This week’s edition of Monday Night Raw opened with John Cena celebrating his 14th (!) world championship win at last night’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Damien Sandow would attack Cena and cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, only to be beaten by WWE’s resident Superman.
Surely there will be some outrage over this booking decision. It’s yet another example of the WWE’s franchise player holding a younger star down—at least, that’s what people will say.
The truth is, Cena defeating Damien Sandow was a great creative move by the company.
There are two main reasons for this, both of which are interlinked. First, the World Heavyweight Championship needs John Cena to raise its prestige, and secondly, Damien Sandow is simply not ready to hold a world title.
I’ve previously detailed the rise and fall of the World Heavyweight Championship’s value. Its importance has been as low as ever for the past two years or so—the program revolving around the big gold belt has been, at best, the third-most important on the show.
Alberto Del Rio, talented as he is, was not great for the title. His rivalry with Dolph Ziggler was terrific, but the company dropped the ball with The Showoff and subsequently didn’t seem to even care about Del Rio’s feuds with Christian and Rob Van Dam.
When it was announced that John Cena would contend for the title in his grand return, the title got a much-needed and instantaneous boost in value. The title matters again. Every day the world title felt more and more like a midcard championship—but not anymore. Cena needs to continue to lend his star power to elevate the belt back to repute.
If Damien Sandow successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, it would be terrible for the title. What would happen if he won? Cena gets distracted and goes elsewhere and then Sandow has a world title feud with someone like Del Rio or Ziggler that would be an afterthought to programs including Cena, Bryan and Punk.
The Intellectual Savior of the Masses is skilled in the ring and strong on the mic, but he’s just not ready to carry a world championship. He had a memorable feud with Cody Rhodes, but what else has he done to justify putting the strap on him? He deserves some more opportunities, but just not this one.
Ideally, Cena will hold the World Heavyweight Championship for a while—long enough to keep him away from the Authority storyline until around WrestleMania. Sandow will hopefully get his day, but now is just not the time.
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