Tuesday, April 17, 2012

John Cena, Brock Lesnar and Lord Tensai

 Jason Powell from ProWrestling.net (DOT NET) posted his RAW Hitlist today and his two points about John Cena could not be more spot on in my opinion.
John Cena promo: He finally stopped smirking! It was cool to hear him admit that he's intimidated by Lesnar, yet also state that he's going to show up and fight. This was a great shift from the happy go lucky Cena character. We've seen so much of that type of Cena that it was very effective when he showed us something different. As much as I enjoyed the pull apart brawl last week, I felt WWE gave us too much of Lesnar and actually brought my interest level in Lesnar vs. Cena down a notch. They more than made up for it this week with good mic work from both men.
I have said repeatedly since his loss to the Rock at WrestleMania 28 and Brock Lesnar's return that John Cena is more interesting than he has been in a very long time.  For one, he has to show some vulnerability.  Two, this feud doesn't feel like an opportunity for Cena to "overcome the odds" once again.  The question of where Cena is emotionally after these defeats and Lesnar's bullying actually makes me care about the John Cena character.  It has been a long time since that was the case. Beyond that it allow Cena to be a hero for simply being willing to fight. That's the way it should be.
John Cena vs. Lord Tensai: WWE finally seems to be telling a story that involves Cena losing. Top babyfaces tend to have a long honeymoon period where fans are content to watch them slay every dragon. Eventually, though, the act becomes predictable and stale, yet most pro wrestling companies are too timid to mess with the formula even though it's no longer as effective as it once was. WWE has been guilty of that with Cena for far too long. I don't know if Cena showing vulnerability and eventually getting his redemption over the long haul will win over many of his detractors, but it does give his fans something fresh and an incentive to rally behind him. Meanwhile, WWE definitely made a statement that Tensai is a real player in the storylines by having him beat Cena. There should have been more focus on Tensai's shocking win from the announcers, but I do believe a lot of fans will look at him differently now that he pinned Cena.
Someone on WCMB said something like, "The win helps Tensai more than it hurts Cena" and I could not agree more. I appreciated how they were going about trying to build Lord Tensai although I think the gimmick is a bit over the top and Tensai could benefit from a singlet. Much like they have transitioned Brodus Clay into something more meaningful with Santino, Ziggler and Swagger they needed to do the same for Tensai. I never imagined they would do it so quickly though. When they let Tensai get even a fluky win, it really legitimized that character. It will be interesting to see whether that warms crowds up for him or not. Back to the Cena aspect, it also gave us the cool visual of him begging for water to get the mist out of his face. The fact that Tensai had not used that previously was nice as well.

All-in-all, a vulnerable Cena is a much more interesting Cena. I hope WWE continues down this path as it should hopefully illustrate that booking your top face as a Superman isn't the only way to go about things.