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Posted in: Chair Shots
Chair Shots: Was John Cena the Only Option?
By Rob Simmons
Jun 30, 2014 - 9:55:01 AM

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Welcome back everybody to the column that did not get shot at the BET Awards last night- Chair Shots! Last night we had our annual Money in the Bank PPV, and while there were some definite highlights, the PPV as a whole felt very schizophrenic to me. The Usos and Wyatts started the night off in grand fashion with a fantastic tag team encounter. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing these two teams feud for some time, as there is quite a lot of storytelling to be told there. Fantastic chemistry, solid in-ring action, and great fan interaction put the PPV on the right path. However things like Adam Rose/Paul Revere Sandow, and the Fandango/Summer Rae/Layla disaster kept shifting the pace of the night to less than stellar satisfaction.

When all was said and done however, we have ourselves a “new” WWE World Heavyweight Champion; the forefather of Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect- John Cena. I’ve personally got nothing against Cena. I appreciate what he brings to the table. He has a fantastic work ethic, solid skills, and is willing to put just about anybody over, but to me there was no need to put the belt back on Cena at this time. In an era where we are embracing “newness”, and looking to build the next batch of Main Event stars, putting the title around Cena’s waist feels like one step forward and two steps back.

Obviously the WWE has had to shift gears a lot recently with the injury to Daniel Bryan, and the uncertainty of his wrestling future. But instead of building the next big feud, or elevating a new Superstar to the top of the heap, the WWE took the safe route and put the belt back on the man they know they can always rely on when things get tough. If the WWE were in a sado-masochistic relationship, “John Cena” would be their safe word. Now I don’t want anybody to get the impression that I dislike John Cena, because I don’t. However I’m at the point where I’m just completely bored with what he brings to the table. I’ve often used Kofi Kingston as an example of a wrestler that has been treading water in the same place for a long period of time. He hasn’t changed; he hasn’t developed; and thusly he hasn’t gone anywhere interesting. John Cena is the same way to me. There has been no character development in quite some time.

The closest we got to a change was his recent feud with Bray Wyatt. Wyatt pushed Cena to the limits as to how far he would go to defeat The Wyatt Family and what they stood for. But the WWE, and quite possibly John Cena, seemed afraid to go “all in” for that storyline. They teased Cena breaking, but it just never went far enough to be convincing. At no point did I really feel as though Cena was going to break, because at the end of the say, John Cena is “the good guy.” He’s Mr. Fair Play, and there isn’t anything that will happen that’s going to change that.

There were other options last night; not many granted, but they were there. As I mentioned in my MITB preview column, I felt the best option for the WWE was Bray Wyatt. If you listened to the pops last night for the individual wrestlers as they ascended the ladder for the closing segment, you’d have heard that the fans felt that way too. Wyatt, in my opinion, had the loudest cheers of the night when he looked to be grabbing the belts from up high, and if the face turn for the Wyatts is imminent, last night would have been the perfect night to pull the trigger.

Bray Wyatt is Mr. Anti-Authority. He reeks of anarchy. The Wyatts would be perfect foils to go against Triple H and Stephanie who want to do nothing more than throw their power around. He also has history with John Cena, Sheamus, and even Daniel Bryan if he were to get back in the mix when/if he returns. There’s a lot of potential there. But he wasn’t the only option. There’s certainly the argument for Roman Reigns, with his history against Evolution and the newly split Shield. Of course Reigns is still a little bit away from being the top guy, but a test run wouldn’t have been out of the question. But at the end of the day, it always seemed like it was going to be Cena, especially with Brock Lesnar and the leaked SummerSlam poster on the horizon.

Paul Heyman hasn’t let us forget that Brock Lesnar beat The Undertaker. He also hasn’t let us forget that Brock Lesnar proclaimed himself the #1 contender for the title. So it only makes sense that we’ll be seeing the return of Brock at any time now. And for me, it’s almost a certainty to me that Brock Lesnar will become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion come SummerSlam, which in itself presents a whole new set of problems.

If Lesnar wins, you’re now in the position of having a champion that isn’t really around all that much because of the contract that Lesnar has. He already burned up quite a few appearances promoting Wrestlemania, so what you can do with him would be extremely limited. To promote the Cena feud and quest for the belt, you’ll have to burn up even more. Potentially, you could have Brock Lesnar win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and not even be on Monday Night Raw the next night. You also then have the question of who will be the man to beat Brock Lesnar and reclaim the belt. Bryan’s future is uncertain and Reigns isn’t quite ready, so do you have Lesnar hold the belt for a while without even being around? That doesn’t sound feasible to me either, so then you have to question whether or not Lesnar even beating John Cena makes sense.

If Lesnar were to lose to John Cena, than the WWE having Lesnar end The Undertaker’s streak was for nothing. It would not only diminish the significance of the streak, but would imply that John Cena is for all intents and purposes better than The Undertaker. There has to be a payoff to Lesnar being the 1 in 21-1. There just has to be. Whether the WWE wants to acknowledge it or not, there is still anger over Lesnar ending the streak. The anger would only increase exponentially if the final payoff was Cena defeating the man that defeated The Undertaker.

The WWE is in a bit of a predicament right now, so being safe is an understandable business move, but not one I’m at all in support of. There have been so many things over the past year that the WWE has done that haven’t been “safe.” They’ve been more willing to take risks with wrestlers, matches, gimmicks, and fan response than ever before. It will be very interesting to see the reactions going forward for John Cena as champion. While his hometown wasn’t going to boo him at MITB, other crowds might not be so gracious. I do think the Boston crowd though was an indication of things to come. In Cena’s hometown, in front of all his friends, he became the 15-time World Champion and the fans were just “pleased.” They didn’t blow the roof off like we’ve seen others do. They cheered, and while it was a healthy cheer, it wasn’t mind-blowing. And that sort of goes to the general reaction to John Cena as a whole now; he’s just not mind-blowing. John Cena is the five-point harness in WWE’s stock car. He’s the padding in the WWE’s boxing gloves. He’s the bread in the WWE’s sandwich. And quite frankly, I’m tired of being safe.

What do you think readers? Are you tired of Cena? Do you want Cena as champion? Am I being too harsh? Leave your questions, comments, suggestions, death threats, and since we were talking about sandwiches, your favorite kind of cold cut at all the appropriate places.

As usual, thanks for reading. It means quite a lot that you take the time to click my column. If you’re interested in some good competition, the LOP Grand Prix has started in the Columns Forum. Anybody and everybody can enter, and I’ve thrown my entry into the hat as well. Just click the Forums tab at the top and check it out!

Until next time,
Rob Out!

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