In an interview with Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated, Cena raved about Lesnar and his place in WWE history: "I can say with the utmost sincerity that I believe Brock Lesnar is [the] best in-ring performer that I've seen and I know it's an opinion, and if you want a cool quote, here it is: I think he's the best in-ring performer of all time."
Lesnar placed another feather in his cap during the Rumble. He entered at No. 1 and set the all-time record with 13 consecutive eliminations before getting knocked out by eventual winner Drew McIntyre with a Claymore Kick.
Cena called the men's Rumble match and the overall event "absolutely awesome" and gave his thoughts on how Lesnar helped make it so successful:
"I thought his performance at the Rumble was a clinic on how to establish yourself, how to establish those around you, establish the championship, establish the importance of one event. He did so in less than 30 minutes, and I certainly don't have the skill set to do that, and it was awesome to be able to see a masterclass man put on a clinic on what to do and how to do it and I was really impressed with the Rumble."
Cena and Lesnar have locked horns regularly dating back to their time together in the OVW developmental territory in the early 2000s.
Lesnar made Cena his first target when he returned to WWE in 2012 after a lengthy hiatus, and they clashed in several memorable matches. The most remarkable came at SummerSlam 2014 when Lesnar decimated Cena from start to finish, which had never happened to Cena before.
Few have a more intimate knowledge of Lesnar as a performer than Cena, which is one reason why his opinion holds so much weight.
To put a bow on his analysis for Lesnar, Cena added:
"He believes so much in his presence, and he has such a definable presence you can't ignore him and he never wastes anyone's time and everything he does is special and everything he does meaningful and it's not all selfish. He's one of the most giving performers in the WWE and that is the mark of a true craftsman and a true professional."
A portion of the WWE audience tends to criticize Lesnar since he is only a part-time performer, usually has short matches and almost always wins. But those factors set him apart and make him special.
Lesnar is an attraction in every sense of the word, much like Andre the Giant in the 1970s and 1980s. He doesn't wrestle consistently and doesn't always defend his title, but when he does, it has extra meaning.
The Conqueror's involvement in the Royal Rumble gave it more of a big-fight feel than usual. While he tossed out 13 Superstars, he made many of them feel important, and he also helped make a star in McIntyre.
Despite being a dominant force, Lesnar knows when to sell and make his opponent look good—the true hallmark of a great performer.
If he finds the right balance with McIntyre at WrestleMania, then McIntyre could become the next megastar WWE has been searching for.
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