Brock Lesnar won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from John Cena at SummerSlam on Sunday, August 17. The win came after a very surprising match that saw Cena take 16 German suplexes and basically get squashed during the entire bout.
Now that Lesnar is the champion, WWE suddenly looks like a very different company. Fans are accustomed to seeing Cena as the most resilient Superstar on the roster yet he has now been soundly defeated by Lesnar. And this could very well signal a changing of the guard in WWE.
This match was of course the second chapter in Lesnar and Cena's rivalry. The first chapter came back in 2012, when The Beast Incarnate physically demolished WWE's No. 1 star through the duration of their match at Extreme Rules.
Lesnar proved why he was the company's top wrecking machine and he proved it in a very big way.
However, Cena stood his ground and once again his resiliency won out. He overcame the odds and he beat Lesnar at his own game. Cena's critics were disappointed perhaps more than they ever had been in recent memory. Lesnar was supposed to leave Cena bloody and broken in the center of the ring and that did not happen.
And SummerSlam began much the same way.
Lesnar dominated the contest like he did in 2012 and even though he looked very impressive doing it, the crowd was perhaps a little hesitant to believe he would prevail. After all, they believed he would win the first time around and were surprised by the outcome then.
But this time, Lesnar's dominance continued throughout the match. He punished Cena from the opening bell to the final bell and when it was all over, Cena was lying prone while Lesnar celebrated his victory.
The Beast's era had begun and there is every reason to believe that it could last a very long time.
The reason for that lies in the fact that there is virtually no one that can take the strap from him. CM Punk is out of the company, The Rock is nowhere to be found and Randy Orton is currently still a heel in The Authority.
The only real threat right now to Lesnar is Cena and many fans likely believe that he will bounce back and eventually become the new champ once again.
But the way he lost at SummerSlam cannot be ignored. Cena went down hard on August 17 and the way he was completely dominated by Lesnar will never be forgotten. Cena did not look like the top main event star on that night; he looked more like a man on his way out.
And the truth is that many fans are likely feeling the difference now that SummerSlam is over. Cena did not appear on the August 18 edition of Monday Night Raw so the night essentially belonged to Lesnar and Paul Heyman. The two men gloated over the win at SummerSlam and Cena was not there to counter.
For many fans, this entire scenario feels very familiar.
The last time that the mood in WWE resembled an era of potential change was arguably the night after SummerSlam in 2013. It was that edition of Raw that saw the newly formed Authority celebrate Randy Orton's WWE title win over Daniel Bryan the night before. Bryan lost the championship mere moments after winning it, thanks to a shocking Pedigree from Triple H.
The man that Bryan beat for the title was of course, Cena. The company's top star went down and then he went out, thanks to much-needed surgery. WWE was left to live with the talent on the roster and Bryan became the new focus for fans.
It was a new day in WWE.
But the biggest difference between then and now is the way that Cena lost. The last time, Cena was able to silently exit while Bryan began his long storyline against The Authority. The company's biggest underdog fought the good fight and he did so with Cena's return looming in the background.
This time however, Cena was crushed. The way in which he dropped the title was shocking and this time there is virtually no hero strong enough to oppose the heel champion. Instead of passing the torch and going out with his head held high, Cena was left for dead while Lesnar, Heyman and the fans, danced on his grave.
This was surely not accidental, this was done by design.
WWE obviously knew that the crowd would celebrate Cena's loss at SummerSlam and WWE creative knew that Lesnar would be cheered in the process. The fact that Cena was seemingly tossed aside can only mean that he is once again prepping for a future comeback or that maybe the time has come for him to stand aside.
The mood may not be the only thing changing in WWE; the guard could be changing as well.
Is a changing of the guard happening in WWE after Cena's loss to Lesnar?
Perhaps the company has finally reached the point that Cena's future as the top guy must be addressed. Lesnar's dominance at SummerSlam could be just the first major step to a business change in WWE. While some fans believed that a younger star like Roman Reigns may be the one given an opportunity at the brass ring, it appears that may not be the case.
Lesnar has the ball and it looks though he will run with it.
Cena has been the No. 1 Superstar in WWE for over 10 years and while he has always been featured as the most resilient on the roster, Lesnar broke him down at SummerSlam. Now that The Beast Incarnate is on top of the mountain, it could be that Cena is on the outside looking in.