The wrestling world is a week away from the biggest non-WrestleMania match in ages. Brock Lesnar returns to the WWE to wrestle John Cena at Extreme Rules. Most presume that Lesnar will win but is that really the best decision for business?
I just wrote a blog asking if Cena was holding back the WWE’s business? While I do think that the WWE needs to move away from relying strictly on Cena, that doesn’t mean I want the man to be buried. I respect the amount of merchandise he sells, the overrun ratings he draws on RAW, and what he means as brand to the WWE. That is why he can’t lose next Sunday.
Take a look at the big picture here. Over the last few weeks John Cena has lost to The Rock at WrestleMania 28, got beat up twice by Brock Lesnar, looked scared at the contract signing, and lost to Lord Tensai. I think most fans can get past that if Cena comes out on top at Extreme Rules, but another loss could be devastating. The WWE Universe can’t see Cena as “another guy.” A company full of “other guys” benefits nobody.
I know the argument. The WWE paid Brock Lesnar $5 million and he is coming in red hot. There is no way he can lose to Cena. Losing would kill Brock’s momentum and be bad for business. I can’t disagree more. The two are wrestling an Extreme Rules match. This is Brock’s first match in the WWE in 8 years. Brock can beat the hell out of Cena for 10-20 minutes and succumb to a fast rollup or cradle for the 1-2-3. Brock gets back up, lays out Cena, and chalks his loss up to being rusty. That is the finish that works best for everyone.
It is funny because the same people who argue that Brock must win or it would kill his momentum fail to cite his UFC history. Brock Lesnar left the UFC as the biggest draw in company history. Guess what? Brock Lesnar lost his first UFC fight. Did it hurt him? It actually made him a bigger star when he got the opportunity to avenge that loss in what remains the biggest drawing fight in UFC history. Why can’t the WWE go down the same road and bring the rematch back at WrestleMania?
Taking a look at it from a pro wrestling perspective, look no further than Chris Jericho. Jericho lost clean to CM Punk at WrestleMania. Yet thanks to some great angles and promos, nobody is any less interested in Jericho today than they were in March. As a matter of a fact he and Punk will rematch at Extreme Rules in a match that probably has more interest than their first bout.
But what if Cena loses? He will have lost to The Rock, Lord Tensai, and Brock in about a month. If Cena loses, Brock moves on, Cena goes backwards, and there are no big rematches on the horizon. Unless they are working an angle where Cena needs to regroup after suffering a losing streak and works his way back to Rock and Brock, I can’t see how they do any other finish here.