The WWE World Heavyweight Champion should be the most interesting competitor in the wrestling at that moment in time. That doesn’t always mean the highest selling wrestler or the most talented performer. There are a lot of talented wrestlers out there that a solid fan-base but they never really get the momentum to really take off. Part of that might be down to the writing and the booking of the shows which might fail to give certain wrestlers the right circumstances to succeed but some of it is also down to the competitors themselves. There’s a lot to be said about taking the opportunities that you’re given and making a name for yourself by just doing it well.
Being the WWE World Heavyweight Champion is about being the face of the company; the one that most securely and completely represents what that company is about at that time. They should be at the forefront of the biggest storylines, battling with the baddest villains and just in general being someone that the company can point to as the guy that incorporates the direction that the company is going. In light of that description, can we really say that John Cena is the best choice to be WWE World Heavyweight Champion?
A lot of people might point to Daniel Bryan as the best choice to be the champion because he did signify a changing of the guard of sorts. It’s not like the veterans were being put out to pasture but he overcame Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion and he did it on the same night that The Undertaker’s undefeated streak was broken. I’m not saying that those too events were intended to coincide but there was an atmosphere in the air that felt like this was a new direction for the WWE.
Actually, it is unfair to hold Bryan up as the standard of the champion for a new generation of WWE superstars and fans. Until CM Punk went M.I.A. the plan for Bryan was a mid-card grudge match with Sheamus, if the dirt sheets are to be believed. If that was the case then we might never have gotten the title reign that we did because, if you didn’t know, Brock Lesnar is coming back at the SummerSlam pay per view and he’s gunning straight for those WWE World Heavyweight championship belts. Let’s say Batista wins the title at Wrestlemania to the fanfare that the WWE had hoped for. Best case scenario, Batista drops the belts to Bryan at Extreme Rules, and Bryan either loses them to Cena at Battleground or Lesnar at SummerSlam. Worst case, Batista carries them all the way to SummerSlam.
Let that sink in. In the original plans, Bryan’s best chance at seeing a sniff of those titles was as a transitional champion. But life sometimes works in our advantage and as much as I am a massive fan of CM Punk, him walking out was probably the best thing that could have happened to the WWE. It caused them to reassess the situation and gave Bryan the opportunity to take the character to the next level. It’s simply disappointing that reality also ended up injuring Bryan. Right now it’s looking like he won’t be back for a year. So WWE needed a champion to fill the void. And that champion should have been the performer who was in the most high profile stories and in the top hyped matches. For the past few months, that criteria hasn’t fitted John Cena.
The most interesting and compelling product that WWE have at the moment by far is The Authority. From their B+ player antics to the smarmy way that they talk to employees, The Authority has made themselves as devious and annoying as possible. Viewers can’t help but hate them as they actively hold down fan favorites such as Daniel Bryan and The Shield. Standing up to them instantly makes even the most vile characters likeable, as evidenced by Vickie Guerrero, and aligning with them can create a loathsome heel, which it did to Seth Rollins. Nothing else in the WWE causes such a reaction on a constant basis. And it entices the audience to keep watching, to see what terrible trickery The Authority will get up to next and for those rare moments of comeuppance.
Now I’m not saying to give the title to Triple H or Stephanie McMahon. They aren’t active competitors. However, there is a natural choice. In fact it makes very little sense that they would have a ladder match for the title where their preferred champion only has a one in eight shot. I’m no fan of Randy Orton, I find him to be dull both in the ring and on the microphone, but he would have made the most sense. The Authority could have simply handed him the title and really he does have the most claim. He was champion before Bryan and was never pinned to lose the belts. Of course, that would require some consistency in WWE writing.
Looking outside of The Authority for a moment and pretending that Roman Reigns isn’t ready for a title reign, the only other major storyline in the WWE is Bray Wyatt and ironically that seems to have lost a lot of steam recently specifically because of the losses that Wyatt has suffered at the hands of John Cena. Wyatt is now two weeks deep in to a feud with Chris Jericho which I’m hotly anticipating. If that hadn’t of happened, Wyatt winning the belts would have slotted more naturally into an antagonist role of the Authority than John Cena currently is. I mean, if Bryan doesn’t look like a champion, can you imagine what the McMahon-Helmsley faction reborn would have made of Bray?
All of this came to me as I watched the most recent episode of WWE Raw and realised that John Cena, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, felt like an afterthought. Sure, he had a match with Rollins and some interactions with Reigns but Roman Reigns is the star here and Cena and Ambrose are his allies against The Authority. There’s something wrong when your top champion is playing second fiddle to the top feud. But guess why he’s champion? Because he rakes in the money, and after the recent financial revelations, WWE are all about the money. So that’s annoying. It’s also annoying that Brock Lesnar is on the horizon and we can see exactly where this is going. Beyond that though, things could be interesting…