By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
Former WWE champion “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson says he wants to return to WWE for a guest-hosting role or to wrestle a match only if he can “rip up” the writing for the current TV product and tap into the Attitude era with an edgier product.
Johnson shed light on what he’s meant the past few months when he has said he wants to create something special beyond just guest-hosting one episode of Raw during an interview with Live Audio Wrestling.
“I want to use the platform as a host to literally rip things open. There’s so much stuff we can do,” Johnson told John Pollock of LAW. “We’re going to create an incredible show, an incredible Raw. I’m doing another movie, but after that, we’re going to create something special, unique, something badass for the fans. Talking to Vince (McMahon), whenever that’s going to be, we’re going to have a great time.”
Johnson echoed what he said on ESPN last week that he wouldn’t rule out wrestling, but only if he can turn the writing upside down and create a compelling storyline leading to a match.
“I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish in wrestling, so I wouldn’t rule out going back,” Johnson said. “If the match was right and we could create something really unique and cool for the fans and for my opponent and for the company, I would do it in a second.”
Johnson also said he has no interest in wrestling John Cena, but he talked about what it would take for him to work a program with Cena. The two quotes below capture in-depth Johnson’s mentality on working with WWE again.
“I’ve never been interested in wrestling John Cena. The guys I wrestled in the past – from Goldberg to Hogan to Austin – were guys who I’ve really wanted to wrestle. If it can be done creatively but not only that, it’s very important if I do back is that the writing has to be ripped open and really be pushed,” Johnson said. “I came from a time in the Attitude era where we trail-blazed a lot and were fearless in the things we said and did.”
Johnson added: “There are a lot of restrictions now on the product, which by the way, I understand, and I enjoy some of the stuff I see and I know some of the writers and they’re challenged every week, but if in fact I do go back, it would be an interesting collision of an Attitude time that I loved and the time now, but I’m sure we can always infuse things to make it work.”
Caldwell’s Analysis: The problem with giving wrestling fans a taste of the “Attitude era” would be that WWE returns to the same PG-friendly product the week after Johnson ends his program or the week after a one-off gig. Johnson’s involvement would need to be more than a “nostalgia act” on Raw, but actually help elevate some key players on Raw who could use a boost in the star-power department. Johnson’s involvement could lead to one of the best storylines of the year, depending on who he works with, but the key for Vince McMahon’s business will be receiving the benefit after Johnson’s departure. Johnson recognizes that, as he talked about wanting to do something that benefits him, an opponent, and the company, so it will be interesting to see how Johnson’s role in 2010 actually plays out.