The WWE creative team has us tuning into Raw each week looking for viable answers to their cryptic "It Begins" vignettes, and the most popular theories are certainly possible. Most tend to believe these artsy videos foreshadow the return of Chris Jericho, no stranger to viral campaigning. Some believe the videos herald the final run of the Undertaker.
Are these theories viable? Sure, but what if—after six months of letting the fourth wall crumble—WWE is actually banking on the speculative tendencies of the Internet wrestling community? I do not believe these vignettes are meant for Chris Jericho or the Undertaker. In fact, I don't believe they point to a returning star at all. After piecing together the subtle clues in all of the videos thus far, I can only muster one conclusion.
On January 2, 2011, John Cena will become the most powerful antagonist in the history of professional wrestling.
The first vignette opens with a docile young boy speaking of a power that will come to "punish the meek for their inequity." All real power in the WWE Universe is attached to one name: McMahon, specifically the character of Mr. McMahon. As for this inequity, to whom might the boy be referring? I foresee Mr. McMahon returning to punish the meek (the fans, who for years he's claimed do not know what they really want) for their inequity (an unfair bias against his most recent moneymaking brainchild, John Cena).
This first video sets a recurring theme, that of a "familiar force returning to claim what is his." This does not necessarily signal the return of a superstar who has been off television for some time; it could simply mean the return of the heel John Cena persona, which even casual WWE fans surely remember from nearly a decade ago.
The second video offers more clues. The boy refers to this "power" once again, referring to it as "a thief in the night, to claim what hoers have taken." From a storyline perspective, the viewer is to believe that control of the WWE Universe was, in fact, taken unwittingly from Mr. McMahon this past summer. This could signal a power coup once again placing Mr. McMahon in the role of central villain for Raw.
The third video opens by claiming "the power will come with vengeance to render his anger with fury." The boy then waxes prophetically on behalf of this "power", saying "the deception the weak have perpetrated will be castigated." In short, the fans might be punished for shunning John Cena and convincing the WWE Universe he is unworthy of his position. This video ends with the words "Look within", the first real clue imperatively directed at the viewers.
What does this mean? I perceive WWE is urging us to look within the current product for answers to this mystery, not outside of it (as would be the case with a returning superstar such as Chris Jericho).
The fourth video introduces the element of a female participant. Judging from the language in the video, namely the word "control" in relation to a female, I estimate this has something to do with Stephanie McMahon. This could mean she is actually the "power" the boy speaks of in prior videos.
The question then remains: who is she controlling? Is it Vince? Cena? I would assume that Mr. McMahon would not return to television alone, considering he was stripped of his authority in storyline. Perhaps Stephanie will return to seek vengeance on the "meek" fans for rejecting what they were given in John Cena and instead flocking to CM Punk, a man whose success is due mostly to his own diligence and the support of his loyal fans and not the power of WWE marketing.
The fifth and latest video focuses on this intense little girl—she pushes the boy's notebook from his desk as he stands punished in the corner. The boy then says "I cannot help you anymore. Do you understand?" The video concludes simply with the word "prophetless" on the screen.
I believe there is a contextual ambiguity at work here; the word "prophetless" itself could actually be a pun intended to sway the viewer. Replace it with "profitless" and new avenues of interpretation are open. Someone with the last name of McMahon is speaking to someone else, claiming they may be profitless. This could be Vince referring to Cena's inability to draw comparably to past stars, even though he's had support from Vince for years, or this could be Stephanie tiring of her father's growing senility.
Whatever the case may be, I feel WWE is trying very hard to fool the Internet wrestling community with this angle. Most fans expect a John Cena heel turn at some point, just as most fans expect Chris Jericho to return. How will WWE surprise their fans? Give them one outcome when they fully expect the other.
I am quite intrigued by WWE's decision to release an Anti-Cena shirt shortly before this angle is set to conclude. Perhaps the brass believes a heel Cena is more profitable than a face Cena these days. I find it very interesting that this shirt was available for purchase for nearly an entire day without an image available for it. I guarantee the shirt will sell huge even if people do not know what it looks like, which is probably what WWE is hoping.
The monetary possibilities of an antagonist John Cena are too significant to ignore any longer. Will any of this come to fruition? We will find out next year.
I would be very happy if Chris Jericho is in fact the end result of this angle, but I have a sneaking suspicion that WWE is making a new year's resolution to avoid the most obvious answers from now on.