Cena v Lesnar was different to any pay-per-view main event WWE have ever promoted. I cannot remember the company ever promoting such a realistic worked encounter. It wasn't just the reactions from the crowd, it was the layout of the match itself. Cena bled hard way for starters. Not only did that contravene the company’s self-imposed no blood rule but it also marked the first time in years Cena has bled by design during a match.
It was peculiar for a WWE match to involve blood but not blades too. Usually when a WWE performer is required to bleed they take that approach as it is the safest and most effective way of obtaining the desired effect (and almost always guarantees a good visual too). That’s the case in most wrestling promotions, but particularly so in WWE. The decision to have Lesnar bust Cena open with a carefully placed punch not only gave the bout the realistic flavour WWE craved but also avoided Cena (not the world's most skilled worker, let's be honest) attempting to blade.
The Brock Lesnar Campaign for Legitimacy in Wrestling continued in the days following his match with Cena. It was conveniently leaked that ‘The Pain’ had trashed John Cena's dressing room following the Extreme Rules and he was booked to break Triple H's arm on the following evening's RAW. That was, of course, pure storyline but it still makes Lesnar seem like a dangerous, unpredictable and unscrupulous individual.
Would you argue with that expression?
That Lesnar supposedly destroyed Cena’s dressing room after their Extreme Rules clash has been a hot topic over the last week. Rumours have conflicted on how and why it came about. Some sources state that management informed Lesnar that Cena would be stretchered out of the arena to sell the beating he had taken. Lesnar was said to be angry that the stretcher job failed to happen and also that Cena pulled himself to his feet to cut a promo directly after the match.
Others feel that Lesnar was going to go wild backstage all along and that management were in on it, the idea being to have Lesnar look dangerous and unpredictable to both fans and talent. I imagine the truth is a combination of the two rumours: WWE likely told Lesnar to act up backstage so news of his outburst would leak online and he was probably a little miffed that Cena failed to sell the beating as much as he did. I would guess the stretcher debacle is an exaggeration and that Lesnar’s annoyance stems more from Cena being upbeat after taking such a pounding.
WWE will need to be careful to give Lesnar a victory soon but I don’t think a loss to Cena harmed him. The argument that having him lose his first WWE match in eight years has weakened him is understandable but it isn’t true. The truth of the matter is that Cena took a pasting at Extreme Rules and won only after Lesnar got cocky. ‘The Pain’ was clearly the dominant man in the match.
Cena got one lucky shot and captialised on it perfectly. It was essentially a fluke win for Cena. Had he gone through his standard routine of awful punches, a Five Knuckle Shuffle and an AA than it would be a different story. But he didn’t: he scored one AA and got an immediate cover.
It’s also worth remembering that Cena is WWE’s top star. No matter how tiresome he may be he’s the guy that beats everyone. It’s not as though Lesnar is being jobbed out to a random mid-carder with no long term plan in mind.
WWE’s aim is clear: they want to make sure Brock Lesnar is seen as a different sort of attraction. They don’t want him to be just another returning star or face on the roster. They want to emulate the UFC method as closely as possible and portray him as an animal and a machine in an attempt to replicate the box office success Lesnar enjoyed there. It’s the smart thing to do and they’ve made a very good start.