The WWE is reaching the time when they like to lock in their WrestleMania 31 card. Injuries have left them depleted for roster depth, and we still don't know whether Daniel Bryan will be back in time for WrestleMania. If he's not, expect the WWE to make an even bigger effort to bring in big names to fill out the card. While it's not an ideal scenario to bring in so called "part-timers" to wrestle, if the WWE feels it will make money, it will happen.
If they go that route, there aren't many guys who can draw more money than the box office monster that is The Rock. The WWE brought him in for WrestleMania XXVII as host, and as the headliner with John Cena at WrestleManias XXVIII and XXIX. Those pay-per-views crept to over 1 million buys and set attendance records at the venue. They'll be christening Levi's Stadium in March, so they'll want to make a big splash when they head there. Hulk Hogan may want one last match, and many still hope Stone Cold will give one last hurrah, but it seems unlikely. The Rock is the WWE's best bet for a box office smash.
Here are 10 potential ideas for the WWE to utilize The Rock should he be back for WrestleMania 31.
10 The Rock vs. Rusev
One of the highlights of WWE programming the last few months was The Rock making a surprise return to RAW to confront Rusev after yet another berating of the United States. The Rock cut a great promo on Rusev and Lana, in a way only The Rock could, before attacking Rusev and standing tall for the New York crowd.
It's unlikely the WWE would push Rusev to the point that he's ready for a mega star like The Rock as his opponent, but the seeds have been planted, so you can't completely rule out this possibility.
However, it would also take quite a bit of convincing for the WWE to sell The Rock on the idea of coming back for a match against Rusev. A victory doesn't do all that much for The Rock and a defeat to Rusev doesn't seem likely. If Rusev is to continue this dominant run, the WWE would be better off pairing him with someone else. Still, it's a thought.
9 Guest Referee in the Main Event
The Rock can make anything entertaining, and if the WWE thinks that having The Rock as a special referee will suffice, then you can bet he'll make the most of it. The matchup would have to be right, in order for The Rock to fit in.
The biggest challenge would be to make sure the two competitors aren't lost in the enormous shadow that The Rock casts. This would have to be a main event match if The Rock does come back, or at least a match with an established top star.
Maybe he could referee a match that includes his former rival, John Cena?
8 The Rock vs. Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins has been one of the WWE's shining stars of 2014. Actually, you could make the argument that he's the fastest rising star in WWE, as his spectacular performances and his thrilling feud with Dean Ambrose opened a lot of eyes.
It will be crucial for him to get a hot feud at WrestleMania to keep his momentum going. He still has the Money in the Bank briefcase, making it only a matter of time before he wins the WWE Championship. A feud with The Rock would definitely prepare him for a run with the richest title in the business.
The Rock would get the opportunity to tangle with one of WWE's best in-ring performers who has been on a roll and Rollins would get an enormous boost for his career. It will be a question of WWE seeing dollar signs on this feud.
7 The Rock vs. Sting
The Rock vs. Sting was discussed by the WWE a long time ago, shortly after the WWE had purchased WCW. Sting is signed on with WWE for a merchandising deal, but not yet as an in-ring talent. If he does sign, the ideal matchup would be Sting against Undertaker, but if that can't happen, it will have to be another big name.
It would provide some nostalgia for fans, as they never got to see two of their favourites from the Attitude Era and Monday Night Wars go head to head. It would be tough to find a reason for Sting to want to tangle with The Rock, but it's an idea.
6 Guest Host
Should The Rock come back for WrestleMania 31, but the WWE can't find a suitable opponent, perhaps they may just have The Rock host the event again. The suits in Hollywood may prefer this as well, as The Rock has suffered injuries in each of his last two WrestleMania matches.
The Rock has said that it's undecided whether he would ever have another match in the WWE ring, as he felt if his last match was against John Cena, it's a suitable finale. At 42 years old, making a great living in the movie industry, he doesn't need to lace up his boots again.
Fans may not want to see The Rock as merely a host, but it's a possibility, especially if The Rock has decided that he's done wrestling.
5 The Rock vs. Stone Cold IV
Okay, this one's only a fantasy. But a guy can dream, can't he?
