Fan criticism has apparently become the kryptonite to WWE's "Super Cena."
For the past several years, fans have been critical of the creative team's treatment of John Cena. Some fans have misdirected their gripes toward Cena himself, but he wasn't the one making booking decisions.
No matter who the decision makers were, the facts were clear: Cena was not losing often, and when he did, it was rarely in clean fashion.
But since WrestleMania, something has changed. WWE now seems to be taking Cena's character the opposite direction, pushing him into the corner and not giving him any breaks.
In recent weeks, Cena has been humiliated and bloodied by a returning Brock Lesnar. On Monday night's edition of Raw, Cena shockingly fell to another recently returned superstar in Lord Tensai.
It was announced during the show that Cena and Lesnar would face off at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view later this month in a no-countout, no-disqualification "extreme rules" match.
To help Cena prepare, general manager John Laurinaitis booked Cena into a similar match Monday against Tensai. When that match came at the end of the show, Tensai was joined at ringside by Laurinaitis, David Otunga and his handler.
The situation seemed perfect for Cena to pull his usual "overcome-the-odds-and-score-the-victory" maneuver, but then it never materialized.
Tensai defeated Cena, leaving the fans in London legitimately shocked at the result.
In recent blogs, I've advocated for Tensai to do something more significant than squash jobbers, but I never imagined he'd be allowed to defeat WWE's golden boy.
The question now becomes where do things go for both men. Cena is set for an "extreme" collision with Lesnar, and Tensai is past the point of no return for squashing nobodies now.
Since WrestleMania, WWE has thrown several curveballs at the fans, and it's making for a more interesting product in many regards. If nothing else, Monday night's Raw featured a shocking conclusion no one saw coming.
* The match between Cena and Tensai was decent. Tensai worked alright as a big man, while Cena was himself. The finish saw Tensai spray Cena with green mist and hit a big powerbomb. I'm still not sold on Tensai being a top guy in WWE, but a win over Cena should definitely help him.
* CM Punk and Mark Henry met in their third WWE Championship match in as many weeks, though this time the match had no countouts and no disqualifications. They worked a good match, but didn't take full advantage of the stipulation, as the only real weapon they used was a chair. It was nice to see Chris Jericho's involvement kept to a post-match promo, as his interference in the match would have been predictable. Punk and Henry managed to put together a good mini-program to keep Punk and Jericho separated. Jericho's footage of Punk walking in and out of a pub was pretty ridiculous. I spent a month in England, visited about 37 pubs and never had a drop of alcohol, so I can relate to the champ in this situation.
* Daniel Bryan cut what very well may have been one of the most entertaining promos in a long time, when he came upon Kofi Kingston and AJ talking backstage. Bryan renamed his finishing submission hold from the LeBell Lock to the Yes Lock, because that will be the answer when the referee asks his opponents if they want to give up. This sparked the crowd on the "Yes! Yes! Yes!" chant that continued throughout the show. Bryan and Kingston followed up with a great television match, which Bryan won with the newly re-christened Yes Lock. After the match, Sheamus hit the ring and chased off Bryan with an attempted Brogue Kick. A Kingston-Bryan feud could be a great midcard option in the near future.
* It was nice to see Tag Team Champions Epico and Primo on TV. It was less nice to see them jobbing out to The Great Khali and Big Show in a complete squash match. If Khali and Show are destined to be the next champions, maybe it's best to hope the champs remain the butt of the running "not appearing on television" joke.
* Santino Marella defended his United States Championship against Otunga in a decent match. Otunga failed to fall for Marella's tricks early on, and he actually managed to hit his finisher, but the champ put his foot on the ropes. Marella eventually hit the Cobra and scored the win. The feud between these two has been a little one-sided, and while Otunga has shown signs of improvement, he still obviously has a lot of room for improvement.
* The issues between Brodus Clay, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger continued, as Clay was scheduled to face Ziggler, but only a few moments into the contest, Swagger got involved and tried to save Ziggler, only to receive a beating from the Funkasaurus. Vickie Guerrero laid her hands on Clay's dancers, but received her comeuppance as well. This storyline is interesting, as it's not obvious to see what the end game really is.
* Fans were finally treated to Zack Ryder's match against Kane to earn a measure of revenge for the "Big Red Monster's" attack three months ago. Too bad for Ryder the match never officially started as he was decimated by Kane, who then sent words to Randy Orton. Good to see Ryder has come so far in the past few months.
* Once again, props go to the video production team, as they put together a nice package on Lesnar, who declared himself as an "ass kicker," not a superstar. I like the direction Lesnar's character is headed, being back to destroy people and "bring the pain" rather than worry about being a sports entertainer.
CM Punk d. Mark Henry to retain the WWE Championship
Santino Marella d. David Otunga to retain the United States Championship
Kane vs. Zack Ryder never started
Daniel Bryan d. Kofi Kingston
Brodus Clay d. Dolph Ziggler by disqualification
The Great Khali and Big Show d. Epico and Primo in a non-title match
Lord Tensai d. John Cena
Monday night's episode of Raw was a mixed bag. Bryan and Kingston put on a great match, Punk and Henry had a strong contest, Cena and Tensai was decent and the rest of the card was just kind of there. The build to Extreme Rules continued, and several storylines were advanced. Overseas shows have a reputation of falling short, but I wouldn't go so far to as to give this show that label. There are a lot of promising developments in WWE, and the next few months will tell a lot.
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