Greg DeMarco chimes in to ask what must be asked: Could John Cena go for #17 At WWE WrestleMania 35?
WrestleMania season is upon us, and everyone is going nuts for the possibility of Becky Lynch challenging Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey straight up, and vehemently arguing against the likely addition of Charlotte Flair to the match, giving all three women the chance to close a WWE WrestleMania. One name everyone is ignoring? John Cena.
Former college football player, bodybuilder, part-time movie star and oh yeah former 16-time WWE world champion John Felix Anthony Cena, Jr is being criminally ignored by wrestling fans in the same manner they’re quickly dismissing the chance of Charlotte Flair joining the fray with Becky and Ronda–because they don’t want it to happen.
Well, face facts folks, you NEED it to happen!
The addition of Charlotte Flair to the showdown between Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey is another topic for another time. Today I want to go deeper into the fact that John Cena chasing #17 at WrestleMania 35 is a very real possibility that literally no one is talking about.
Let’s take a look at the landscape of WrestleMania 35 today:
- Brock Lesnar is defending the Universal (Heavyweight) Championship against Seth Rollins in the “main event.”
- Ronda Rousey is defending the Raw Women’s Championship against Becky Lynch in the “main event” and Charlotte Flair is likely to get added.
- If Charlotte Flair isn’t added, it’s likely that she challenges Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Championship in a rematch from last year’s event, in another match that could be given “main event” treatment; otherwise I would expect Asuka to defend in a multi-woman match against Naomi, Sonya Deville, and God’s gift to women’s wrestling, Mandy Rose.
- It’d be shocked if the Women’s Tag Team Championships aren’t defended on the card, and I won’t be shocked if it’s Nia Jax and Tamina defending against Sasha Banks and Bayley.
There’s a lot of predictability–or near predictability–to the Raw side of the WrestleMania card…and almost none to the Smackdown side. Who is going to challenge for the United States Championship at WrestleMania? Are Shane McMahon and The Miz defending the Smackdown Tag Team Championships, or are they wrestling each other? If they wrestle each other, are they doing so as champions, or do they drop them to The Usos at Elimination Chamber? It took me nearly three times the words to describe the Smackdown Women’s Championship situation for ‘Mania than any other title in the bullet points above!
And what title seems the most wide open? The WWE Championship held by The New Daniel Bryan. THAT is where John Cena could swoop in and become a major story for WrestleMania 35.
John Cena won WWE Championship #16 from AJ Styles at the 2017 Royal Rumble, holding it for a few short weeks before dropping the title in Elimination Chamber Match to eventual winner Bray Wyatt. Wyatt of course went on to drop that championship to Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton at WrestleMania 33. That same ‘Mania (in Orlando) saw Cena team with Nikki Bella to beat The Miz & Maryse before dropping down to one knee to propose. We all know what Cena did at WrestleMania 34.
John Cena is tied with Ric Flair in holding 16 world championships (according to WWE calculations, anyway). They are already calling him “The Greatest Of All Time John Cena” on commentary, and he used that to put over Finn Balor (in losing to him) and Drew McIntyre (in having him be the one to take Cena out). But you don’t call John Cena the greatest of all time for nothing–it’s done for a reason. And on paper, there is only one man who can dispute that claim–Ric Flair.
The New Daniel Bryan is one of the few true heels in wrestling. He truly wants to be hated, and it shows. He’s doing what heels to best: he’s telling the truth, and rubbing it in our faces. He now has muscle in Rowan The Recycler, One of the most beloved bbayfaces of all time, he’s now in position to get anyone else over as a face. That’s a huge nod to his talent and abilities.
What’s where John Cena comes in. He wasn’t in the Royal Rumble, allegedly due to filming a movie. Either way, he didn’t need to be in the match, or at the event at all (despite being all over the marketing). Where he could be properly utilized is WrestleMania 35. Imagine if Daniel Bryan gets out of Elimination Chamber still WWE Champion, and then survives whatever is thrown his way at Fastlane. It’d be simple for him to declare that he has no equals, and that no one deserves a shot at him at WrestleMania. Enter John Cena, who declares that he wants a shot at #17, and that the people want to see it. Daniel Bryan would balk, but Triple H (or Stephanie McMahon, or Shane McMahon, or Vince McMahon) makes the match official, and we’re off to the races.
