Just four months after ending The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania, Brock Lesnar completed yet another high-profile conquest Sunday night at SummerSlam.
The Beast Incarnate defeated John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and now finds himself atop the heap in WWE for the first time since 2003.
The SummerSlam Twitter account had the news:
The WWE Universe account snapped a photo with the new champ and his belts:
WrestlingINC.com and expert Kevin Sullivan provided their initial takes:
#SummerSlam: Lesnar is the new WWE champ. Cena was totally and completely dominated.— WrestlingINC.com (@WrestlingInc) August 18, 2014
Although Cena is almost always favored to come out on top, that wasn't the case leading up to the summer's biggest pay-per-view. The leader of the Cenation was a decided underdog against Lesnar, and the expected result ultimately came to fruition.
The overarching assumption was that Lesnar would win after ending The Undertaker's streak and establishing himself as the most dangerous and dominant figure in WWE.
Despite taking a hiatus following that win, Lesnar entered SummerSlam with a ton of momentum due largely to Paul Heyman's magical promo work.
When Triple H had nobody to turn to in his attempt to get the WWE World Heavyweight Championship away from Cena, he resorted to "Plan C" and made a metaphorical deal with the devil by agreeing to let Lesnar face Cena.
During the lead-up to SummerSlam, Heyman did everything in his power to strike fear into Cena. Heyman claimed that Lesnar would take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and eliminate Cena from WWE in the process, according to WWE Universe on Twitter:
The greatest advocate in WWE history even offered a SummerSlam sales pitch to Cena fans that unquestionably got under their skin, as heard in this interview:
If that wasn't enough, Heyman provided a visual aid by customizing Lesnar's shirt prior to the big SummerSlam clash, courtesy of WWE's Instagram account:
Was having Lesnar beat Cena the right decision?
Heyman and Lesnar did basically everything possible to get inside Cena's head. Although Cena was defiant, all signs pointed toward the WWE World Heavyweight Championship changing hands.
Cena is WWE's go-to guy and will always be trusted with the title, but there is nothing exciting about him as champion at this point.
The last Cena vs. Lesnar match prior to SummerSlam occurred at Extreme Rules 2012 shortly after Lesnar's return to the wrestling business. Many were shocked when Cena defeated Lesnar in that match, but Cena winning Sunday would have been an even bigger surprise.
With that said, a select few still believed that Cena would end the night as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, including WWE legend Hulk Hogan:
@FutureWWEDiva63 im betting on John Cena to walk in as champ and walk out the same way HH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) August 11, 2014
Squandering Lesnar's feat of ending The Undertaker's streak was almost unthinkable, and WWE made the right decision by having Lesnar go over and further establish his dominance. The Conquerer is so credible that he will always have drawing power no matter how many times he loses, but there was simply no logical reason for him to take the loss against Cena.
Even though Lesnar is a part-time wrestler who probably won't appear or defend the title on a regular basis, at least this result provides fans with something fresh.
Prior to Lesnar's landmark victory at SummerSlam, Heyman provided some possibilities for Lesnar's next feud in an interview with Ring Rust Radio (h/t WrestlingInc.com):
I see Brock Lesnar defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against all-comers. That could mean Randy Orton, that could mean Seth Rollins, that could mean Roman Reigns, that could mean Dean Ambrose, that could mean Big Show, that could mean Daniel Bryan. If there is anyone that wants to step up and try to take the title away, because that's the key. You're not going to just luck a victory over Brock Lesnar. You're going to have to beat Brock Lesnar in order to take the championship from him.
Another potential option for WWE is to have Lesnar vacate the title on Raw simply to prove a point. He has already done it all in WWE, and there is no reason for him to hang around as champion. That could then lead to a tournament at Night of Champions.
Failing that, a rematch between Lesnar and Cena at Night of Champions is likely on tap. If WWE goes that route, though, it will either have to put the title back on Cena or proceed with Lesnar as a part-time champion.
Making Lesnar the heavyweight champion gives WWE plenty of options, though, and that beats carrying on with yet another Cena title reign.
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