4 The Rock vs. Roman Reigns
With the WWE seemingly pushing Roman Reigns as their next top babyface and The Rock remaining a fan favourite, it would be tough to sell a matchup between the two.
As it stands, Reigns has not quite taken off as a top babyface and a hernia has derailed his push for the time being. If Reigns doesn't work out as a babyface, why not try turning him heel on The Rock (his cousin) and challenging him to a match at WrestleMania? We don't know what role Reigns will fit best yet, so experimenting isn't the end of the world.
If the WWE is really feeling adventurous, how about The Rock reviving his Hollywood heel gimmick from 2003? After all, he could brag about the fact that he's now drawn billions of dollars in Hollywood.
On second thought, if The Rock were to revive that heel gimmick, he'd be way to entertaining to boo and the crowd would still be on his side. If this happens, this one's for WWE creative to figure out.
3 Roman Reigns w/ The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman
The Rock coming back to help his cousin Roman Reigns would probably make a lot more sense than coming back to face him. As of now, there have been constant discussions of Roman Reigns being the one to dethrone Brock Lesnar for the WWE title and more importantly defeating the one in 21-1.
Roman Reigns being the one to defeat the man who broke the Undertaker's streak would put him in position to be one of WWE's top stars for a long time.
There are many problems with Reigns as a performer. He hasn't yet proven he can carry himself through a high profile singles match, and his promos haven't wowed anybody. The WWE's going on look and potential.
What could help Reigns is having someone like The Rock in his corner, who can carry feuds, who can be a mouthpiece and with The Rock in Reigns' corner, people will believe that he can beat Brock Lesnar.
Let's face it, promos between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns would last about 30 seconds before the audience trails off. However if The Rock was going back and forth with Paul Heyman, with each man hyping their guy, now we're onto something.
The only problem is, would we lose sight of Reigns vs. Lesnar with The Rock and Heyman stealing every segment?
2 The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar
They have history, they're two of the best athletes the WWE has ever seen and they both rose to the top quickly in the world of professional wrestling. If the WWE wants themselves a guaranteed moneymaker at WrestleMania, this is the feud to do it.
The argument against it would be that a victory for either guy wouldn't do much more for their careers and neither would be a full-time champion. However, the WWE has a bottom line and in what has been a tougher year for them financially, this would serve as a huge draw for WrestleMania and assures them of a monster main event.
Fans could believe in The Rock being able to defeat Brock Lesnar, yet Lesnar has that victory over The Rock at SummerSlam 2002 to fall back on and he's riding an incredible hot streak.
Remember, The Rock still technically hasn't cashed in on his "rematch clause" from losing the title at WrestleMania XXIX.
Remember, Seth Rollins is biding his time to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, so The Rock could win the title, only for Rollins to swipe in and win it shortly after. Whatever the outcome, people will pay to see this match.
1 The Rock vs. Triple H
This one has all the ingredients to succeed. If The Rock's rivalry with Stone Cold was the best of his career, his ongoing feud with Triple H is a close second. The two simultaneously rose to the top of the WWE back in the day and constantly squared off on their way to the top of the industry.
The history is there and they've done it all... Except for a one-on-one match against each other at WrestleMania. This match would provide nostalgia and would guarantee chemistry between both performers.
Their promos wouldn't disappoint and the match would sell. There's been an ongoing rumour that the WWE would like to do a feud involving a power struggle between the Authority and Vince McMahon, which would culminate in a match between Triple H and a representative of McMahon determining control of the company.
The idea of Vince McMahon as a babyface and The Rock serving his needs doesn't work that well. What would be better is if a GM was hired to share control with the Authority, which would lead to a power struggle between those two parties. How about a guy like Mick Foley hired as GM? He did wonders as Commissioner Foley and it would make sense for him and Triple H to fight for power.
If Mick Foley needed a representative, who would he logically pick for WrestleMania? Who's a loyal friend and someone with the best chance of beating Triple H? Why his Rock n' Sock partner of course. The Rock representing Mick Foley makes a lot more sense than him representing Vince McMahon, someone who constantly screwed him over in the past.
This is a win-win. Foley back in an authoritative role, and aligning with The Rock? All of it building up to The Rock vs. Triple H, one of the best rivalries in history? If The Rock is to do something at WrestleMania, this sounds like the best scenario.