Even though it happened just a week ago, the altercation between John Cena and Brock Lesnar last week on RAW has been the talk of the wrestling world, as the two prepare for a clash at Extreme Rules in just 13 days. The main discussion about their altercation was the punch thrown by Brock Lesnar that bloodied the mouth of John Cena. It was the most famous punch in all of sports this week that didn't take place on a hockey rink in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The fight was clearly supposed to happen. It's the classic feel of two men brawling and the backstage area emptying out to try and separate the two. The two wrestlers each get away from those who are restraining them, keep the fight going for a few minutes and build hype up for their altercation at the pay-per-view. That part is at least planned by WWE and their people. What wasn't planned was that one of Lesnar's punches, specifically the first one, actually connected squarely on Cena's face and had the former 10-time WWE Champion bleeding from his mouth.
It made for a more compelling TV moment, and the fight looked a lot more realistic. In the moments following the first picture of Cena with a bloodied mouth, the wrestling fanbase began to wonder if Lesnar's right hook that connected was done purposely or a fist that was a little too good for the moment. There were questions of if Lesnar had fully adapted back to staged combat or if he was still back in his mixed martial arts mindset. Most importantly, did Lesnar punch Cena purposely with the intention of claiming that it was an accident?
The buzzword around WWE since CM Punk's shoot promo last summer has been legitimacy. Punk's promo brought some real problems to the forefront of the company and allowed a lot of people to feel exactly what Punk was feeling in that time. It was raw and unscripted. It certainly wasn't what WWE wanted to have him say, especially because they cut the microphone on Punk before he said anything further incriminating about the company or Vince McMahon.
Legitimacy continued to return during the John Cena-The Rock saga that led to their WrestleMania match. Even if a lot of it was scripted, it seemed like a lot of the promos were from the heart and spoke toward some real animosity between the two guys over the years. Cena even mocked The Rock for having words written on his arm, pulling the curtains back on yet another legitimate aspect of the business. Let's also not forget the shirts WWEShop was selling that included insider terms like "heel," "jobber" and many others.
The word legitimacy was literally spoken by John Laurinaitis, who said that Lesnar was brought back to make the WWE legitimate once more. With the first punch that Lesner threw, it sure seemed like he was legitimate. Whether the punch was meant for it or not is up for interpretation.
In my honest opinion, it looked like Lesnar did it by accident. Upon examining the takedown and first few punches from Lesnar, that first punch was with a closed fist and directly on Cena's face. The blows that followed it all landed on either the canvas or the midsection of Cena. You can even see Cena's left hand around Lesnar's head and see him tap him before flipping over to give Cena the advantage. The punch seemed to be just the heat of the moment for Lesnar and was not something that Cena reacted with by punching Lesnar back for it.
It also brings forth another scenario: did Cena want to be punched for real to become bloodied and make it look good? Lesnar was already prepping for a punch before taking Cena down and seemed to ask Laurinaitis what the sequence of the interaction would be. It was also convenient that Lawler, Cole and the production staff was quick to show that punch over and over again and show where the connecting blow came from.
Would Cena really take a punch to make the fight look better? With Cena's love for the product and the wrestling business, that actually could be. Let me know what you think by voting in the poll on this article. Tonight's RAW episode is being filmed in England, hours prior to when it will be airing in North America. What will the next chapter be between Lesnar and Cena? Will it involve the added stipulation to their match on April 29th? It makes me excited that so much hype can be built upon a match in such a short amount of time and that fans are chomping at the bit to find out.