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411 Wrestling Fact or Fiction: Will The Rock Wrestle at Wrestlemania this Year?

January 30, 2023 | Posted by Jake Chambers
The Rock WrestleMania 32 Dwayne Johnson Image Credit: WWE

Welcome back to the 411mania Wrestling Fact or Fiction. I’m your host Jake Chambers.

Last month saw the return of the (semi) annual Larry Csonka Memorial 411 Wrestling Fact or Fiction Tournament! We’ve had two great first round matches so far: Thomas Hall vs. Rob Stewart and Steve Cook vs. Robert Leighty Jr. Today we’ll have the final first round match.

All 411 readers loved Larry – the legendary reviewer and ambassador of the site – and we miss his insights, humor, uncompromising perspective and pure love of pro-wrestling – all attributes writers should bring to the this debate column that he hosted for so many years.

This week we have one of the finalists from the 2020 tournament, reviewer, news person, and Head Editor of 411mania, Jeremy Thomas. Daily readers see Jeremy’s fingerprints all over the site and he’s done a phenomenal job the past few years filling in some enormous footsteps. Not only a pro-wrestling authority, Jeremy is also a renowned cinephile and always brings the goods with his year-end best and worst films lists.

Hoping to stop Jeremy from making it into the finals again is old school aficionado Bob Colling. There isn’t a WCW Pro episode Bob doesn’t love, and old school fans owe him many thanks for his Csonka-like bank of reviews on what the major promotion side shows and (somewhat) obscure US Indys.

These guys are ready to do battle in tribute to the great Larry Csonka, so let’s get it on!

Participants were told to expect wrestling-related content, as well as possible statements on quantum physics, homemade pharmaceuticals, the Turtle Total Trip Theorem, pizza and hydroponics.

Statement #1: The Rock will have a 10+ minute match at Wrestlemania this year.

Bob Colling: FICTION – If The Rock were to be competing at WrestleMania, I think something would have been in the works by now. He may make some kind of special appearance, but for an extended match to be taking place and there’s nothing set in stone a few months out, I don’t see it happening.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – I’m about 50/50 on whether the Great One will actually compete at WrestleMania, but enough reports are claiming it that I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.  If he has a match, it’s probably going to be with Roman Reigns; no one else makes sense when the Head of the Table is right there.  And I don’t think Rock will accept anything less than an actual match.  He’s not going to lose that quickly to Reigns because that doesn’t entertain the fans properly; he’s also 100% not going to beat Reigns for the title.  So the best option is for Rock to go a good 15 minutes or so with Reigns where he’s careful with his bumps and doesn’t do anything crazy, allowing Reigns to bump for him and ultimately allowing their charisma and presence to carry the match.  Keep in mind, by the way, The Rock doesn’t half-ass this stuff as a rule.  Outside of his “match” with Erick Rowan at WrestleMania 32, all of his return matches since 2011 have been over twenty minutes.  If we are assuming that Rock does return, I don’t see any way that he doesn’t try to at least go for at least a memorable match, and not a quick little one-and-done with the Tribal Chief.

Statement #2: Batista is the best wrestler turned actor.

Bob Colling: FICTION – I think the best wrestler turned actor has been The Rock considering his success in both industries. My gut is telling me that I’d put Cena over Batista, as well. Cena and Rock are more recognizable stars and were both better in the ring than Batista was. Don’t get me wrong, all three men are great actors and enjoyable performers with wide ranges. Batista just isn’t the best of the three, in my opinion.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – Don’t get me wrong here, Batista is killing it in Hollywood.  From Dune to Glass Onion, from Guardians of the Galaxy to Blade Runner 2049 — Big Dave is showing an incredible range and talent I never would have expected from him.  And if we were making the argument that he’s the best current wrestler-turned-actor, I’d be inclined to potentially agree.  I enjoy Cena and Rock’s performances and believe they are talented, but Batista is running ahead of them in that particular game thanks to his willingness to choose wildly different roles and his desire to be an actor, not a star.

But the question doesn’t ask about current wrestler-turned-actors, so we have to go deeper into the past.  And while Batista could easily surpass him, I don’t think Roddy Piper has been topped in this arena yet. In an era where wrestlers did not get the Hollywood chances that the current crop did, Piper carved out quite the career for himself.  He was a natural actor with an undeniable charisma, and he carried some pretty middling movies to the point of being very watchable.  And that’s the difference to me; I don’t think Batista is at the point where he can make a bad movie good.  He’ll get there eventually, but for now it’s still the Rowdy One by my reckoning.

Statement #3: Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks are the best 6-Man Tag Team of all time.

