Many fans may not have been happy with the end of the WWE Championship match at last Sunday’s Royal Rumble. But as is always the case with WWE, there was a reason behind it.
Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via WrestlingInc.com) reports that the outcome of the match—The Rock dropping his People’s Elbow on CM Punk and then pinning him—was due to an ongoing theme of the storyline feud between the two Superstars:
Regarding the finish of the match, Punk was pinned after The People's Elbow because their feud had been built on Punk saying that the people don't matter and Rock saying they do.
Punk originally won the match after interference from The Shield—even though the lights in Phoenix’s US Airways Center dimmed for a moment and then came back on to find Rock dazed at ringside and no Shield members to be found. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was about to make good on the storyline threat of stripping Punk of the title should The Shield interfere in the match when Rock asked McMahon to restart the match instead.
Following the restart, Rock regained enough strength to go through his trademark lead-in to the elbow drop and won the title.
Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that WWE was so worried about this result being leaked that they draped a curtain around the ring while Rock and Punk practiced the match and kept it secret even from the rest of the WWE roster.
The article also states that Rock’s victory will serve as added fodder when he hits the talk-show circuit to promote not only his movie career but also WrestleMania 29 and his championship title:
With Rock as WWE Champion, the idea is he will be doing a ton of media to promote several movies over the next two months and can talk about WWE, WrestleMania and being the champion.
Rock has two movies ready for release between now and April 7’s WrestleMania 29 in New Jersey: Snitch on Feb. 22 and G.I. Joe: Retaliation on March 29. Both will be released after the Feb. 17 date of the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in New Orleans, where Rock will defend the title in a rematch with Punk.
Should Rock win that match, as many people expect he will, his title reign will take him up to WrestleMania 29 and another rematch, this time with John Cena. Cena won the 30-man Rumble main event Sunday night and announced Monday night he would challenge for the WWE Championship.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.