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John Cena vs. The Rock, No WWE Championship Required

John Cena vs. The RockIn a shocking yet satisfying move, John Cena lost the WWE Championship to an apparently exiting CM Punk at Money in the Bank. Cena earlier in the year claimed that he’d never lose the title and that he’d head into WrestleMania 28 against The Rock as The Champ, making the dream match among the biggest title bouts in WWE history.

Of course, there’s always the chance he’ll regain one of the big titles, and there’s an argument that the biggest match on the card should be for the biggest prize in the game. That being said, it’s not an argument I particularly buy.

There are some matches that are don’t need a title belt attached to them to be epic or legendary. Hulk Hogan against Rock didn’t need a title. A Championship was unnecessary for Shawn Michaels against Ric Flair. Most Undertaker streak matches are title matches without belts involved. Any great WrestleMania card has a match or two with no gold on the line that feels special and stir great interest. The litmus test is whether you’d care about a certain match if there wasn’t a title on the line. My guess is 99 people out of 100 would have the same level of excitement seeing Rocky and Cena go at it whether there was a title on the line or not.

So, if this is the case, then why should the match have a title involved? I can’t think of a reason. The story here isn’t chasing the title; it’s a generational match, a potential passing of the torch and something that can be an effective story without the Championship belt as a backdrop.

That’s why I feel that Cena should be kept away from the title at most, or at the very least, not regain it. Why? Obviously, he doesn’t need the title, but at a time when stars are at a minimum, the title could be argued to need him. However, there’s an ace in the hole. CM Punk is the current, nominal WWE Champion. Of course, WWE doesn’t recognize it, but right now, there’s no one hotter in the company than the vacationing Straight Edge Savior. If there’s someone who could chase or hold the WWE Championship into WrestleMania, it’s Punk. The World Championship is something that Randy Orton can hold down and be involved in.

The titles are important in a way that they are stories themselves. They can be used to help elevate guys going into the main event, or to help spice up stories that need the extra jazz. That’s my point about Cena and Rock. There is absolutely no way that a title would enhance this match.

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There will come a time when it’s right for Cena to hold the title again. I’m not some braindead smark who thinks that Cena should be buried because he’s overexposed. It just feels like there’s a great story to be told here with or without a Championship belt. Cena is the torchbearer of the new school, while Rock is the popular icon of days gone by. There is a real battle there.

So what I’m saying is if the WWE really was serious about making sure WrestleMania is special and that there is a buffet of matches that are important, they would be well-served to make sure that Cena isn’t in the title picture come April 1. He and Rock don’t need that prop to tell a good story.

Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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