Tonight, John Cena cashes in the oft-used “rematch clause” against Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. On a night in which all titles will be defended, all eyes are most certainly on this main event, especially considering the dominating fashion in which Lesnar won the title at SummerSlam.
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If you’ve been out of the loop or have purposefully bypassed the past few RAWs (I wouldn’t blame you in the least), let’s get you caught up on this program and see if I can’t predict where this thing is going.
How did this start?
We could probably wind the clock all the way back to before Brock Lensar beat the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak. Upon his return, Paul Heyman mentioned that Brock should be considered the #1 contender for the then un-unified WWE Championship. The Undertaker came on the scene, confronted Brock and we all know what happened then.
So it should be no surprise that when Lesnar returned to RAW, he immediately injected himself into the title picture:
In that segment, Paul Heyman promised that Cena wouldn’t just be defeated, but beaten down and destroyed. The build to SummerSlam echoed this theme. Heyman prophesied Cena’s destruction week after week, but Lesnar was even more direct: he’d leave Cena in a pool of blood and urine and vomit:
Cena on the other hand, leaned on his usual hustle, loyalty, and respect. Odds will be overcome. Cena would beat the mercenary that is Lesnar because he’s given everything for this business.
Cena stood as the WWE’s god. We’ve heard the same story for years and we even had the history of Cena beating Lesnar at Extreme Rules. Lesnar and Heyman’s reasoning of Brock’s illness at that event, didn’t exactly provide enough hope that Lesnar would destroy the WWE’s golden boy.
The SummerSlam Squash
Within a minute of the bell ringing, Lesnar F5’d Cena and shattered any pre-conceived notions that anyone had about the match. Cena kicked out, but his beating only got worse from there.
There are few words that can describe that match, it has to be seen to be believed (and believe me, it’s worth the $9.99/month to watch an non-skipping version of this whenever you want):
It was an extended, fifteen-minute squash match, performed for the sole purpose to destroy the image of Cena as the WWE odds overcoming god. Throughout the match, Jerry Lawler played the role of Cena superfan and parroted the usual narrative that Cena would find a way to overcome this beating.
He never did. Sixteen German suplexes and an F5 later, Cena was soundly defeated.
Cena’s only offense the entire match was an initial flurry, an AA that Brock Lesnar popped up from like the Undertaker, and an attempted STF that failed in short order.
The WWE allowed Lesnar to kill their god.
The Night of Champions Build
The following RAW, John Cena was beaten so soundly that he was nowhere to be found the entire night. The following week, he talked about cashing in on his rematch clause with a bunch of WWE legends who were trying to do their best Skip Bayless/First Take impersonations.
It was clear he hadn’t really learned a thing:
Classic Cena: yeah I got beat, but THIS TIME IT’S DIFFERENT!
Thankfully, Paul Haymen exists to put things back into perspective and remind Cena that nothing will really even change unless Cena does. Heyman, like many others before him, tempted Cena to unleash his own inner peace and give in to the dark side so he could beat Lensar:
Cena didn’t quite give in, but the cracks began to show. He threatened to beat up Paul Haymen unless Lesnar finally showed himself on the following RAW, the go-home episode for Night of Champions.
In that episode, John Cena practically gave in to the hate and bullied Heyman around all night. It looked like Cena would succumb to his dark side until Heyman called him out on it. Eventually, Heyman pushed Cena to his breaking point, drawing out the Beast and a fight:
As I said in that linked RAW Report, Heyman and Lesnar’s plan worked to perfection. Lesnar doesn’t want the same challenge, but a new one to conquer. After the melee, Lesnar and Heyman both had rather surprised looks on their faces at the change they saw in Cena.
Predictions of where we go from here.
Predicting a Cena match is almost impossible as, despite the events of SummerSlam, “LOLCENAWINS” is still very much a thing that isn’t quite dead yet.
However, I have a feeling that the WWE is intent on burying that sentiment and building Lesnar as this mega-heel that can’t be beat. It makes little sense for the WWE to have Cena beaten so soundly at one of their biggest PPVs of the year only to follow it up with a Cena victory on a “B-level” PPV just a month later.
Lesnar is one of the first heels the WWE has had in quite a while that has legit “can’t-be-beat” heat. It would be a terrible shame for that to end now. It would make far more sense for the WWE to continue a Lesnar title run all the way into Wrestlemania to give a huge push to a new, up-and-coming babyface that is finally able to slay him.
The preveiling thought was that Roman Reigns would be that man, but his recent surgery has put that into doubt. Even with that wrench in the WWE’s plans, I still feel like that’s the best possible storyline for their future.
Perhaps Reigns will heal in time or maybe Daniel Bryan is ready to go for re-do of his run. Or maybe John Cena is the one that eventually slays the Beast. Either way, I have faith (perhaps misplaced) that the WWE sees the Lesnar title run for the hot angle that it is and sticks with it.
I don’t believe this will be another SummerSlam squash match, but I don’t see Cena winning this one. These are odds he can’t overcome.