By RJ Marceau
It is less than one week away from WrestleMania 32 and my “Two Cents” will be focused on past WrestleMania matches, moments, and memories. Today I decided to compare two of the biggest marquee matches at WrestleMania, The Rock vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan at WMX8 and The Rock vs. John Cena at WMXXVIII. I decided to judge these in match quality, build to the match and the match atmosphere.
Build to the Match
In 2002, the New World Order (NWO) made their debut at No Way Out and set their sights on two of the biggest stars in the WWF, The Rock and Stone Cold. Hogan focused on Rock while Nash & Hall dealt with Stone Cold. Hulk Hogan cut a promo on the Raw after No Way Out saying how fans turned on him and they can all kiss his ass. The Rock came out and said he turned on the fans and asked if he wanted to headline one more WrestleMania with The Rock. When Hogan accepted the match he was hit with a Rock Bottom. As The Rock left he was ambushed by the NWO and had to be taken away in an ambulance. Hogan then drove an 18-wheeler into the ambulance that The Rock was being carried away in. This lead to The Rock & Stone Cold teaming up to face The NWO weeks leading up to the matchup. I didn’t care for Hogan and The Rock actually wrestling in a match before their match at WrestleMania since it wouldn’t make it the first time.
In 2011, The Rock returned to the WWE and was announced as the guest host of WrestleMania XXVII. The Rock and John Cena had legitimate heat between them with Cena “bashing” The Rock on leaving the WWE to become a movie star and never coming back to the WWE. They decided to use that actual heat and had The Rock screw John Cena in his title match at WrestleMania XXVII. The next night it was announced that The Rock would face John Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII. This build wasn’t as physical as the Hogan/Rock match and their trash talk was watered down due to the program being PG. They did have some entertaining segments and I was really excited for this match.
Verdict: Build to the Match: John Cena vs. The Rock (WrestleMania XXVIII) - I am giving the nod to Cena/Rock due to the longevity of the build and the actual heat they had with each other.
When you think of how hot a crowd can get for a WWE match the standard bearer has to be The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania X8 at the SkyDome in Toronto, Canada. This place was electrifying no pun intended and the crowd blew the roof off the building. The initial showdown with them looking opposite ways was incredible and with all flash photography and the angle of the camera was amazing. The crowd didn’t sit on their hands at all during this match and actually was fully behind the Hulkster.
The performances by MGK and Flo Rida at WrestleMania XXVIII were both good for the performer they represented. The crowd was hot especially being in The Rock's hometown of Miami, Florida. They did replicate the showdown that was done at WrestleMania X8. The crowd popped huge for the finish with The Rock winning over John Cena.
Verdict: Match Atmosphere: Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock (WrestleMania X8) - The atmosphere for this match was uncanny and the initial showdown will never be touched when it comes to an iconic showdown. The Toronto crowd ate up this match even though the in-ring action wasn’t amazing.
This is the main factor out of three and it is totally one sided if you ask me. The match between Rock and Hogan was no masterpiece and was more of a spectacle then a wrestling match. The match featured a lot of headlocks and abdominal stretches. They hit their signatures and finishers a few times and The Rock won with the People’s Elbow. The hugging it out after the match after Hogan tried to kill The Rock showed zero logic but when it comes the WWE they don’t use logic.
Rock vs. Cena was similar but I think it had better spots and avoided chain wrestling. The outcome of Rock winning was a shocker with myself and others thinking that Cena would win. These men attempted their finishers and signatures throughout the match but the ending sequence with Cena attempting to hit the People's Elbow on The Rock and got caught with a Rock Bottom. Sun Life Stadium exploded and now the image of Cena sitting on the ramp is one of those iconic photos from a WrestleMania.
Verdict: Match Quality: John Cena vs. The Rock (WrestleMania XXVIII) - The match quality was better from Rock/Cena then Rock/Hogan. It was pretty predictable that Rock would beat Hogan but it was shocking when The Rock beat John Cena.
This is my “Two Cents” on these two super matches with The Rock vs. John Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII was better. These both are must see matches but I had to give the nod to Rock vs. Cena I. Let me know what you think at my Twitter @RJ_Marceau.
SEE ALSO: "RJ's Two Cents - Which Match Will Steal the Show at WWE WrestleMania 32?"