Given how long it has been since John Cena has been in the WWE title picture, you can be forgiven if you just assumed that he was going to win the gold at Night of Champions against CM Punk.
Instead, WWE tried something that actually works out a lot better for Cena now and in the future. Rather than just put Cena over clean and have him hold the belt for a month or two before Punk wins it back to challenge the Rock at the Royal Rumble, this is going to get dragged out.
When we say dragged out, we don't mean the usual WWE going back to the well once or twice too often because the creative team can't think of anything better to do.
No, what WWE must do is keep the teases of a Cena title win coming. I do think that Punk should win at least one of their future matches clean, though I doubt that will happen because WWE rarely has anyone just go over Cena in a one-on-one match.
We all know that Cena is going to win the title eventually—most likely at WrestleMania in a rematch with the Rock—so what purpose would there be to giving him a cheap title reign right now that will mean less than nothing?
By teasing a Cena victory last night with the referee counting to three but seeing that it was Cena's shoulders on the mat, gives you all the story you need to know for the next seven months.
Not only does this give you the opening you need to put Cena and Punk in the ring again at Hell in a Cell, but you can start to build up how Cena isn't capable of winning the biggest of the big matches anymore.
Sure, he defeated Brock Lesnar in April, but WWE will hope that you don't remember that. Instead, it wants you to remember that Cena lost to Rock at WrestleMania, was unable to defeat Punk at Raw 1,000 and failed to do it again at Night of Champions.
Once you start planting that doubt in people's minds, it is a simple story to build. It is almost identical to what WWE did with Chris Jericho when he was chasing the WCW title against the Rock all the way back in 2001.
Granted, it is more difficult to sell people on the idea that Cena can't win the big one, but if it is built up right, wrestling fans are willing to believe anything you tell them.
A tease is enough to whet your appetite for the inevitable. We all know that Cena is going to win the WWE title again, but there is no need to rush it. If you do, you make Punk look like less of champion, Cena will face even more backlash from the crowd than he usually does, and his eventual win won't have the impact it can.
For once, WWE appears to be doing right by a story and drawing it out for the long-term impact rather than short-term gain.
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