COMMENTARY | After electrifying the WWE during the Attitude Era, The Rock left pro wrestling to pursue an acting career. Within just a few years, Dwayne Johnson became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. In 2013, The Rock now earns over $30 million per movie.
However, The Rock returned to his pro wrestling roots for two brief WWE runs, each culminating in Wrestlemania appearances in 2012 and 2013. Although his return certainly helped the WWE improve its attendance, ratings, and pay-per-view buyrates, his loss to John Cena resulted in severe internal injuries and hernia surgery.
While many sports fans complain that pro wrestling is "fake," the action in the WWE squared-circle is clearly a lot more real than the action those same fans pay good money to see on the big screen. The Rock is a lot safer on the movie set than he is when performing with WWE wrestlers such as Cena and CM Punk.
Although he wrestles a limited schedule when he returns to the WWE, The Rock actually sustained another injury in his previous Wrestlemania match against John Cena as well. Months after the match, Dwayne Johnson revealed that he tore his hamstring in the Wrestlemania 28 main event.
Clearly, it doesn't make sense for The Rock to travel, work on his cardio in the gym, and risk injury for far less money than he can make for a few months on a movie set. Johnson also allegedly faces resentment in the WWE locker room from wrestlers who don't appreciate the part-timer headlining Wrestlemania two years in a row.
Although I am not a fan of The Rock, I respect his desire to give back to Vince McMahon and the WWE fans who are always yearning for any semblance of a nostalgic return to the Attitude Era. For two years now, The Rock has put his body on the line in the WWE for a much smaller paycheck than he could have received doing easier work.
But after suffering injuries in two straight Wrestlemanias, Dwayne Johnson should answer this wake-up call. Many pro wrestlers have died young through years of physical abuse and in-ring accidents. While most of these wrestlers kept working because it's all they could do, The Rock has much better opportunities outside the WWE.
When Wrestlemania 30 comes to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans next year, I hope The Rock will be watching at home.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of pro wrestling. Patrick's favorite wrestling promotion was Mid-South Wrestling back in the 1980s. Patrick's favorite wrestling angle of all-time was the NWO and his favorite wrestler is Roddy Piper. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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