I suppose mentioning Twitter 1,001 times on Raw was more important than driving home the fact that this was a whole generation's first chance to see Rock live in a wrestling match. Had they built up Miz and Truth as strong, menacing, threatening heels, they could have also sold the idea that Truth and Miz were trying to stop Rock from even getting to WrestleMania so that one of them could have their rightful spot in the main event, thus planting the seed that Rock really was fighting for something tonight - survival. Rock getting through tonight's fight without injury would be victory, and selling the idea that the Rock vs. Cena match was being put in jeopardy tonight would have helped sell the PPV by adding more drama than just "can Cena and Rock decide who's going to finish of Miz and Truth with their finisher at the end of the match?"
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