3 Best Possible Finishes to John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam
Perhaps the biggest match on the card for this year's SummerSlam pay-per-view is John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship.
As with every important match, each member of the WWE Universe has their opinions on what they would like to see happen and what the outcome should be.
Who should win this match and walk out with the WWE Championship? How should it happen? What direction can WWE set up for the next pay-per-view, Night of Champions?
From my own perspective, if you boil down the factors of what WWE needs, what the audience needs and what these two wrestlers themselves need, there are only three possible ways to end this match that will avoid turning it into a failure.
Let's take a look at those choices and examine why they are the only options to go with from a booking perspective.
Daniel Bryan Makes John Cena Submit
The surefire way to put Daniel Bryan over is to have John Cena tap out, hands down.
In one simple motion of calling it quits, Cena will catapult Bryan into a position that few have achieved in WWE in the past few years for doing what felt like the impossible.
Cena has a history of never giving up, whether he's in an "I Quit" match or any kind of submission hold, no matter what the circumstances.
It doesn't matter what move is being applied to him, who his opponent is, how much Cena has been beaten down beforehand or any other details that could factor in—Cena always comes out on top.
Can you remember the last time Cena tapped out? In comparison, how would you be able to forget, down the line, the time that Cena tapped out to Bryan's Yes Lock?
While it is easy to go into this match expecting Bryan to win, it's extremely hard to believe that he will make Cena tap out.
As such, if nobody is watching out for this to happen, allowing Bryan to accomplish the inconceivable makes it all the more fantastic.
The cheers will already be enormous if Bryan wins, but if he wins via submission, the pop from the crowd could be deafening.
Daniel Bryan Pins John Cena
While it would do more for Daniel Bryan to make John Cena tap out, a pinfall victory is not without its benefits and is definitely the next best decision.
As mentioned before, Cena has been pinned by far more than he's submitted to his opponents, but it's still impressive when someone is able to pin him.
After all, he is WWE's Superman, and any fan of the comics knows the name of Doomsday—the character that temporarily killed that franchise player.
Any time you take out the head of a company, your stock rises. When it is done in a legitimate way, it actually skyrockets.
To get the most out of a pinfall victory for Bryan, WWE would have to avoid any kind of scrupulous details including distractions, interference, cheating or blind luck. If the intention is to give Bryan a spot at the top of the organization, he needs all the credibility he can get, so a clean win is the true pick here.
This is because despite Cena normally being the person who talks about being the underdog in his promos, Bryan is the one who is actually walking into this match facing an uphill battle.
What better feeling is there than when the little guy triumphs over the big dog in a way that cements his legacy?
When the fans hear the referee's hand hit the mat for the third time, it could come off as spectacular as Shawn Michaels winning the title for the first time against Bret Hart at WrestleMania XII.
A new star is born with that final count as Bryan wins a hard-fought battle to take his rightful place as champion.
John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan Ends in a Draw and a Cash-in
If the other two options are not what WWE wants to do for some reason, I think the only other outcome that has any value to it is for Randy Orton to be the fly in the ointment.
In the minds of Vince McMahon, Triple H and others behind the scenes, the mentality might be to rest this match's decision on Orton so as to avoid making anyone look weak.
With a draw, John Cena looks strong for not losing, Daniel Bryan looks strong for taking Cena to his limit (and also for not losing) and Orton walks out with the title, which never hurts.
As a result, all three men can be included in the WWE Championship match at Night of Champions, which beefs up the card and has the potential to be very entertaining as well.
The main benefit from booking this as the finish to the match is that Orton's heel turn could help revitalize his career, as he's been pretty stagnant for quite some time.
Although this is a safe way to play around with the superstars and include another one in the mix, there are flaws that come along with it.
For example, it deprives Bryan of his win, even if he takes the title at the next event. If he were to pin Cena at Night of Champions, he loses credibility by not pinning the current champion, Orton. If he pins Orton, he never defeated Cena and it looks like it was just a way to avoid making Cena lose to someone smaller.
If he does nothing at all, then this whole Bryan vs. Cena feud will have been nothing but a vehicle to push Orton, upsetting some fans in the process.
It's not my favorite scenario, and I frankly hope that it doesn't happen, but it's the last possible option that I think could be salvageable instead of a full-blown mistake. Everything else is a recipe for disaster.
What About the Other Possible Finishes?
You may be asking yourself why all of the other potential outcomes didn't make my list. After all, there are no disqualifications, count-outs or scenarios with John Cena on top.
Why is that? Simply put, it is because Cena retaining the WWE Championship in any fashion is a bad decision no matter how it is booked.
Daniel Bryan defeating Cena via disqualification cheats the fans out of a legitimate winner. The same applies to Cena being counted out, as that should almost never happen on a pay-per-view, particularly for a title match.
It's an even bigger disaster if Cena wins the match, as any situation with that result derails the upward momentum of WWE.
If Cena wins by any of the four methods he can, what does WWE have to gain out of it?
The fans who don't like Cena will not suddenly respect and cheer for him afterward, so his popularity at best will stay the same. In fact, being booked as victorious over an Internet darling like Bryan will probably make them dislike Cena even more.
There's no issue of credibility for Cena that comes into play. WWE does not have to worry about making sure he looks strong when he's consistently booked as the top face of the company who nearly always wins.
Even for the sake of the WWE Championship scene itself, keeping the title on Cena leaves fewer options for new and exciting feuds, while Bryan as the champion opens up new possibilities.
Cena stands to gain nothing out of winning this match, but in comparison, Bryan has everything to lose by not coming out with the victory.
With Bryan winning this match, he can also win over some new fans. Meanwhile, if WWE believes their own hype, Cena's ever-loyal fans will not leave him and merchandise sales will stay the same.
Perhaps Cena can win over some new fans as well, ones who will respect him more and have less complaining to do about him supposedly never losing and putting anyone over.
Expectations are high going into SummerSlam, and it's tough to argue against the idea that the majority of this match's anticipation surrounds Bryan walking out with the WWE Championship.
If WWE puts the belt on Bryan, it needs to be done in a serious manner that puts him over rather than in a twisted way.
On the other hand, if WWE decides to go a different route, they had better be prepared for many fans to be disappointed. A bad choice could ruin the entire event for a lot of the audience.
What do you think is the best way this match should end? Tell us your ideas in the comments below!