This article aims to look at the WWE Extreme Rules Cena vs. Lesnar match from a (mostly) kayfabe point-of-view. I am aware of the fact that wrestling is scripted, so there is no need to point that out in the comment section.
A Pyrrhic victory (/ˈpɪrɪk/) is a victory with such a devastating cost to the victor that it carries the implication that another such victory will ultimately cause defeat. At a purely technical level someone who wins a "Pyrrhic victory" has been victorious in some way. However, the heavy cost involved in winning and/or the unpleasant consequences which follow completely destroy any sense of achievement or profit. There is therefore no reason for celebration.
Those, ladies and gentlemen, are the introductory lines to the Wikipedia page tagged "Pyrrhic victory." If you look closer and closer, I believe you will find that clearly describes John Cena's win at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.
The match last night was not actually "a match." It was a schooling. A beatdown, possibly the worst John Cena has ever received in his life. At Money in the Bank back in 2011 against CM Punk, Cena put up a fight. At WrestleMania 28 against The Rock, Cena put up a fight. Last night? Yeah, Cena had the fear of the Lord beaten into him.
Now, if you asked me who I thought should win, I would immediately say Brock Lesnar. I believe the best way to give a man momentum is to give him a big win, and beating Cena to a pulp then pinning him would have done just that.
Also, if Cena was going to leave anyway (and it seems he will), why not have Brock send him on his way with an absolutely vicious beating? It would be more emotional for Cena fans, and it would give the man an immediate purpose when he returned: the classic motive that is revenge.
Who got the real momentum out of this match?
And besides, it bothers me a lot that Super Cena reared his head again. I feel the Super Cena tactic that keeps appearing in his matches is a deus ex machina, and it is, at least to me, very insulting to the fans' intelligence.
Now that I've given you the reasons why I think Brock should have won, I would say this: Lesnar managed to do something impressive last night. He managed to look just as good as—no, he arguably managed to look better than Cena, even on the losing end.
Let's look at this hypothetically: In football (soccer for the Yanks), when a team plays a horrible game, yet comes away with the victory, the commentators like to allude to the fact that the winning team did not "deserve to win."
Of course, that usually does not happen in professional wrestling, as the ability to rally and make a comeback in a losing situation is one that is touted and lauded (which is why Super Cena keeps popping up). However, it does bring up the question of whether we should celebrate Cena's victory just yet.
I mean, the man mounted very little offense and did not look his usual dominant self. In what was a seventeen-minute match, all of Cena's offense combined did not amount to three minutes and that's saying a lot.
Triple H lost to the Undertaker at WrestleMania 27, but left the Dead Man as practically that—dead.
What were his words?
"The Undertaker won the battle, but I won the war."
I think we can say pretty much the same for Brock vs. Cena.
In the end, Cena showed very little dominance, and then walked away more broken and battered than he would have liked. Which brings me to the conclusion: Cena won a battle in a war that seems to have only begun. The victory was so devastating that Cena could not even raise his arm in the air and celebrate; it seems he has been forced to decamp, return to home base and regroup.
If anyone is taking any real momentum out of the results of last night, it really does not look to be John Cena.
Here comes the pain.