WWE RAW Report (September 15, 2014): John Cena learns bullying is wrong


Let’s get the obvious out of the way: this episode of Monday Night RAW was terrible. Take your pick on the horrible RAW bingo card: bad promos, uninspired matches, disjointed story telling, and piss-poor announcing. It was all there.

Typically, I span pages here on FanSided detailing my thoughts on each match. This week, I refuse to do so. I don’t think anyone really wants to read a couple thousand words of anger in this go-home show and I certainly don’t want to write them. Instead I’m going to focus on the highlight of the show, the one segment that was a perfect example of how you get your audience excited for a PPV match.

I’m talking, of course, of John Cena’s attempts to bully Paul Heyman.

That might seem like a strange claim. After my numerous past examples of decrying the WWE’s poor booking of babyfaces carrying out terrible behavior, how does John Cena and bullying fit in?

To be honest, I didn’t think I would be saying this myself. The entire first two hours of RAW were built around the question of whether or not Brock Lensar would show up to save his buddy, Paul Heyman. If you remember, last week Cena threw down an ultimatum: he’s beating someone up and he wants it to be Brock, if not, it’s Heyman.

Originally, I was fine with that. Many people jumped and assumed the worst here, namely Cena bullying and threatening a non-wrestler with physical harm. However, I felt it could work as a veiled threat to lure the beast out. If Lensar failed to show, he just fed his advocate to the wolves.

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What I didn’t state last week was that I also didn’t think Cena would go through with it.

But no, after Heyman promised Lesnar was on his way to the arena, Cena, knowing full well Paul is a documented lair, got some insurance. He decided to hold Heyman hostage. And this wasn’t a “I’m keeping my eye on you all night” kind of thing, but a physical, forceful, “I’m going to put you in a headlock and lock you in my dressing room” kind of thing. As if that wasn’t enough, Cena then enlists the help of the Great Khali to stand guard at the door because, for some reason, Cena couldn’t bother to follow through himself.

Once Brock didn’t show up by “halftime” (which was actually two hours into the show), Cena dragged Heyman back out to the ring in a headlock. After he saw there was no Lesnar, he prepared to beat Heyman down to cheers from a crowd that forgot Be A Star is a thing the WWE promotes.

But then Heyman changed all that.

Last week, he tried to lure the “beast” out in Cena, the dark side that many wrestlers including Kane and Bray Wyatt have tried to drag out of him. Heyman failed then, but made sure Cena knew that if he laid a hand on him, he would have given in. The look on Cena’s face, and the realization that he let his anger and hate get the best of him was priceless.

The WWE worked everyone to perfection, myself included. I was confident that they would go down the obvious terrible path that they’ve been down so many times before. This time though, Cena and Heyman slammed the brakes and gave that car a sharp turn.

Cena backed off, but Heyman saw a nerve was struck and he went for it and begged for the beating. Heyman spewed the worst venom he could think of, egging John on how his mommy and daddy would be so proud, especially considering their son wasn’t born with a set of balls.

The shot at Cena’s manhood was the last straw. He snapped and shoved Heyman out of the ring. It wasn’t a punch, an AA, or a wrestling move, but a shove, a weak, childish, spur-of-the-moment action. Cena finally gave in.

Then Brock’s music hit.

All of a sudden it became abundantly clear as Lesnar circled the ring to collect Heyman that plan was never to have Brock fight Cena. It was to unleash this beast because that’s what Brock Lesnar wants to face. He wants his next challenge, not the weak SummerSlam opponent he threw around the ring like a rag doll.

Lesnar and Heyman looked to be exiting the ring with their mission accomplished, but Cena wanted a fight. Because Lesnar couldn’t resist, and because he wanted to see just how far Cena had come with his anger, he obliged.

And promptly German Suplexed him with ease.

As Lesnar exited though, he got a bit of a surprise. Cena popped up and attempted to maul the champ. It wasn’t the usual “overcome the odds” Cena, this was a pissed-off, beast-unleashed Cena. By the time the two were finally pulled apart, Lesnar had a look on his face that spoke volumes and cemented the fact that this, indeed isn’t the same person he faced at SummerSlam.

And that’s exactly what he wanted.

That’s how you build a match. That’s how you work your audience. And that’s how you completely work a smarky internet critic like myself. I want to see how this “new” Cena fights Lesnar and, if they commit to this story in the ring, I really will not care who wins in the end.

In an episode full of awful, this was the shining example of perfect execution. It’s a shame the rest of the episode failed to deliver as well as this did.