David and Goliath Inverted: The Saga of John Cena vs. the Big Show
No Way Out 2012: The Big Show vs. John Cena.
Not really a spoiler alert, because Cena always wins. Cena always overcomes the odds, and despite seeming like his back is up against the wall and the next guy is one that Cena can’t possibly beat, John Cena always pulls it out in the end and wins the day. Now, Cena must overcome his biggest obstacle yet: the 7'0" 500-pound Big Show.
That previous statement would be true if this were 2004. But it’s not. It’s 2012. It’s been the better part of 10 years, and we have seen endless iterations of the David vs. Goliath story that is (at least in WWE’s mind) John Cena vs. Big Show. Every time they feud, they make it seem like Cena is the underdog, which is nothing new to him. Despite being a multi-time world champion, Cena always gets portrayed as the underdog and that’s just the way we’re supposed to see it.
However, Cena’s various Big Show feuds have taken this particular archetype in a weird direction. Never before has David vs. Goliath seemed so absolutely one-sided as it has with the long saga of Cena vs. Show. So I ask: who is David in this feud, and who is Goliath?
Here’s a hint: David isn’t wearing a “Rise Against Hate” shirt, and Goliath isn’t bald.
Has John Cena become Goliath?
By my count, Big Show and Cena have had four major feuds over the years: their initial feud in and around at WrestleMania XX; the triple threat feud with Edge at WrestleMania XXV; the continuation of their feud later in 2009 featuring the bizarre submission match (the one where Cena used the rope as part of the STF); their current feud-to-be featuring John Laurinaitis.
There is very little to gain from Cena and Show feuding again, unless WWE is planning on giving Big Show a late-career Mark Henry run (turning him into the dominant heel champion he always deserved to be). However, I doubt that’s where they’re going; I’d be interested in hearing dissenting opinions, but I would make the case that Big Show has been the single worst-booked performer in WWE history, if only for the difference between what his career should have looked like versus what it has actually looked like.
Fun fact: Big Show—despite being a huge, athletically talented big man with good promo skills—has held a world title four times in WWE: two WWE titles (for a grand total of around three months), one ECW title (for five months, though on WWE’s C-level show) and one World Heavyweight Title (for about two minutes).
Another fun fact: John Cena—despite always being booked as the scrappy underdog—has held a world title 12 times in WWE (four shy of Ric Flair’s record) and has held the WWE title for longer than anyone except Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund and Hulk Hogan.
Also by my count, John Cena has never lost to Big Show, at least not in a major PPV match. Yet we know that Cena will still be made to look like the underdog in his feud against Big Show in the coming month(s). But why, though? What does WWE have to gain from yet another Cena-Show feud where Cena will ultimately prevail?
The only way around this, I think, is if WWE embraces the bizarre David-and-Goliath nature of the Cena-Show saga by going in the more CM-Punk-esque reality direction. Cena needs to rub in the fact that Show thinks he’s big and bad but he’s never beaten him. Consequently, Big Show needs to play up how wrestling is his life, but he’s never really reached the pinnacle, unlike Cena. Show needs to make it seem like he needs to win; he needs to prove to himself that he is a winner by overcoming the biggest obstacle in his career: John Cena.
I’m not saying we’re going to see a double-turn or anything—at this point, it’s time to give up on the John Cena heel-turn talk since it’s never going to happen—but we need to be told the truth about this feud. The truth is that in this particular feud, John Cena is Goliath and Big Show is David. It’s Big Show that needs to overcome the odds, and it’s Cena that has nothing to really fight for here.
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