You may not like the idea, but you should love it. Every time Daniel Bryan and John Cena have shared a ring the match has been fantastic. There’s no reason to expect anything different from WrestleMania 35. There is no clear cut challenger for Daniel Bryan, and there is (still) no bigger name in the wrestling business today than John Cena. It’s a story worthy of 80,000 screaming fans at MetLife Stadium, and it’s a logical progression for both performers.
Don’t want it? That’s okay…because you NEED it.
#RAWisDVR: Greg DeMarco’s Accelerated Review of WWE Raw (2/11/19)
How much got the FAST FORWARD treatment this week?
Each week Greg DeMarco watches WWE Raw on DVR with a stopwatch and sense of urgency. How much time will he save?
Let’s see how we go home to Elimination Chamber!
FAST FORWARD the opening nope. They did that for us!
Stephanie McMahon & Triple H start WWE Raw
- Fake excitement Steph is so terrible
- Okay, FAST FORWARD the PPV talk
- It’s WrestleMania season when the Brand Split means nothing
- FAST FORWARD Becky walking
- Triple H should know better than telling women to calm down–he’s married!
- The McMahon family is still in charge of the WWE–and this is about reminding everyone.
- Enter Sasha & Bayley–super fast start to Raw!
FAST FORWARD the entrances and commercials
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan vs. Nia Jax & Tamina (losers enter the Chamber first)
- FAST FORWARD some of the boring match
- Watch some wrestling, FAST FORWARD the commercials
- More wrestling, FAST FORWARD Tamina
- Bayley stealing offense from Ronda!
- And that’s finally over.
- Nia Jax has become such a strong character
FAST FORWARD the replay, talking, and commercials
Hello I Am Elias
- The multiple interruptions were stupid
- FAST FORWARD the commercials
- Elias is JUST NOW talking? This must suck live.
- Thas was one hell of a guitar shot
- Enter Lashley (and Lio).
FAST FORWARD so much stuff. Seriously, what is up with this episode?
Timestamps: 22:09 (real time 58:47)
Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre
- FAST FORWARD the entrance and video for Finn Balor, and McIntyre’s entrance
- The problem with this match–and it’s not a bad match–is that we are just waiting for Rush & Lashley to get involved
- And there’s the expected DQ!
- FAST FORWARD and now we have Kurt Angle and Baron Corbin Sucks. Braun NOVELTYman, anyone?
- Yep, 6-man tag time, HOLLA HOLLA PLAYA!
FAST FORWARD the commercial
Timestamp: 27:03 (real time: 1:11:39 )
Finn Balor, Braun NOVELTYman, & Kurt Angle vs. Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, & Baron Corbin Sucks (plus Lio Rush)
- SHIELD camera shaking only works for SHIELD
- Angle Slam and there’s no way that finishes it
- FAST FORWARD Baron Corbin Sucks
- FAST FORWARD more commercials (geez!)
- WWE’s attempts to keep us from going away during commercials are so transparent. I don’t blame them one bit.
- FAST FORWARD Baron Corbin Sucks
- I just hit 30 minutes on the clock.
- Finn takes out Lio to sell Sunday’s match
- And Finn eats the fall. So terrible, “blown call from the official.” That shit is dumb.
- And here’s DEAN AMBREF to restart the match. Because we can do that now?
- WWE just reminding us that things are never going to be consistent. To quote Batista, DEAL WITH IT.
- FAST FORWARD the commercials
- I feel like the entire stretch of Balor/McIntyre to this has taken 90 minutes.
- Love the way Lio holds the Intercontinental Championship on the outside.
- You know, what if Finn Balor is The Demon this Sunday?
- BRAUN SMASH! NOVELTY ACT!
- At least he’s good at what he does.
- 8 hours later, this is over.
Kevin Owens promo from the bowling alley
- “One more month or so.” You can set your watch by it!
FAST FORWARD the entrances
Backstage Becky–this really is an Austin episode of Raw
FAST FORWARD more entrances and commercials
Timestamp: 1:44:00 (real time: 38:37)
Nikki Cross vs. Ruby Riott
- Nikki crazy, y’all
- Nice touch for Ronda, wearing Reebok UFC gear backstage
- See, Ronda wants to see the match, too!
