Special appearance by The Rock at Monday Night Raw: One-off?

The dirt sheets had word that The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, was in New York on Monday, but Johnson said on Twitter that he was there for business meetings, leaving unsaid that it wasn’t because WWE was in Brooklyn for Monday Night Raw.

And then Rock made a special guest appearance on Raw, confronting Rusev and his manager, Lana, in a curious move for WWE for what appears to be a one-off appearance by Rock.

Curious in two respects. One, yeah, it’s neat that Rock made a special guest appearance and all, but what if you were so tuned out from the show by the point that the segment was to air that you’d literally turned the dial to Monday Night Football, the MLB playoffs or something else entirely? I’ve promoted shows before, and worked with other promoters to help market their shows, and one rule that I go by is, If I’m paying a guy to be on the show, I need him to help me put butts in seats.

The buzz factor is nice, no question, and surprise appearances by the likes of Rock may get fans to watch next week and for weeks thereafter hoping to see Rock again, maybe Stone Cold Steve Austin, perhaps, wish list, CM Punk. On the flip side of that, you can always just wait to read about it online and go back and watch it later on YouTube or WWE Network. The surprise factor is gone, but at least you didn’t have to slog through what seems like endless hours of Slater Gator and whatever nonsense The Authority is up to this week.

Second curiosity: Rusev? The guy has been getting a nice push the past several months, but it’s been at the periphery of the midcard. Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, now Big Show. Rock is quite the elevation for Rusev, especially for what we have to assume, again, is a one-off appearance by Rock. You have to assume that because, seriously, if they’re paying Rock his fee, they’re not putting him on Raw after Raw after Raw, one, and two, Rusev? No way they’re paying Rock his fee to pattycake around with Rusev, who is a novelty act at best, though credit to WWE for using his limited skillset in the ring and utter lack of ability on the mic to create a monster heel out of him.

This is why they get paid the big bucks, though. Or maybe why WWE creative goes through a round of sackings every three or four months or so. Either one.

– Column by Chris Graham



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