Finally, The Rock has come back to WWE, and going by his behavior at the recent WrestleMania press conference, he’s a full-blown villain once again. While no one can say for sure why Johnson is back in wrestling, it happens to come at a time when his acting career is starting to fall apart, with no one to blame but himself. Social media is now filled with wrestling fans wondering if years of hushed whispers about his on-set behavior and outlandish demands have soured Hollywood on Johnson, so did he run back to the squared circle to try and soak in the adulation of his fans?
Forcing Himself Into The Main Event
WWE fans have been waiting all year for Wrestlemania as this time, “American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes was going to dethrone Roman Reigns. Reigns, Dwayne Johnson’s cousin, has held the WWE Championship for almost 1300 days since August 30, 2020. Last year saw the two face off, with Reigns coming out on top, prompting a year of Rhodes talking about “finishing the story.”
The Fans Are Behind Cody Rhodes
When Dwayne Johnson walked out last week during WWE Smackdown to face off with Roman Reigns, the crowd started booing, and they haven’t stopped since. During NXT, which airs from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Johnson’s image was booed by the die-hard fans. At the Wrestlemania Kickoff show, Johnson went full bad guy, insulting Rhodes and the fans while aligning himself with Roman Reigns.
Fans will debate for years if the story pivot was planned all along, or did Dwayne Johnson really think that his return as The Rock would be cheered? Right now, both sides are correct, but a pattern has also been developing, which has Johnson go back to his old wrestling persona every time his Hollywood career needs a boost.
Black Adam Changed The Hierarchy Of Power In Hollywood
Looking back after a year of superhero flops, Black Adam doesn’t seem that bad; after all, it made over $400 million. In fact, if Dwayne Johnson hadn’t hyped up the movie so much, most fans would have let it go. That would, however, not be his style. Instead, fans heard that the Shazam villain was going to face Superman because Shazam wasn’t a big enough name.
The Backwards Plot Of Black Adam
The plot of Black Adam featured the Justice Society of America, led by Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman and Pierce Brosnan’s Doctor Fate, trying to convince Adam that violence is not always the answer and that heroes don’t kill. Oddly, for a superhero movie, the message was that Black Adam was correct: violence solved everything, and he was justified in killing countless soldiers. Instead of a poorly written script, as it turns out, that’s a trend through Dwayne Johnson’s movies that once you see it, you can’t help but wonder how much he cares about his image.
Johnson Can Never Lose A Fight
In every film, Dwayne Johnson can not be shown on-screen as losing a fight. This created a problem with Fast and Furious 7 when he was paired off with Jason Statham, another star who has the same clause. At first, it was charming to see Johnson’s natural charisma on the big screen; we argue that his turn in HBO’s Ballers was a great showcase for him, but over time, fans started tuning out and seeing the same thing play out over and over again.
The lack of interest would be disastrous on its own, but another problem exposed Johnson when his Fast and Furious castmates started taking shots at him.
Social Media Feud With Vin Diesel
After working together on two films, the bromance between Vin Diesel (another member of the “can’t lose a fight on screen” club) and Dwayne Johnson came to an end. In interviews and social media posts, the two went after each other without directly stating names, but the term “candya$$” was used by two grown men. Eventually, Tyrese Gibson got in on the fun and joined Diesel in slamming The Rock, which explains why his character, Hobbs, received a spin-off away from the main cast.
Back To Fast And Furious
After insisting he’d never return, Dwayne Johnson showed up after the credits of Fast X, which, when we ran it as an exclusive report, social media exclaimed how that would never happen. Well, it did, and after the Black Adam debacle, we all should have seen it coming. Now, with his return to wrestling, after he became a board member of WWE’s parent company as well, the puzzle is fully formed, and we can see a pattern of behavior.
Retreating To WWE On A Regular Basis
Prior to last week, Dwayne Johnson could count on The Rock getting social media buzz for his projects by returning to the WWE, which he did in 2019 before Hobbs and Shaw and Jumanji: The Next Level came out. The same problem that started occurring with the Attitude Era stars returning for every WWE RAW anniversary show has now happened to Johnson: he returned one time too many. Fans who grew up with The Rock are now old, and the young fans never saw him as anything but an action star; the magic is starting to fade.
Image Is Everything
Expect to be told, “I meant to be the bad guy” by Dwayne Johnson within the coming weeks as he naturally will pivot, turn the narrative, and try to explain it was all part of his plan. Wrestling fans, and now moviegoers, are picking up on how nothing is ever his fault, with the disastrous Maui fire charity being one of the most recent examples. To Johnson, his image as the coolest guy in the room is what he needs to sell tickets, and it’s become his entire business model, which means he can’t look weak, ever.
That is incredibly boring to watch and the result of having, as Vin Diesel alluded to years ago, one of the frailest egos in Hollywood. WrestleMania 40 doesn’t need The Rock, Warner Bros doesn’t need Dwayne Johnson, and fans realize they don’t need another untouchable action star.