It just a shame it didn't last very long. Both Cena and Kane moved their battle out of the ring and got a little too carried away. The match ended on a double count-out.
The battle continued, though. Kane took a metal folding chair to Cena in the backstage area and then he went and found Zack Ryder in a dressing room. We last saw Ryder getting chokeslammed through the stage by Kane at RAW, and WWE played up his injuries by putting him in a wheelchair and in a neck brace.
Kane beat the crap out of him anyway, eventually getting him in the ring and nailing him with a tombstone piledriver. Cena tried to come to Ryder's aid, but his efforts were rewarded with a chokeslam.
And that was that. Damage done, match over.
We can talk about the match all we want, but what's important here is the evolution Cena's character went through in the process.
Or, I guess, the lack of evolution Cena's character went through in the process.
At the heart of Cena's feud with Kane is the whole "Rise Above Hate" vs. "Embrace the Hate" thing, and I expected to get some closure one way or the other on Sunday night. I didn't think Cena was going to fully embrace the hate and thus turn heel, but I was hoping he would at least prove that his own method of doing things is just fine. He could have achieved that by finally getting the better of Kane.
Instead, Kane ended up getting the better of Cena again, and he further cemented his victory by going after Ryder again. It won't go into the books as a victory, but Kane clearly triumphed on Sunday night.
So this feud didn't end, and it didn't really take any turns. It just kinda, you know, continued.
On the one hand, this leaves the door open for this feud to change Cena's character in the future. On the other hand, the creative team missed a major opportunity to add a new wrinkle to Cena's character, thus setting up some much-needed intrigue for future endeavors.
How would you grade John Cena vs. Kane at the Royal Rumble?
The one big future endeavor on Cena's calendar, of course, is his match against The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII. Cena's match against Kane could have set us up for something special, but it didn't. Instead, we're speeding towards the same Cena vs. The Rock match that we've been anticipating for months already. The nature of it hasn't changed one bit.
The nature of it could still change, but the change will have to come from Cena's side of the equation and it's just plain hard to see that happening. If the creative team wasn't willing to change Cena's character at the Royal Rumble, why would they change at any other time at any other place?
This ship sailed on Sunday night. Changing Cena's character at the Royal Rumble would have given WWE a full two months to hype the changes and to pump further intrigue into his match with The Rock, but the creative team chose to keep Cena as is.
That's not a good thing. Cena has his fair share of fans, but his character has been stale for years at this point. I give credit to the creative team for teasing change by introducing the feud with Kane, but what's the point of it if it's not going to change Cena in any way?
That's a trick question. There is no point. It's a feud for the sake of a feud. WWE proved as much at the Royal Rumble.