What if The Rock stayed in 2002

One match on the 17th March 2002 in Toronto, Canada is easily remembered as one of the greatest moments in Wrestlemania and WWE history. It was Icon verses Icon, Hulk Hogan against The Rock. In a battle that is still talked about to this day. But two weeks after his bout, The Rock leaves WWE to start his movie career and would be gone for the next 3 months. But what if he didn’t leave and stayed?

The Rock was the number one draft pick in the inaugural WWE Draft as Vince McMahon used his first Smackdown pick to chose The Great One, his last match would be against Chris Jericho on the April 2nd Smackdown show. With Chris Jericho not having a match at Backlash at the end of April, if Rock was to stay, he could have faced Chris Jericho at this event and been intertwined in the Triple H, Chris Jericho and Hulk Hogan feud. The three were battling over the WWE Undisputed Championship and The Rocks motive could have been that he wanted a championship opportunity.

The Rock and Chris Jericho square off

The next pay per view afterwords would be Judgement Day in May and we would see Hulk Hogan defend his Undisputed Championship against The Undertaker with Chris Jericho stepping inside Hell in a Cell against Triple H. With Vince McMahon proving to be a evil authority figure as always, The Rock in his quest for the championship would have been forced to face a hand picked assassin. McMahon could have chosen Mark Henry for this role or Albert who would soon become A-Train. The Rock would pick up another victory on his way to earning his shot at the Championship and beating another obstacle put in his place.

Could The Rock square off against Mr. McMahon?

The road to King of the Ring does see The Rock return but if he hadn’t left then he could still have earned his shot at Vengeance for the Undisputed Championship. The King of the Ring main event was The Undertaker defending his Undisputed Championship against Triple H. The Rock could have been placed as the special guest referee to set the angle for his championship match at Vengeance against the retaining Undertaker. The Rock would get involved with the main event anyway so being placed in the match wouldn’t have damaged the match.

The Rock faces Kurt Angle and The Undertaker in the main event of Vengeance.

Vengeance would see Kurt Angle added to the mix by Vince McMahon after a controversial ending to his match with The Undertaker. But The Rock would win the championship and move on to lose to Brock Lesnar in the main event of Summerslam. The Rock staying would have added a longer run to his chase for the title only for Brock Lesnar to destroy his championship reign. We could have seen a perfect blend of interactions between Hogan, Triple H, Chris Jericho and Vince McMahon. Maybe even a match against McMahon at King of the Ring to earn a shot at Vengeance if we didn’t go down the referee angle.

At this point Kane got injured in his Raw feud with the NWO but another option would be if Kane had been drafted to Smackdown at the draft and had a long feud with The Rock. A Rock verses Kane feud is something we have never seen over a long stretch and I believe it would have been entertaining.

There are plenty of options for The Rock if he stayed in the spring of 2002, let us know your thoughts on how you would have booked The Rock after Wrestlemania 18.

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