I might have been wrong when I prematurely said John Cena would lose his United States Championship at Battleground last weekend. And I might have been wrong when I said John Cena would dip farther into the mod-card once he dropped the match at the pay-per-view to Kevin Owens.
All this proves, over and over again, is that when things get tough in the WWE, it all falls back onto the shoulders of the 15-time world champion. And with the match set for SummerSlam between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker, someone has to step forward and challenge the current company champion.
Leave it to Cena to find himself back in title contention, but what this does more than anything is prove that the United States Title has surpassed the Intercontinental Title as the WWE’s second most important belt. And if anything else, it also proves Cena was correct when he confronted the Seth Rollins on Monday night.
The title does not make the man, rather the man makes the title. What Cena has done to take the U.S. strap and make it the most important belt displayed on Monday nights show how vital he is to the success of the WWE, and the fact Cena still draws money every time he is in the ring.
SummerSlam is the second-most important pay-per-view on the wrestling circuit and Rollins needs a dance partner in five weeks in Brooklyn. And of course, Cena doesn’t mind dancing with the devil.
I wondered out loud last week if Cena’s days in a wrestling ring were numbered – now that he has starred in another movie and the fact the WWE is quickly being invaded by NXT. But since Cena has had a memorable program with Kevin Owens and his movie “Trainwreck” is getting plenty of attention in movie theaters, the company would be foolish not to cash in on the success.
And who better to challenge the evil villain of the WWE than the man who defends the company like he is Superman.
This is a match that must happen, but I do have some reservations about it from a sheer historical perspective.
Cue the Happy Days music.
Should the WWE tempt fate by allowing Cena to match Ric Flair’s record of 16 world titles in wrestling history? How would the wrestling community react to Cena, should he stand in rarified air with the greatest champion of all time (in my opinion)?
The one thing I can say is Cena is the perfect opponent for Rollins in August. Since the war between Lesnar and Taker wages on, there is no true feud for the champ. Above everything else, the theme of Cena defending the WWE against The Authority will have some interest for the fans.
In the 1980s, both Flair and Hulk Hogan were on top of the industry because they were larger than life characters who could draw money. Randy Savage could do the same, but Flair was the main attraction in the NWA and later WCW. Despite attempts to put the title on Sting and Lex Luger, the promotion kept coming back to Flair because he was a “total” package.
Hogan’s influence outside the ring made him the best character to continue the WWF’s run in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Today, wrestlers are cheered for what they do in the ring, how they perform and how badass they can be. The WWE may be worried about selling merchandise, but fans want to see Rollins and Ambrose and now Kevin Owens because they are hot commodities. Cena is still the bridge between the past, the present and future.
Like it or not, this the best possible situation the WWE could put together for SummerSlam. We aren’t even sure of this will fester enough to become a co-main event. But by judging how Cena was egging Rollins on Monday night, I say there is a better than even chance this will happen.
Frankly, it should – just to test the waters and prove the gap between the past and the future isn’t as separate as it needs to be.