Hello in the Bleachers!
Those who have followed me know that I am a John Cena fan. While that may cause me to lose some cred with those in the IWC—I like what I like, and like any fan, I want to see my favorites succeed. But when John Cena cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and was the first—ever—to fail to win the world title, it was the best thing for John Cena and the WWE on a number of levels.
First of all, John Cena needs to be taken down a peg. I say this because, well...
Suppose that Superman was not killed off (knew you Cena haters would love this analogy so I am including it in first), in his underground bunker when kryptonite was slipped around his neck?
Suppose Batman was not emotionally tortured or had not had his back broken by Bane in the comics?
Suppose Peter Parker's Uncle Ben had not been killed, and Peter could have stopped it but chose not to?
Ok—I am a comics fan, but I am also making a point, which is without adversity or an Achilles heel, no one cares about a hero—or villain for that matter. The one argument that I can see as valid that the IWC makes against John Cena is the idea of 'Super Cena' which can, after a while get old. Ok, the Jorts are pretty lame too...
By having Cena cash in and fail, John not only has some adversity to contend with but also gets tagged with the distinction of being the first to fail at doing something.
It gives him something he needs to avenge, redeem and wipe away.
Plus, it does take away from some of his 'Super' patina. I mean, could you ever figure Superman failing at...well anything? Nope.
And it has already had an effect on how fans react toward Cena. In this spate of bad fortune (Cena has been suffering since losing the the Rock), the fans slowly but surely are beginning to cheer for him again. He is an underdog again and people love the underdog.
Second Point—John Cena needs some time away from a title. Even I, the big John Cena fan that I am, was tired of him doing the round-robin of the same title defenses against the same people, with the same endings, over and over and over.
It has been good for the WWE to go with some unconventional choices like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan (D-Bri for those of you who speak Bookerese—can you dig it?) for a change. We have seen some great (and some not so great) matches with some new faces that we might never have seen if we had Cena and Orton having the two world straps ad nauseam.
And we have been so saturated that this lengthy absence is called for and needed.
Next point is that Money In The Bank, cool a concept as it is, is a cheap way to the championship and has to it, no real suspense. Don't get me wrong, some who have cashed the briefcase in have had glorious championships. But getting a title match after a champion is unconscious having defended his title and getting beaten to a pulp?
Does it add drama to any one championship reign? Yes.
Does it enhance the stature of the new champion or the championship itself? No.
By finally having someone fail in his attempt to cash in MITB, it does at least add some suspense to it and makes it not so much of a sure thing. Winning the briefcase is prestigious in its own right. I have always felt that winning the belt through those means was like rice or Tilapia—no intrinsic flavor.
Even as a fan, I think that if Cena had won the strap that way, it would have been cheap. Less cheap than if he had cashed it in on a nearly dead CM Punk on Raw 999, but cheap regardless. And this brings me to my final point...
The road to John Cena's next title reign needs to be epic. John Cena needs the title again. The face of the company needs not always have the strap nowadays, but he should have it from time to time.
His time is not now...but it is soon.
If he is to have a successful one, one that will once again endear him to the fans, it has to be a hard climb. He needs to battle his way through several opponents to get to the contender ship.
TNA (yes, for some that is a four-letter word) built up some good drama and credibility with an aging Kurt Angle by having him go through 10 opponents till he was ranked the No. 1 contender for the title. They also build some degree of drama in their Bound for Glory series where the contender must win many matches to earn points and go through almost everyone on the roster.
In the end, the contender really earned that title shot. I don't know if something similar here is the answer, but the point is that Cena's next climb needs to be a hard fought one.
He even needs to lose a few opportunities. Clean. Against real opponents. In a good, back and forth match.
He needs to be seen as the underdog again. He needs to be knocked down. He needs to be in a situation where he can showcase the intestinal fortitude he is famous for.
Indeed, loosing to the Rock was a good first step.
I will be man enough to admit I was wrong.
I was dead against the Rock winning against Cena at WrestleMania, not so much because I am a Cena fan, but because there is no way that The Rock is going to devote the same amount of time to WWE as John Cena is. This is not to knock the Rock; I am just stating the truth. Why knock your face for the next 10 years or so by having him lose to a part-time player.
But I was missing the point.
It has been some time since Cena has been champion.
It has been some time since Cena has been through what he has been through since WrestleMania...if ever.
When the story of Cena's next title reign is written, it needs to be something like "Wow, can you believe what Cena went through to get that Championship?"
Money in the Bank just would not have fit the bill.
I, as a fan, want Cena's next title reign to mean something.
In losing, Cena will win in the long run and so will WWE.
I welcome your comments.