Just how does WWE's booking team intend to hype up the Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena title match at the SummerSlam pay-per-view?
Fans got their first hint on a possible direction on Monday's Raw when Cena blasted Lesnar in the opening segment for lacking passion for the business.
It seems that, in Cena's mind, while he eats, sleeps and breathes the industry, Lesnar is merely in WWE for the light schedule and big paychecks.
This was some of the WWE champion's most intriguing mic work in a while—it's amazing how good he can be when he abandons the bad joke format and focuses on being serious.
It helped that he had a phenomenal talker like Paul Heyman to play off of, too.
Presumably Cena will continue to bring up Lesnar's lack of passion and interest in wrestling over the next two weeks.
OK, so it's not exactly a fair point—Lesnar's in-ring work over the past two years has been superb, and no one could feasibly accuse him of phoning it in—but it has enough reality in it to make it a convincing angle.
Perhaps on Lesnar's next Raw or SmackDown appearance he can play into this. He, or maybe Heyman, can get on the mic and belittle wrestling fans and the industry—he can say Cena is right; he doesn't care about anything but money and hurting people.
The purpose of this would be to help make Cena more sympathetic. He will be the devoted company man attempting to save the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from the clutches of a callous mercenary and his greedy manager.
Surely that would help bring even the most hostile of fans around to his side, wouldn't it?
OK, so there's the ideal storyline buildup; but what about the physical interaction between the pair heading into Los Angeles?
Well, obviously their big one-on-one confrontation should be put off until the last Raw before SummerSlam. Having them face off and clash prior to that would be a waste.
If anyone has to take a big bump in the next week or so, it should probably be Heyman. Cena hitting his finisher on the despised manager on Raw or SmackDown should help win over some fans too.
Cena/Lesnar, meanwhile, has to be treated like a big deal. (SummerSlam marks the first time they've clashed since Extreme Rules 2012, after all.)
Perhaps the two could have a contract signing in the closing segment that ends with them throwing around the furniture in the ring and attempting to destroy one another before being separated by a big group of security guards and road agents.
Then Raw would go off the air with the announcers screaming about the carnage, like something out of the Attitude Era.
It would be a tantalizing tease—and it would hype up interest in SummerSlam considerably.
WWE has had some average pay-per-views over the last few months. The shows simply don't feel like a big deal. Honestly, they're coming off like glorified Raws. The Cena vs. Lesnar bout, however, offers the company the opportunity to turn things around. It's the first big-time match it has had in several months.
As such, WWE has to be careful. They have to stick to a clear and simple narrative—Cena as the hard-working wrestler who devotes his life to the company, Lesnar as the indifferent mercenary—and greatly limit their physical interaction heading into the event.
It would be such a shame if Vince McMahon and his writers squandered this program with bad booking and jumbled storytelling.
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