Written under duress by Critical Bill (@williamrenken83)
Four months ago, I called it a “mad, mad scene” in Ferguson. Four months later, it is still a mad, mad, scene. Sadly, it hasn’t changed. In fact, it is has spread more than Ebola was ever forecasted by the most irrational yokels. Injustice has a way of doing that.
In context, I made a reaching comparison that the Brock Lesnar demolishing, dominating, and deconstructing of John Cena at Summerslam was a catharsis for fans in conjunction with the vitriol people were having against the (shoot) authority in America. John Cena represented the long overdue and much maligned standard of WWE.
And at the time, it fit. It worked. It made sense. It was gratifying on so many levels to see what Paul Heyman repeated as a “victimization.” It was wrestle porn in a weird sort of way.
There were critics. They said you can’t have the WWE Title on a part-timer. The counter was that Brock Lesnar was a special attraction; an Andre the Giant in a different vein. Furthermore, he could be a special WWE Network attraction that could drive more people to subscribe. It made sense. We bought in. Not everyone. But a lot.
That’s the thing, though, with hysterial reaction. It’s short term. It masquerades as a long-term solution, but it is no better than a quickie in the closet.
Four months later, it’s time to come back home to reality. I never thought I would say this, but John Cena needs the WWE Title again. Wait, I’m writing this before TLC, and it’s possible he will lose the right to face Lesnar likely at the Royal Rumble. But the way Raw went off the air from Greenville, it’s all but positioned for a massive Attitude Adjustment through a table on Sunday.
I said it on the “Fear and Loathing” episode 5 of the podcast, but I must be getting old if I’m not minding John Cena’s face all over WWE. But the reality is, the handling of Brock Lesnar’s run off-camera as the WWE champion has been handled decisively poor from the perspective of an arm chair booker.
No surprise for most of you. This has been getting more and more heat. Outside of his rematch with Cena at Night of Champions, Lesnar has been absent even more than being in competition. Completely non-existent other than the occasional name drop or repeated video package of WrestleMania 30 or SummerSlam.
It’s not Lesnar’s fault. This is the corner WWE backed themselves into. It seemed likely that we’d get Lesnar going into WrestleMania 31 as the champion to drop the belt and play the part of the fallen monster to Roman Reigns, which was contrary to what most people wanted for Reigns. The latter part is secondary for now. In terms of Lesnar, it seemed like the perfect end to his dominating run of the last year.
But now, the behind-the-scenes activity is beginning to become a factor. Will Lesnar re-sign with WWE? Will he return to UFC? There’s seems to be even more talk about what Lesnar will do after WWE rather than what he’s doing in WWE.
Jim Ross and others have said it: if Lesnar isn’t going to re-sign, he needs to drop the belt before WrestleMania.
Honestly, that isn’t necessarily the factor influencing my opinion, which is two-fold. On the one hand, as much as I have loved the physicality of Lesnar and what he has brought to the current WWE product, he’s become further and further out of place. Even more so than what the Undertaker has felt like when it hasn’t been WrestleMania season.
The win over Taker built massive heat for Lesnar, but it dissipated when he wasn’t featured on television soon after. It was revitalized, briefly, when he destroyed Cena for the title. Sadly, this time with Lesnar’s absense, not only did his heat dissipate again, but so did the heat for the WWE Title. It’s a belt that doesn’t feel important because it’s not constantly in conversation because it’s champion isn’t constantly in conversation. It’s back to being the prop it has been in the past. And god dammit, it just shouldn’t be that way.
There could have been so much beauty in a Lesnar title run. Granted, the loss of Daniel Bryan and other factors could have helped bury this as well, no doubt, but such a dominant champion could have helped elevate “millenial” contenders.
At one point it felt perfect, like AC/DC said, “a hand in a velvet glove” to have Lesnar drop the belt at WrestleMania and pass the torch to Reigns or another young star that gets pushed.
But if anyone is going to pass the torch and have an era truly segue-way, John Cena needs to do it. I’m not crazy about him equaling Ric Flair’s recognized title count, but that’s just a number in the end. Honestly, Cena needs to get that belt before Mania because it seems like the final moment of WrestleMania 31 needs to be a fresh new ascension that Cena has to be at the forefront to usher in for the next “guy.”
I’m sorry, but the Beast has to go. Sure, it is going to sour even more the breaking of Taker’s Mania streak, but the movie Traffic nailed it with the tagline, “no one gets away clean.” Sorry, but we can deal with that. The reality is, the run of the Beast has become more and more of a sad indifference, which screams nearly louder than the aforementioned vitriol throughout Cena’s endless title runs and pre-SummerSlam.
Like an angry runaway, who at one point needs to desert their overbearing parents but does so without much of a plan for the long term, I’ve gotta recant what I wrote four months ago even if it means Cena gets to rip off Muhammad Ali once again with his catchphrase.
Brock Lesnar might be labeled the Beast, but it’s John Cena who should be the Kong to fall from the Empire State Building. Someone we can really respect for what they have given to the business, whether we were truly fans of him or not. Personally, based on Survivor Series and the way the subsequent promos have played out, I’d love to see Dolph Ziggler be the one to go over in that spectacular fashion with the WWE Title in Santa Clara, but it’s not likely with Reigns being positioned for a big 2015.
Just don’t bring Jack Black to deliver the final line when it’s all said and done.