Rock/Cena was more promoted and that makes it hard to compare the two matches right off the bat because there's so many variables that effect the numbers and promotion going into the match. Why should we penalize Rock/Hogan just because social media wasn't as much of a phenomenon 10 years ago as it as now or the fact that they didn't receive an year long build. You aren't operating on even terms in that case.
Despite all that, Rock/Hogan had a bigger buyrate BTW. They didn't keep worldwide numbers back then so WM 18 doing 840K domestic is much more impressive and I'm nearly 100% sure it's greater than the domestic number for WM 28 (can't remember the exact number but around 700K if I'm not mistaken).
As for the match, Rock/Hogan is better by a laughably large margin. Much better pacing, much better structure, greater atmosphere and less wasted motion. That match is GOAT strictly basing it on the spectacle (obviously not overall).
Rock/Cena was a huge promotion, maybe the biggest of all time. Worldwide. It was the most successful, one match attraction pro wrestling program in history. Not only from the business aspect but from every source, the locker room to the fanbase were all emotionally invested in everything and on every word. The match was a great, memorable match and the program, ignoring all the hypocritical BS in the content, had classic moments and great performances overall.
However, John Cena is not Hulk Hogan. Which is why it was impossible from the start. The Rock vs Hulk Hogan is arguably the greatest match of all time because it was the two biggest stars ever in wrestling and in the mainstream media to the random viewer. Along with that they're the two best crowd workers of all time. It was such a rare and special moment to see them in the ring because of this reason, it was a monster force vs a monster force. In Rock/Cena, Cena always looked inferior no matter what they tried to do with him. It was out of his league.
Rock/Hogan is the most memorable moment of all time along with a 5* spectacle match. You can't beat that until you can find two new guys who are at their level, and that means that Rock and Hogan are going to be 3 and 4 which is just not going to happen because you're never going to see this kind of talent, star power and charisma ever in the business.
Rock/Cena, like Jericho said, is the Rock/Hogan of this generation, it was special, unique and one of the greatest programs of all time with the perfect match payoff, but you can't duplicate the magic, lightning and thunder of Rock vs Hogan.
Rock/Hogan - *****
Rock/Cena - ****1/2
In terms of a buyrate, Rock/Hogan did the bigger domestic number obviously, Rock/Cena takes it in every other category. Although that's unfair to compare because it's different times and standards. Both broke the record for the most successful event in pro wrestling history, Rock/Hogan in 2002, Rock/Cena in 2012. That's what really counts.
The Rock/Cena feud entered a territory that only a few were able to, Top 10 of all time. But Rock/Hogan was legit "Who will go down in history as the absolute greatest ever".
i think i'm one of the few that wasn't that crazy about the match. it was a good match, but not epic. not worth watching a second time. some of the buildup was much more entertaining than the match itself. my last memories of the rock before he left was similar to modern day cena. people were sick of the rock as a baby face champ superman that always won just like modern day cena. in my mind, he left on a downer and came back to face the current #1 that i can't stand and never liked or will ever like. so great to see 2 legends wrestle in one of the most hyped matches ever and yet neither guy could do their sub move properly. rock did the shapshooter horribly like always and cena fucked up the stf. once in a lifetime my ass. i honestly preferred the punk/jericho match at wrestlemania and that wasn't a great match either but at least both guys executed all their moves correctly. i don't care about the business side of it. in the right, the shit was mediocre as hell considering the stature of the two wrestlers and the fact it was wrestlemania.
Give it 10 years. And then people will be all over Rock and Cena's WrestleMania match calling it GOAT. Guaranteed. Absence/Time makes the heart grow fonder.
So true. Everything looks better in hindsight. Nostalgia is a bitch.
Heck if you go to forum posts from a decade aog (there was a thread about it with links) you can see that people shat all over the current product, which was at the time the so called GOAT era. the IWC always has something to complain about and thrives on it. I'm sure at the time people shat on the Hogan/ROck match too.