Camel Clutch Blog’s Tom Clark hit the nail on the head when he wrote in one of his many columns online (for another publication, I might add) that the WWE would be doing more harm than good by having Rusev fall at the feet of John Cena.
“The company has done everything in its power to promote him as an unstoppable monster, a force that dominates every time he steps into the ring. He has been built as on old school communist heel, a throwback to the 1980’s era of Nikita Koloff and the Cold War. Cena is by all rights the perfect man to take him down.
That is not what should happen at Mania. A victorious Rusev would be stronger than ever before and the sight of him holding up the United States Championship over a prone John Cena would be one of the most epic moments WrestleMania has ever seen. Cena is still the most over Superstar on the roster and a loss will not slow him down but a loss for Rusev could potentially halt all the forward progress he has made thus far.”
Cena is the most logical of choices to bring down the mighty Russian, but in this case, it truly would be bad for business. With the Undertaker’s WM streak broken by Brock Lesnar last year, and the probability of him falling to Bray Wyatt this weekend, the company needs a strong performance by the mighty Russian. The company has lacked this kind of dominance for some time. Should Roman Reigns fulfill Vince McMahon’s wish of him capturing the WWE World Title over a newly re-signed Brock Lesnar, why wouldn’t Rusev become a top contender for the business’s brass ring?
The march to the event on Sunday has gotten better of late. The emphasis on matches now have meaning, most notably the WWE World Title match and the Intercontinental Title Ladder Match. Sting’s debut in a WWE ring has more meaning now that the Icon has finally voiced his opinion to the legions of former WCW fan and the WWE Universe. Don’t be fooled by the ages of both Sting and Triple H – this is now a match (albeit one that is interrupted by outside interference) that could be better than advertised. It will not be Triple H and Daniel Bryan like last year in New Orleans, but it will still be worth a viewing.
But all eyes may now be on Cena’s quest to fight for Old Glory and the title. I agree there is sentiment to put the strap on the 15-time world champion, but that would just quash any momentum Rusev has in getting over in a big way. Taking down Cena twice in two pay-per-view matches is huge, especially for a performer who is toiling in the mid card. It’s a similar circumstance as Cesaro was in with the U.S. Title and no plan for upward mobility.
The company could be faced with a dilemma from this weekend’s events if Rusev beats Cena and Wyatt beats Undertaker. Wouldn’t that deflate the company a bit because its true faces aren’t dominant forces in the company? Has the time come that the WWE is a business of heel domination with nobody there to defend the side of righteousness? For right now, it needs to be.
Reigns may win the title, but in doing so, his support will wane. The company must be willing to give wrestlers like Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose more of a push and create a different path for Damien Sandow as the road toward SummerSlam begins.
Cena’s loss will help the WWE plod through its rebirth of younger talent. But if the company does not find a balance that will allow new faces to shine, the company may not be able to promote “being bad is a good thing” much longer.