I’ve never been the greatest John Cena fan. I find his in ring ability loose and clumsy. His character has remained largely unchanged for a decade, and so has his move set. He’s been stale for years now and the fans have made it clear they want change. Having said that, he’s still a star among the demographics that buy most of the company’s merchandise, so he’s going to be doing the same old shtick for as long as it remains profitable.
And my my, hugely profitable it certainly is. If there’s one star in this industry who has the power to overturn any angle, or say no to any idea, it’s John Cena. So what the hell was he thinking when he said ok to taking sixteen German suplexes in one match? He’s already suffered a herniated disc in his neck and had several other surgeries. God knows how much damage he’s done to himself. This was the kind of punishment that turned Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit into walking time bombs of physical and mental degradation. The kind of punishment that put them on the painkillers and sleeping pills which turned their minds to mush. With the clout Cena has in this business, if there is anyone who can veto such a physically destructive idea, it has to be him.
Besides which, even if he does have a record at stopping the careers of rising stars dead in their tracks (look at how, in recent years, the pushes of Wyatt, Ziggler, Del Rio, even the whole of the Nexus were sacrificed on the pyre of his stardom), I don’t want to see him buried. I don’t want to see anyone buried. It’s a detriment to both the wrestler getting buried, and to the strength of the roster as a whole, to suggest that some people simply cannot make it to top level no matter how hard they try or good they may be.
So how will Cena be portrayed going forward after he was demolished at SummerSlam? Well we’ll look at that later, but for now, let’s see how the rest of the card got on at this month’s Night of Champions.
The night started off with a great contest between the two most over tag teams in WWE right now, The Uso’s and The Dust Brothers. The match was a fast paced highlight of the night which showcased why the two tag teams are the only ones on a PPV at the moment. The only thing I have to say though, is that Cody needs to show a bit more of that offbeat personality in his in ring performances as well as in the promos. He needs to infuriate, bamboozle and frustrate his opponents. Right now he just looks as if he gets a sadistic glee from hurting them, which is something all too common among WWE Heels.
Cesaro and Seamus is up next for the US title, and this contest would have been the most physical of the night had it not been for the main event. The match began slowly with a technical, scientific approach to wrestling. Seamus looked out of his comfort zone for this section. When they began trading blows and high impact moves however, they both began putting on a show worthy of being on a special. One thing is for certain though; Cesaro looked a far better brawler than Seamus did a technician.
The IC title was on the line next, and competing for it are two of WWE’s most underrated professionals. The Miz gets a lot of shit for his reality TV background, but is an able performer and athlete. Ziggler is a show off and always gives a high energy performance that booking, for some reason, isn’t willing to give a bigger stage. However if WWE keep booking matches like this, they will never get them back on top of the books. The cameras, action replays and the commentators were both more interested in a guest appearance by country band Florida Georgia Line than they were Miz and Ziggler. It’s always infuriating when that happens especially when the in ring action is as good as it was here. Also, the title change was confusing as Ziggler’s only had the title for a month, and he won it back twenty-four hours later!
The Rusev angle has been gaining traction for months now, and after so many failed attempts to break his streak I can only believe that they are saving his push to be broken by a main event player at WrestleMania. If his momentum as a heel can hold out that long, that is. Looking at this match that might be a bit of a stretch. It was a big man contest that really showed how limited both he and his opponent Mark Henry can be when not working with more talented challengers. The slow nature of the match killed the crowd stone dead.
Picking that momentum right back up again was Jericho and Orten, two veterans whose invaluable instincts told them exactly what to do to get the crowd back on their side. All the matt was covered within the first two minutes and after that the whole of the outside too. It was just what the doctor ordered.
Divas match was next between AJ Lee, Paige and Nikki Bella. Nikki didn’t win which begs the question, “Why was she even there?” Her presence does nothing except get in the way of the great feud between AJ and Paige, and if she isn’t capturing the title to feud over it with her sister, then what positive impact does her presence have?
But that wasn’t the most confusing ending of the night. Oh no, that prize goes proudly to the main event. This is why you need to keep egos out of booking. In an attempt to keep both Brock Lesnar happy by letting him go home with the belt, and John Cena happy by making it look like he was headed towards another herculean victory, this, one of the most physical contests in WWE history, ended with interference by Seth Rollins.
Seth was scheduled to face former shield partner Roman Reigns earlier that night, but couldn’t due to the emergency surgery that Reigns needed on his hernia. Instead of a match we had a run him between him and his other former partner Dean Ambrose, which ended with Ambrose being carted off by security. Why didn’t they just have a match? Rollins even said he issued an open challenge to anyone who wanted one?
Anyway, back to the main event. The match started with Cena putting up more of a fight than he did last time, but Brock kept shutting down his offence and dominating him at every turn. Eventually, Cena started showing more resilience and finished the match with a flourish that both competitors convinced us would be impossible to for him to do. It was an able depiction of Cena’s booking power at work.
Too bad Rollins came in and hit him with the Money in the Bank briefcase, shutting down his inevitable victory. He then goes in to cash in his Money in the Bank contract, but Cena then stopped him from doing that. The whole endeavour accomplished nothing. The crowd were irate and I’m not sure it earned Rollins the kind of heat he needs. Now, instead of legitimising himself as a heel he just has animosity, bearing the brunt of bad booking.
Even worse for him is that he looks to be set up as Cena’s opponent during the next few weeks as Brock Lesnar continues to refuse wrestling on TV. And we all know what happens to rising stars who come across Cena as they make their way up the ladder.