Heading into Night of Champions, WWE bookers need to take some steps to improve John Cena's current character if they want his rematch with Brock Lesnar to have appeal and intrigue.
Granted, Vince McMahon and his team of writers have a tough task ahead of them anyway. Lesnar absolutely destroyed Cena at SummerSlam, and it will be difficult to convince fans that Cena has a legitimate shot the second time around. But they haven't helped themselves with their muddled booking of the former WWE champion's character in recent weeks.
As noted, Cena was obliterated by Lesnar in Los Angeles. Ideally, this devastating loss would have led to a drastic revamp of his character; he would become depressed and disillusioned and start seriously questioning the state of his career.
But that hasn't happened. Sans a few remarks, Cena hasn't really sold it emotionally. Nor did he sell the beating he received. He was back in the ring soon after SummerSlam and looking better than ever. In general, he seems to be fine.
He even (hilariously) threatened Triple H with a lawsuit on Monday’s edition of Raw if Triple H withheld his title shot at Night of Champions.
Hey, how could fans not get behind a top babyface whose first reaction upon potentially being denied a match is to get the lawyers involved and sue everyone in sight?
How frustrating. The Lesnar loss was an opportunity to develop Cena's stale character, and the company seemingly dropped the ball.
It's not too late, though. WWE has a few weeks left until the showdown at the pay-per-view. The bookers still have time to sell the emotional effects of Cena's humiliating loss and explain how it badly shook him up.
Perhaps it's time for him to do a revealing sit-down interview with Renee Young or Michael Cole on Raw or SmackDown in which he truly opens up about his genuine feelings and concern for the future. He can speak candidly for the first time about his history of injuries and muscle tears and the struggles he faces going forward.
Perhaps he could tell people he is seriously contemplating stepping away from the business, possibly for good, if he doesn't emerge victorious at the pay-per-view. That would certainly garner interest in the bout.
Maybe Paul Heyman could take the psychological mind games up a notch and cut lengthy promos and continually remind the star that Lesnar is determined to end his career at Night of Champions.
Steps like this would help Cena garner more sympathy from the fans, something he desperately needs considering the fact that he has struggled greatly to win them over.
It’s time he becomes less of a caricature and more of a real person. How else will the fans be able to relate to him and want him to defeat Lesnar at the pay-per-view?
The bookers can make Night of Champions an intriguing show fans will clamor to check out. But they’re going to have to make some drastic changes to their top star’s character—and soon.