The Night John Cena Earned My Respect


I usually hate the notion of these confrontations between wrestlers before a huge match. Up until Monday night the idea of John Cena and Daniel Bryan dancing around each other like it was a game of Duck, Duck, Goose really started to get under my skin.

[adinserter block=”1″]But if Monday was any indication of the intensity of how professional wrestlers supposed to act in a ring prior to a huge pay-per-view, then John Cena earned my respect as a wrestler, not a performer.

Yes, there is a separation of the two.

While it would seem the speech Cena gave Monday night was directed right at the IWC, it spoke volumes of a man who has been as cartoonish as Hulk Hogan was back in the height of his popularity. And at times, as a fan, not a writer, I have thought they were one in the same. I often kid that Cena is the performer, the money maker, the one who needs to be in the spotlight.

Bryan is the wrestler, the man who wants to battle hold for hold, does not worry about the spotlight, can’t handle the spotlight and wants nothing more than to touch gold as he put it Monday night, “just once.”

The spot, which ran over, was gripping and it was great to see and for the first time in years (yes, years), I thought the WWE had something great!

In a way, this a match about respect. But respect for both wrestlers.

Cena has been the yo-yo that has kept this company together for the past 12 years. He is loved and hated like Tim Tebow and Justin Bieber. He is a performer in and out of the ring and makes millions off his name.

But what we saw Monday night might have been real. The promo, the words of Make-A-Wish. All self promotion, but real. For some reason, Cena is always trying to validate his spot. Unlike Hogan 25 years ago, or The Rock, you got the feeling Cena was out there trying to still prove while he belongs.

It was brilliant and the WWE had magic.

Right now, Daniel Bryan is the hottest thing in the WWE and maybe he will take the title on Sunday night. Maybe he carries the torch for a bit while Cena works on repairing his injured elbow, which creates more drama for the company and also leads to a Randy Orton/Bryan feud that could be one for the ages. But this is rivalry between Cena and Bryan is unlike others.

It’s not Rock/Punk. It’s not Cena/Rock. It’s not Jericho/HBK. But the cut from Monday night was enough to make me think there was gold in that vignette. The Miz did not need to open his mouth. Hell, for a brief moment, I forgot the mouthpiece was there.

Cena is bringing Bryan’s vocal game to a better level. And as expected, Bryan will bring Cena’s wrestling game to another level. I hope it is a CM Punk/John Cena match. I hope it is Jericho/HBK in the ring. When the words in the promos and the moves in the ring are equal, then there is ballet in the ring.

These two men continued to dance around the issues Monday night and the responses by Bryan have me thinking there is still a darker side to him we have not seen yet.

[adinserter block=”2″]Sunday should be exciting. Sunday should be a game changer. Sunday will be about Daniel Bryan.

But Monday night really was all about John Cena.

David is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and can be read here. Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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