“Why would I want to be the next John Cena when I can be the one and only Roman Reigns?”
A shot has been fired.
If you watched Monday Night Raw, you saw what could be the “Feud of the Year” when the 16-time world champion got in the face of the man who has been asked to replace him and has failed at “doing his job.”
There is plenty to like about a confrontation like this. The drama, the build, the chance Cena puts Reigns over once and for all. For everything Cena has been in the past 15 years, he is still the gold standard. Reigns, the man who should be king, can’t find the off ramp to turn toward immortality.
If there is an issue to be had with this kind of confrontation, it’s booking such a high-profile match at the No Mercy pay-per-view. WWE is putting its eggs in this basket, hoping to piggy back off Summer Slam’s success.
Cena-Reigns is just part of the marketing pitch with Jeff Hardy and The Miz fighting for the Intercontinental Title and Brock Lesnar finally getting his hands on Braun Strowman in a changing of the guard type of match.
You can’t help but hope Cena-Reigns steals the show, or at least lives up to the hype we have built it to be in our minds over the last three years.
Cena-Reigns is this generation’s Hulk Hogan – Ultimate Warrior or Shawn Michaels – Bret Hart. It’s Steve Austin and The Rock or Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair. It’s a turning point confrontation that fans will talk about for years.
The problem with this kind of confrontation is WWE is caught in a Catch-22 situation.
Vince McMahon has made it known that Reigns is his “new” guy. He’s taking the place of the guy that has made the McMahons millions of dollars. Fans, although they love him and hate him at the same time, have grown accustomed to Cena walking down the aisle in the arenas across the world, giving us the same shtick repeatedly.
Where this will lead is still up in the air. If it becomes a three-match feud, does Reigns finally make the jump to the dark side. If Cena loses this match and grows frustrated of the “Big Dog” does it mean anything? Cena has nothing to lose. Reigns has everything to gain. The Rock put Cena over at WrestleMania. Will “The Champ” do the same thing.
There was a bit of reality in the promo last night. Reigns referencing the belief that Cena has kept young talent down for years and his part-time status still creates a problem for wrestlers who are on the road daily and nightly. Cena jumping at his replacement about the fans not accepting him because he is “created” to be something he cannot be.
While I don’t agree with the timing of this confrontation, I like where it is headed. It could be a candidate for Match of the Year. It could also become something fans want to forget about. Vinnie Mac finally has the program he has wanted for some time. WWE must book this to be a changing of the guard, quintessential moment in this company.
If not, this is a waste and fans won’t let the promotion forget it any time soon. Reigns will hold up his end of the bargain. He is better than given credit. Cena must be equally sharp in the ring and on the mic. If anything, fans will see if it’s time for Reigns to take his place amongst WWE elite. If not, the ladder he will have to climb to get back to the top of the mountain may be too steep a challenge – even for the Big Dog.