Just three weeks ago, John Cena stood in the ring and gave one of the worst, most incomprehensible promos of his wrestling career. It was the final promo in a year’s worth of promos against the Rock, and though he lost at WrestleMania 28 after all that talk, all he wanted to do was talk some more.
And maybe shake a hand.
John Cena did get to shake a hand that night, but it wasn’t the Rock’s. It was the hand of former UFC ultimate fighter Brock Lesnar. It was a handshake-turned-F5, and Brock Lesnar has been setting the pace ever since that night.
In a sense, Brock Lesnar has been the anti-Rock, and Lesnar-Cena is the anti-Rock-Cena. Brock Lesnar has not come back to become reacquainted with the fans, nor does he wish (nor is he capable of) winning a war of words with anyone.
This was proven on his second week back, when Brock Lesnar sidestepped a promo in favor of sending John Cena to the back with a busted mouth. Still, John Cena continued to talk, as he has become accustomed to doing. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but John Cena is a chatty wrestler. He even talks to the camera before he sprints to the ring. He is Mr. Explain It All, always telling us why he’s done the things he’s done or is doing the things he’s doing.
It’s important for the kids, I suppose, to know how hustle, loyalty or respect is attached to each of his actions.
But something happened on the go-home RAW this past Monday: John Cena fell silent.
In what is now a leading candidate for promo of the year, Edge let John Cena have it in a message similar to the one given to John Cena by Rowdy Roddy Piper, twice. Yet, John Cena did not give the usual, I’d like to thank you for your message, but I will not follow it response. Instead, he stood in silence, facing the fact that he must face Brock Lesnar, who has everything on the line at WWE Extreme Rules.
This—wrestling, fighting—is why Brock Lesnar was brought back. WWE RAW this past Monday proved it wasn’t for his promos. Brock Lesnar has been at his best when he’s bullied John Cena and Josh Matthews, and even his sit down interview was great because it alluded to the coming fight.
This is not the Rock versus John Cena.
John Cena is not Brock Lesnar’s last opponent, nor is he his only opponent. John Cena is just the first opponent for Brock Lesnar. Every claim of legitimacy from Brock Lesnar will or won’t be proven true at WWE Extreme Rules. I suspect the pace, style and combat methods used in the match will reflect the new Brock Lesnar more than John Cena.
And John Cena needs to take it.
John Cena needs to take the beating of his life, in order to boost Brock Lesnar, the WWE, and even himself.
There is a match that comes to mind. It is Ric Flair and Vader at Starrcade 1993. I had, at that point in my life, never seen a man take a beating like Ric Flair took at the hands of Vader. When the match was over, I never felt more endeared to a wrestler than I felt to the bloody, toothless Ric Flair. It has been said, perhaps in Ric Flair’s book, the memory escapes me, that Vader was going to beat Ric Flair until Ric Flair truly fought back.
Eventually, Ric Flair did, landing stiff punches, and it was fantastic.
That is how I would pattern the matchup between Brock Lesnar and John Cena. Brock Lesnar should give John Cena the beating of his life, and there should be blood. It would set a precedent that Brock Lesnar is not just another wrestler, and it would toughen the image of John Cena.
And let him fight back.
Let him not rise above hate, but let John Cena rise above rhetoric and do his talking in the ring. Let him stand toe-to-toe and man-to-man with Brock Lesnar, and let the blood they leave beneath them do the talking for their match.
And if John Cena is asked about the match the next night on WWE Monday Night RAW, it’d be nice if he would simply reply, "No comment" and keep on moving.