I think that it is safe to say that Wrestlemania 29 left fans with a bad taste in their mouths. Although the undercard featured some strong matches and both the Undertaker vs CM Punk and Triple H vs Brock Lesnar were both well-received, it was the main event that had the biggest impact on the show. Unfortunately for the WWE, that impact was widely agreed upon as being negative.
The last thing that I personally wanted to see was for John Cena to beat The Rock simply, 1-2-3, and then both men hug each other and embrace one another in front of an (in theory) appreciative crowd. It just seemed like something that was too obvious, too predictable and too repetitive. Well, that is EXACTLY what we got.
Last year, some people were saying that now that the Rock had won, next year there was going to be a rematch and that this time John Cena was going to win. At the time I scoffed at the idea of this happening, no way that the WWE would give us such an obvious and predictable story arch right? Well I was a fool for thinking that, because those people were right. The WWE gave us something totally in line with what they have been doing for the past 10 years and we all ate it up. I'm ashamed with myself for thinking that things could have been different when it was obvious that they were going to stay the same.
The reason that I have such a huge problem with John Cena continuing to be the rah-rah never-give-up face is that it is just so old and overdone at this point. Even though Cena has not been the WWE Champion in over a year and a half, it still feels like he is always in the main event, always the top face worker and always the idol of all the casual and uninformed fans. For that time span we have never gotten a break, never seen a change in character and never seen a possible alteration in the company's formula.
It has been eight years since Cena has captured his first world title. That is a mind-blowing amount of time for one guy to be in the same spot with the same character. Austin and The Rock had numerous character turns during their careers in the WWE, and that time span was shorter than Cena's reign on top. From 1990 to 1998, Ric Flair turned either heel or face an approximate 200,000 times. The only comparable person is Hulk Hogan, who was a top babyface with mostly the same shtick from 1985-1993 in the WWE. And Hogan was doing it a time with only four yearly ppvs and no Monday Night Raw. John Cena has been exposed more prolifically and longer than just about any character in wrestling history. And people wonder why everyone is sick of him?
Right now, it appears that the Rock may be back to get his rematch at Extreme Rules, but after that it looks like he will go bye-bye for a while. With the Rock gone, who does that leave Cena to feud with? Punk looks to be taking some time off, Ryback is feuding with Mark Henry, the Big Show looks to be working with Sheamus and Orton and Jericho will probably keep his feud with Fandango running. Even some of the younger heels like Cesaro, Ziggler and Barrett are not likely contenders because they have been booked poorly in the past few months. No likely contenders have emerged, which means that Cena will probably just steamroll over his competition over the next few months, leaving us with some very unexciting main event level feuds.
What it comes down to is that everything Cena potentially will be doing down the road as a face champion has been done before. It's repetitive at a time that fans are really looking for something different and the last thing a lot of people want to see is Cena "overcoming the odds" again. I try to stay positive and remain optimistic about the future, but with the current direction the WWE is heading in with Cena, I just can't be tremendously excited about what is going to be happening in the near future, I can't.
The alternative to Cena being the top face of course is him turning heel. It is unlikely that the WWE will have a better chance to turn Cena heel than they did last night, so it looks they that a heel Cena is a pipedream and nothing more. I was literally screaming at the TV last night during the Rock and John Cena's post match handshake, saying "Alright, now hit him with the belt! Nobody cares about your stupid hug, hit the Rock with the belt Cena!" A heel Cena would have been fresh, he would have been the most hated man in wrestling since Hogan (he still might be) and it would have generated a ton of interest from fans who tuned out on the product long ago. Unfortunalty, the WWE did not have the guts or the fortitude to do the turn, something that I thought I would never say about a company ran by Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Maybe it was too many t-shirt sales, too many make-a-wishes and too many endorsements that kept Cena a face, maybe the WWE didn't have confidence in any of their other performers to carry the torch as the new top face. Whatever it was, the fact remains that Cena is the top face, not a heel and it looks like it is going to be that way for the foreseeable future.
What exactly is the WWE trying to gain with Cena as the champion? Will TV ratings go up? Will ppv sales go up because of Cena? I can't imagine a significant increase in either category, and if they do not it makes the decision to make the SuperCena character the WWE Champion even more unjustifiable.
The worst thing about the whole mess from last night is that even though most of us were upset with the outcome, the WWE as a business won big time. Wrestlemania 29 was a smashing success, drawing a bigger audience than any wrestling event to ever take place in the United States and possible more ppv purchases as well. From a bottom financial line, Wrestlemania 29 was the greatest ppv event in the history of pro-wrestling, even if a majority of us fans didn't think so.
To conclude on a positive note, perhaps the WWE sees these problems that I listed above and have a really good plan for what they are doing this summer. Maybe they have a hot storyline that none of us have even thought about and Cena's present reign as champion will be the most memorable yet. I'm prepared for anything. Last night may have sucked, but perhaps the repercussions may not.
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