Bob Colling: FACT – Initially I didn’t want to put this as a FACT because it sometimes feels like the easy thing to do because they are the best presently. But, when considering in-ring work there’s really no other group even close. When it comes to drawing money they may not be the highest trio, but if the discussion is simply in the ring, there’s no better trio than the Elite.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – Look, The Elite are a great trios team.  But I think it’s a labored argument to say that they’re the best of all time.  For one, that’s very American-centric and avoids the fact that there are tons of teams in Japan or Mexico that could probably surpass them.  But let’s avoid those regions for now, because I am not well-versed enough on the full history of either to make that argument.  Instead, we’ll focus in the US and I’ll put one team against them to prove the FICTION — The Shield.  Even if they didn’t get used as a trios team to their greatest potential (since WWE doesn’t have a trios division), Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose are pretty much unmatched in what they could do as a team.  There was greater variety in terms of styles and moves, they could change things up in a way that I don’t think The Elite always do, and they were as dominant during their time as a unit as The Elite are — arguably more.  Again, love the Elite and I’ll always be excited for their matches, but they can’t be the best because The Shield were just a little bit better — and that’s aside from the historical trios that I should probably be aware of.


Statement #4: Rhea Ripley will win a traditionally “men’s” championship in the WWE this year.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION – Now granted, this all could drastically change depending on who the owner of WWE ends up being and whether the company goes private or not.  That said, I don’t see WWE changing that much in 2023.  Yes, there has been a definite blurring of the lines in terms of how Ripley interacts with men on the roster, and honestly I’ve been into it.  But WWE still toes the line on intergender fighting for the most part, and there’s no indication to me that this will change any time soon.  I’m not even sure it’s a barrier that should change — and this is coming from a guy who’s been wanting to see Jordynne Grace win a “men’s” championship in Impact Wrestling.  WWE is a different product than other companies, and part of that is the fact that there isn’t really intergender matches.  I don’t think it’s bad or good; it’s just how the brand is.  And obviously, that’s a barrier that needs to fall if Ripley is going to win something like the IC or US Championship, or even the Tag Team Championships.

I can see Ripley blurring that line further as things move forward.  For example, she’s someone I could even see participating in the men’s Rumble at some point, though overall I think that trend is dead now that there’s a women’s Rumble.  And if a current member of the women’s roster were to win a traditionally men’s championship, it would almost certainly be Ripley.  But I do think that 2023 is too soon for WWE to break that barrier.

Bob Colling: FICTION – I would love something like this to happen, but I don’t think WWE is looking to have a woman compete against men. Chyna in the Attitude Era actively competed against men for a while, but I don’t know if we’d ever see that again in the WWE. I think WWE may not want any public backlash for men-on-woman violence. Though, whenever another company has pushed a woman against men it seems to be largely accepted by fans. So, I am hopeful for Rhea, or any woman for that matter, to get a win in a men’s battle royal, but that seems to be something that’s not likely any time soon.

Statement #5: You love battle royales.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT – I hate COVERING battle royales, but I enjoy watching them.  Covering them is a pain in the ass; too much is going on and you have a 95% chance of starting off writing: “It starts off with a brawl” and then just going into the first person to get dumped.  But I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for battle royales, and that’s thanks in part to the Royal Rumble.  Sure, a traditional battle royale tends to follow that predictable template, but most of the spots you’ll see tend to pop me — someone skinning the cat, the two monsters doing the stare off in the middle of the ring, the rivals teaming up to take out a common threat, the final four, etc.  

Now obviously, not all battle royales are the same and there have been several that have fallen drastically short.  Battle royales that air on weekly TV tend to be a bit of a mess regardless of promotion; they’re forced into a limited time frame and have to be clipped, rushed versions of what they should be.  But I would absolutely say that on the whole, it’s one of the match types I’m always going to be into.

Bob Colling: FICTION – For the most part, battle royals are boring. Royal Rumble matches are exciting, but that’s usually just for the anticipation of the next entrant rather than the in-ring action. Typically the in-ring action is just forearms in the corner and people constantly holding onto the ropes. There’s usually no real reason to be heavily invested in the matches and I tend to use it as background noise.

Now it’s up to you, 411 readers, who do you think deserves the win this week and a spot in the tournament finals in a few weeks? Please vote!

Thanks again to Jeremy Thomas! You’ll be reading his news and reviews all day here at 411mania, but be sure to follow him his social media.

Thanks as well to Bob Colling for joining us – you can read his news reports throughout the week, but I would SERIOUSLY recommend going over to his fantastic website to read his detailed and engaging reviews of old wrestling shows – yes, WCW Main Event episodes from the mid ’90s had some weird matches and you’ll have to read all of his analysis to find out why and WrestlingRecaps.com

And we will see you later this month for the 3-way Finals to determine the 2023 Larry Csonka Memorial 411 Wrestling Fact or Fiction Tournament winner!

As well, I want to remind everyone reading this that the Go Fund Me set up for Larry’s daughters is still active.