- I hate the mid-match interruption, this is a good match so far
- Michael Cole voice change signifies commercial? NOPE! But lots of fake Ruby hair on the floor.
- Riott Kick CONNECTS! (with nothing)
- Do not fast forward Paul Heyman
FAST FORWARD the commercials
Timestamp: 44:49 (Real time: 1:55:24)
Seth Rollins promo
- Seth here to remind us that he exists
- Accomplishment, accomplishment, attach by Brock, good news
- BROCK not here–crowd went nuts, too
- Babyface Seth is the worst Seth. HE BROKE UP THE SHIELD!
- FAST FORWARD the commentary
- And here’s DEAN AMBROSE, who supports Rollins?
FAST FORWARD stuff
Timestamp: 50:09 (Real time: 2:11:22)
Dean Ambrose vs. EC3
- Who else is in the Top 1%?
- This whole show has become a chore as we wait for Becky’s decision.
- Dean wins. YAY.
- Don’t know if you know, but Becky must apologize tonight.
- One does not FAST FORWARD Alexa Bliss.
FAST FORWARD the entrances
Timestamp: 55:50 (Real time: 2:25:07)
WWE Raw Tag Team Championships: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (c) vs. The Revival
- Gable & Roode are no makeshift team
- FAST FORWARD the commercials
- Computer and timer issues hit, but THE REVIVAL WON!
- Don’t give me that “it should have been on PPV,” THE REVIVAL WON!
Becky Lynch Promo (with Ronda Rousey, Vince McMahon, and Charlotte Flair)
- Masterfully done yet again, Charlotte Flair is in the match (like I told you), Becky Lynch now has to fight her way back in (like I told you), and this story continues its twists and turns all the way to (and at) WrestleMania.
- Note that this was the central focus of Raw, as it’s the most important program in the company. This will main event the show.
Estimated Timestamp: 1:25:00 (real time 3:00:00)
Time Saved: 1 hour an 35 minutes!
Overall this edition of Raw was just…weird. The show was cued up different than normal, and it showed. Let’s not yearn for the Attitude Era ever again. Onto the Smackdown!
Levin: The Continued Hypocrisy Of WWE’s Hall Of Fame
Since there is no written criteria, is the Hall of Fame inherently an issue?
Since there is no written criteria, is the Hall of Fame inherently an issue? David let’s us know what bothers him!
As the road to WrestleMania 35 ramps up and WWE begins to introduce its Hall of Fame class of 2019, I cannot help but think which former company superstar is going to get screwed out of their rightful place in professional wrestling immortality.
It happens every year once the Royal Rumble comes to a close and the Big, Bad Wolf, better known as WWE, plays politics with the selection process – much like the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Year after year, I write an opinion piece around this time, allowing my fingers to voice my displeasure for those deserving performers who have not heard their names called, the ones who have since passed and have been forgotten.
With the leaked news by several outlets that the Hart Foundation will be the first inductees for 2019, my crusade now begins in earnest. I have no issue with the decision to induct one of the greatest tag teams of the Hulk Hogan generation. It is what happens after the news of Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart and Jimmy Hart’s selection that gets me going.
A few years back, Mike Mooneyham wrote how WWE dropped the ball by not selecting the late Ray Stevens to the hallowed Hall while WrestleMania invaded Levi’s Stadium in California. It continues to be a slap in the face of the pre-Vincent K. McMahon business that is shut out from consideration. At some point, someone will have to explain to me why Ivan Koloff is not a member after doing the unthinkable and beating Bruno Sammartino in 1971. And for that matter, why are we so quick to bring Edge into the fraternity upon his retirement, but have failed to induct Owen Hart?
Like its new message to fans about better sports entertainment in the coming year, WWE must get this class right. The selection of the Hart Foundation means Demolition is still on the outside looking in.
If I’m picking the class this year, and no one asked my opinion, I’d keep the Hart Foundation and build around it. I’d add the late Brian Pillman, keeping Chris Benoit off the list for one more year. I’d add Koloff as Uncle Ivan is important to WWWF history. Chyna deserves her spot on the roster, with Sable being inducted next year. Batista could be a surprise inductee and the headliner of the star-studded group being The Undertaker.
While I have tried to hit a home run with this group of former wrestling greats, there are still performers who are deserving of a place in WWE immortality. I’ll leave that up for debate for another blog.