In the insane world of a scripted athletic drama like professional wrestling, the word credibility sometimes loses its worth.
At Extreme Rules, WWE mega-star John Cena is set to face off against a returning Brock Lesnar and if the WWE and Cena want a boost for their credibility, a win for Cena is a must.
With apologies to CM Punk and everyone else, Cena is without a doubt the face of the company. His value cant be understated, and the former 12-time champ has come off looking rather weak lately.
Cena has been defeated at the last two WrestleManias and one of those losses was to a former Real World star. Yes, the outcomes are predetermined and everyone loves to see the top face overcome insurmountable odds to achieve victory, but their lies the biggest problem. Is John Cena really a face right now?
The answer is somewhere between yes and no and as a result, Cena is in character limbo. He actions are face. His words when he isn't rapping are completely face. Yet almost every time his music hits, Cena is booed out of the building.
It has become quite the predicament that WWE has itself in with Cena. He garners strong reactions everywhere he goes and sells merchandise at a torrid pace, but everyone is claiming to be sick of him.
There seems to be a clear niche of younger children that Cena is clearly marketed towards, but the majority of the WWE audience is made up of young adults. It has become a delicate balancing act for the WWE as they simultaneously try to market Cena to kids while still doing their best to keep older fans caring about him.
Having Cena playing this tweener character of sorts is great for business, though. It's a brilliant way to keep making loads of money in sales while somewhat catering to the adults that are clamoring for them to change him up.
They have found a brilliant yet dangerous blend of creative flexibility and marketability. Last month, when Cena brought back his old trademark rapper gimmick for a night, it became a prime example of the tight-rope act the WWE walks every week.
Cena entered the arena to his normal chorus of boos, but he quickly turned the crowd in his favor with a heated promo trashing the company's biggest star, reminding fans of the always popular attitude era.
One of the biggest stars since the attitude era is indeed the former UFC champion, Lesnar. Lesnar ascended to wrestling's top spot quicker than any man in history and soon after his debut, he was feuding with the top stars in WWE.
Five months after his debut, he was in programs with both Hulk Hogan and The Rock, and Lesnar even won the Undisputed Championship.
Now that he is back, it looks like WWE will use him as a monster heel even though the crowd is cheering him. They have connected him to despised general manager John Laurinaitis with hopes that it will draw some heat, and it looks to have been mildly successful.
Lesnar works best as a devastating heel and if this plays out well, it just may give Cena the boost that he so sorely needs.
It's funny to see how the fans have turned on Cena, when they used to be so firmly behind him when he was billed as the underdog that finally had made it.
The problem now is that he has ruled the business for the better part of the decade and it is impossible for Cena to be the ultimate underdog when he is clearly the franchise.
To remedy this, WWE has set up this program with Lesnar, and from what has been seen lately, it seems to be working.
The scene when Lesnar and Cena brawled last week was one of the most interesting segments seen on Raw in quite a while.
It was refreshing to see Cena get physical with an opponent so quickly after his year-long feud with The Rock that only involved a couple of finishers for each wrestler before finally locking horns at WrestleMania.
During the feud, it was plain to see that The Rock had achieved such a crazy level of fan infatuation that he could've probably slapped the Pope and he still would've been cheered at the Vatican.
What Cena desperately needs right now is a bad guy that is bad enough to steal some of the boos from him. Lesnar fits that bill entirely.
Seeing a bloody Cena after his violent encounter with Brock was one of the coolest things seen on WWE TV in a long time and if WWE plays their cards right with their baddest new heel, it could pay huge dividends for its biggest face.