Sunday 26 April 2015

John Cena's Mid-Card Excursion

Four weeks ago John Cena won his first United States championship in over ten years, his fourth overall. I initially thought this was WWE's way of keeping him occupied while Seth Rollins enjoyed his inaugural reign as world champ. You know, before the trigger is pulled on Cena's journey to world title number sixteen, the reign which will tie him with Ric Flair for most world championship reigns ever (even though Flair has had a number of secret and unacknowledged reigns that take him above that official tally). 

This hasn't been the case. What I assumed was going to be nothing more than a bit of placeholder action has had meaning and purpose. Instead of running through the usual array of mediocre brawls and contracts signings opposite his rival (in this case the former US champ, Rusev) Cena has taken the weekly open challenge route.

John Cena: doing it for America!
This is a simple thing but it's worked wonders. It's opened Cena up to working with a wider variety of guys than he usually does. What are the chances of Stardust or Bad News Barrett getting to work with Cena if the open challenge wasn't on the books? Slim to none is my opinion. It's also meant we get a Cena match every week. He may not be the greatest wrestler ever, or even amongst the best in WWE, but he's not awful in small doses and his matches always get a reaction, which counts for a lot. Plus it keeps him away from lengthy promo segments. Those are a strength of his but he doesn't really keep them varied.

Basically, what's currently being done with Cena is what should have been done years ago. He's in a position to wrestle competitive matches with fresh opponents and newer names. The opponents get some exposure by working with the top boy and Cena gets to do something new. It's WWE finally doing something to prepare for the future.

No, nobody's beating Cena yet but that's not the purpose of the task. Cena isn't going to start losing every week. He's the company's top babyface. As a rule top babyfaces don't lose that often. They certainly don't lose to mid-carders on TV as a regular thing, even by count out or DQ. It's enough that Cena's in a position to wrestle these guys for now. The time will come where someone does beat him for the United States strap. It could happen on pay-per-view in a feature feud (like tonight against Rusev, although I really, really doubt that will happen) but it would be best if someone less established got an upset victory. It would be unexpected, give someone a huge boost, and contribute to making the US title mean something.

That last point hasn't been accomplished yet. Simply sticking the title on Cena was never going to be enough on its own. But it does mean more than it did on Rusev or Sheamus or Ambrose or anybody else who's held it over the last few years. The process of making the title mean something has been started. That in itself is an accomplishment.

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