John Cena will be defending the WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan at the SummerSlam pay-per-view on Sunday, August 18. The match was made official on the July 15 edition of Monday Night Raw when Cena was allowed by new general manager Brad Maddox to name his own opponent.
Suddenly, Cena’s title reign just got a lot more interesting. And I believe that feuding with Bryan will invigorate his championship run like never before.
Actually, that should not really be all that hard to do, especially considering that Cena has only had two programs since beating The Rock for the title at WrestleMania 29. This is not exactly what you might call a hard-fought title run.
The first Superstar who stepped up to face John was Ryback. The matchup sounded good on paper, as Ryback had been spotlighted as a menacing bruiser who could not be stopped. He was one of the company’s fresh faces, a guy whose best years were certainly ahead of him.
But fans seemed to be mixed on just how well Ryback did in the rivalry with Cena. Ryback’s supporters believe that he really turned it up a notch, looking better than he had since debuting in WWE. For them, Ryback had proven that he could more than hold his own on the main event level.
However for those who were not quite as impressed, the entire feud was a waste of time. They believed that perhaps the whole thing was engineered simply to get Ryback over as a heel, nothing more. The title was never in any real jeopardy, so essentially there was no real drama in the storyline.
The second guy to go after a title shot was The World’s Strongest Man, Mark Henry. This program sounded much better than Cena’s with Ryback, mostly because Henry is so widely respected by so many fans.
The fact that Henry had arguably become WWE’s top heel did not hurt matters either. Henry was so strong in that role that he actually began to get cheered for his efforts. His retirement swerve on Cena is considered by so many fans to perhaps be his finest moment and truly set the stage for the rivalry.
But as with the Ryback feud, while some fans would have been happy to see Cena lose, the fact is that he did not. Indeed, the point ends up being that once again, the title was not in real jeopardy.
There you have it; two feuds, two wins, and that’s all there is. But with the new contender, it’s a whole different ballgame.
Daniel Bryan is not an unproven new face on the scene whose ring skills are highly debatable. He is also not a WWE veteran who is the sentimental favorite because his career is winding down. The fact is that unlike both Ryback and Mark Henry, Daniel Bryan is a legitimate threat to take the WWE Championship.
All due respect to Cena’s first two challengers, but Bryan is a much more viable contender and in a much better situation to become champion. Let’s face it; Daniel Bryan is more over right now than he ever has been in his entire career.
The crowd absolutely loves him. He can do no wrong in their eyes, and whether or not it makes sense storyline-wise that he will defeat Cena makes no difference. The fact is that fans believe he will. They believe that this is his time.
And honestly, they could very well be right. After all, the current Mr. Money in the Bank, Randy Orton, has had more problems with Bryan recently than he has with Cena. I can definitely imagine a scenario in which Orton cashed in on WWE champion Daniel Bryan instead of John Cena.
But either way, Cena is in for a great ride. And the intensity on his somewhat stale WWE title reign has just doubled. Bryan is there to not only show what he can do but to also get over on the man who is out in front of the company every time they hit the air.
As for Cena, he is at his best when he is facing off against a very talented performer like Daniel Bryan. The 11-time WWE champion just tends to step up his game, both in the ring and on the mic. He does everything he can to match what the other guy brings, and it will be very interesting to see just how much more entertaining this rivalry will be versus the other two with Mark Henry and Ryback.
It’s the great unknown that makes this one so different though, and so exciting. Cena’s title run will not be stale now, because this time around his WWE Championship is not so safe. This time he has an opponent who can outwrestle him and possibly even make him submit in the match. Bryan is at his highest point and there is really nowhere to go but up.
There is really nothing left for the company’s most popular Superstar to do except become the new WWE champion. Perhaps this is Daniel Bryan’s time after all.
John Cena’s current WWE title run has not exactly been the most exciting one that fans have ever seen. A big reason for this is because Cena’s two major opponents thus far were not truly in prime positions to take the gold from him. But with the red-hot Daniel Bryan stepping up to challenge him, Cena’s run should become very exciting, very quickly. He will be faced with the most exciting Superstar in WWE, and the intensity level will increase exponentially from here on out.
And there’s nothing stale about that.