Big E. Mark Henry. Jack Swagger. Big Show. Sheamus.
These five men have failed to take down the “Bulgarian Brute” Rusev since his main roster debut at the 2014 Royal Rumble. He’s steadily improved in the ring with each feud and will now take on John Cena, the face of the WWE for the past 10 years.
I don’t want to focus too much on Rusev, but more on the man who was once known as The Prototype.
I admit, I am not a fan of Cena, at least not the stale Cena. But I am intrigued by this feud on several levels. First, Cena is referring to himself as an “old man.” He’s 37, which hardly classifies as old. But this brings up a valid point. Where he’s going with this is anyone’s guess, but it does paint a picture.
The focus on the roster has shifted seemingly, at least recently, from Cena to Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Seth Rollins, etc. Yes, we have endured feuds with the Big Show and Kane, but I believe those are only for the sole purpose of giving these youngsters a chance to gain traction in the ring and get comfortable carrying the torch.
Yes, Cena was just in the main event picture taking part in a triple threat match with Rollins and Brock Lesnar, but for the second year in a row at Wrestlemania he has shifted away from top matches to more of a higher end midcard feud.
So let’s go back to Cena’s reference to his age. Could he be foreshadowing his future? Quite possibly. Cena has done more as a part of the roster than most before him and possibly anyone after him. The WWE has been afraid to push another face as hard as him because, honestly, WWE officials I believe are afraid no one will become the next John Cena or Hulk Hogan or The Rock.
I think that’s changing. The future is quite bright. With Rollins, Bryan, Ambrose, Ziggler, Wyatt and Reigns vying for that coveted spot, I feel like Cena senses his time as the main attraction might be coming to an end sooner than later. WWE officials might see the same thing. The class of 2004 is hard to duplicate, but this crop of young guns has the ability to become more than just one John Cena. Factor in the quality of wrestlers in NXT and the future is bright. Cena held the top spot for years, but we could argue he deserved it. Now the writing is on the wall and this feud with Rusev may transition Cena into the newer version of Hulk Hogan or even The Undertaker. Look what having Kane and Big Show around the past few years has done for their character – nothing. People are bored.
Maybe Cena understands the future is here and he understands the business. I am not at all saying he will become irrelevant or a part-timer.
So what happens next? The match at Fastlane won’t be the only match in this feud, so something screwy will happen causing a DQ, which will set the stage for Wrestlemania. I think this is a 50/50 shot of Rusev losing or winning. If Cena wins, the burying of Rusev talks will start up. It’s a hard decision to make.
Regardless who wins, the US Title has a chance to become incredibly important and even more relevant. Here are some thoughts on what this match means to both superstars:
Cena wins: Lesnar has made the Heavyweight Title into something prestigious again. A Cena win could do the same, albeit on a smaller scale. Rusev has gone an incredible job making the title important, but Cena could raise the bar another level.
Rusev wins: If Rusev wins, three things happen. One, Cena gives a rub to a strong up-and-comer. Second, with the win, Rusev elevates the title to another level. Lastly, whoever beats Rusev in the future will look like a beast, as long as it’s the right person. It’s a smaller scale version of beating Lesnar.
Or Rollins decides to cash in his briefcase and takes Rusev’s title. Just kidding…
The biggest question remains: What happens post Wrestlemania with Cena? Does he carry the title, if he wins it, for a long period of time? Does he stay out of the main event for good? If he loses, does he jump back into the main event fold? It’s an intriguing dilemma, and even though I am no fan of Cena, it’s something I am excited to keep my eye on.
What are your thoughts? Do you have a scenario you think could play out?
That’s it for my first piece here at pwmania.com. Follow me @darrenmzancan or comment below!
And it’s no coincidence Dolph Ziggler and I share the same initials. DZ out!
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.