The Rock, the current WWE champion, was only seen via recaps and video packages on Monday's Raw. His absence was a disappointment.
The WWE champ should be the centerpiece of the WWE's flagship show. If he doesn't wrestle every Monday, he should address the crowd, further his feuds or at least just show his face.
The Rock's celebrity status and busy schedule creates a scenario we haven't seen before.
He's in a position to not work the grueling schedule every other superstar endures. He's in a position to skip a few Raws, despite the fact that he has a title match coming at Elimination Chamber.
This is a part of why The Rock is dealing with resentment from his fellow WWE stars. This is why some fans grumbled about the possibility of a part-timer winning the championship.
It's hard to blame WWE for going this direction, though.
Never has a wrestler become such a mainstream celebrity. As famous as Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin and Ric Flair are, they've never been at the level of non-wrestling fame that The Rock is.
Having The Rock be a part of WWE gives Vince McMahon a Hollywood star on the roster, even if it's only on a sporadic basis.
He's so big that he can bring in casual fans and outside viewers. He's so big that he transforms the interest level of WWE's pay-per-view events. The problem is, he’s also too big to be part of the everyday operation.
The next Raw is the last episode before Elimination Chamber. Will Rock be a no-show again?
Should his absences continue despite his championship status, it will be like Kobe Bryant skipping road games, like NFL players bypassing training camp and practices and still being allowed to start.
Rock not being around on Monday left WWE struggling to tell the story of his upcoming rematch with CM Punk.
Punk was left to carry the weight of the narrative alone.
On Monday's Raw, much like the previous week's episode, Punk angrily addressed the crowd. Rather than have another face-to-face meeting with the man he's facing at Elimination Chamber, Punk was asked this time to stand in the ring by himself.
While Punk can certainly make the minutes he's on the microphone entertaining, it's odd to have the feud turn so one-sided. A feud without one of the rivals is a difficult task to pull off.
Punk and Rock don't need to brawl outside of the ring or exchange harsh words every week, but no interaction at all hurts their feud.
It looks as if their Elimination Chamber match isn't going to get the same treatment as their Royal Rumble Showdown. A looming WrestleMania 29 match is a higher priority.
The Rock should be around more as WWE continues further down the Road to WrestleMania. Don't expect Rock to miss much time leading up to that.
WWE fans have to be pumped about The Rock being a part of WWE again, but having Raw without the WWE titleholder being a part of it feels a bit empty. With him gone on Monday, it was CM Punk and Chris Jericho doing the electrifying.
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