I agree with what you and DesolationRow are saying (Rock/Cena should
be drawing more, no matter whether you care about such things or not, and I stubbornly refuse to
), but you're phrasing that question wrong. Cena, Punk, Ryder, et al aren't expected to be drawing those numbers for Over The Limit; it'd be nice if they did, but no one's expecting it. Rocky, Trips/Taker, these are all desperate attempts to use something
to spike an obscene rating. A RTWM rating. Which they drew the last two years, as DesoRow said. They drew that in 2010 without Rock and without the grand returns of Trips and Taker. I don't have the numbers, and I don't care to look for them, but I assume that after WM, the ratings dropped right back down to normal, just like we'd be expecting Rocky, Trips, Taker and Shawn all toddle off post-WM.
Now they can't even get that temporary spike. Something is rotten in the state of WWE.
But if Rocky's return was an experiment, the conclusion is that WWE's problem isn't a lack of individual draws. It's something more systemic than that. He drew well enough last WM when his return was red fucking hot, but it's been a very literal case of diminishing returns - Survivor Series' buyrate was good, but not as good everyone perhaps hoped or expected, and we blamed it on the diastrous handling of the Awesome Truth feud. RTWM has been unflattering, to say the least, and the blame is being laid at the handling of the Rock/Cena feud.
Similarly, when Punk was red fucking hot, they spiked a buyrate for MITB. Then they brought him back waaayyyyy too soon to get interest for Summerslam. Then it just tails off, and we blame it on his getting lost in that Nash/Trips/Del Rio/Miz/whatever quagmire that no one could figure out.
I'm guessing the numbers would look similar for the Nexus' run in 2010 if I could be arsed looking for it.
They've been able to spike ratings before when they made things interesting. They've - somehow - made Rocky/Cena uninteresting
to the people it should be specifically capturing. So the most important question isn't why isn't Rocky drawing, or why isn't WM drawing, or why won't Punk, Cena and Ryder draw. It's how the fuck can anyone
be expected to draw consistently in such a creatively fucked company?