The Hall of Fame panel that opened up this past Monday Night Raw was uninspiring to say the least. No real effort was put into having Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan sell the rematch between John Cena and Brock Lesnar at Night of Champions. Flair and Hogan took Cena’s side, using history as evidence. They’ve witnessed Cena make miraculous comebacks before and believe this was just a setback in his remarkable career. Michaels played devil’s advocate, saying not even Super Cena can overcome the beating that was dished out by The Beast Incarnate, especially given he only has a month to prepare.
This whole charade basically existed to draw some eyes from the Emmys, which was taking place in the same time-slot. It was a total waste of three legendary superstars who should only use their star power for meaningful and memorable moments. Cena, however, did save the segment by adding some intrigue to his character and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship rematch.
Cena understood why Michaels would doubt him and admitted he took the beating of his life at SummerSlam. However, getting beaten to a pulp changed him. He no longer cares about the WWE title. He no longer cares about beating Brock Lesnar in a match. Instead, he wants to simply beat Lesnar’s behind (Cena used a synonym, but this is a PG site).
All of a sudden a throwaway ratings grab of a segment turned into the most compelling storytelling by Cena in almost a decade. He isn’t being positive. There was no mention of hustle, loyalty and respect. Cena disregarded the championship and even winning the match. Cena has a taste for blood and he wants to hurt Lesnar, but how? Fans know Cena can’t compete one on one with Lesnar. They have 16 reasons why Cena can’t beat Lesnar, and they can be summarized by one phrase: Suplex. Repeat. So how is this rematch intriguing?
Before SummerSlam, Cena stated that in order to beat Lesnar, he needed to reach places he had never gone in his career — a darker side. He never had a chance at SummerSlam, because thirty seconds into the match he was hit by an F-5 and that was the end of that story. Now he has a few weeks to train and find his bizarro world vision that is vindictive and seeking revenge. The fans need to slowly see a transformation. The only time Cena should smile between now and Night of Champions is when he is hurting an opponent. No happy-go-luck promos, no pandering to the fans, just bitterness.
With Lesnar’s absence from weekly television, Paul Heyman needs to irk Cena and bring out a shadowy personality. Heyman is the most intelligent speaker in wrestling at the moment. He will know exactly how to accomplish this. The best way to damage Cena (in the storyline) is to force him to contradict the last 10 years of his career. Keep reminding him that neon-colored, Fruity Pebbles Cena can’t defeat Lesnar. Heyman should convince Cena to stoop to new lows with actions only a fellow Heyman guy might need to stoop too.
Cena doesn’t need to win the belt back at Night of Champions to symbolically “win”. Showing a new edge and aggressiveness will do wonders for his character and create a new dynamic going forward in the WWE.