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WWE books itself into a corner with intriguing SummerSlam main event



cenabrockextremeWhen the referee’s hand hit the floor for a third time in New Orleans at WrestleMania, signalling the shocking and unexpected ending of the Undertaker’s phenomenal winning streak, the wrestling world looked on shocked and dumbfounded. The lacklustre build up contributed to a tepid crowd reaction and there was no real belief that Brock Lesnar, a part timer who had been used questionably since his return, would be the one to break the unbreakable.

Post-match everyone had a different opinion on what was ultimately a day of show decision by Vince McMahon. Should the streak ever have been defeated and if so should it have been done by an occasional performer in his late 30’s?

That occasional performer is now challenging John Cena for the World title at SummerSlam and the finish of that match is one of the most intriguing in recent memory. If John Cena wins you essentially end interest in Brock Lesnar as a top line performer and kill off all momentum gained from him beating the Undertaker, and render that very decision completely pointless. Removing one of the biggest draws at WrestleMania for the last decade plus, only to defeat the man that took the streak in the same calendar year would be without hyperbole or exaggeration, the most perplexing decision in company history.

The other option is a Lesnar win, and a title reign. He is supposedly signed on to work the September pay per view also, which WWE will need to load up as it will coincide with the first tranche of network subscribers auto renewal date and will be the first opportunity for that initial die-hard group to cancel. Again a one month title reign does nothing for Lesnar and I would argue that it still ultimately ends up with the same result – the streak gone for little to no reward.

To give the Brock Lesnar win over the Undertaker any real credence and value, you must have Brock beat Cena and hold onto the title until WrestleMania where he’d presumably come up against, and lose to, Roman Reigns. This would be dependent on the development of Reigns but every indication at present points to a rocket being strapped to his back. He needs long, good to great matches on pay per view and television to get him ready for that spot and he needs to be guarded against creative writers putting him in segments where he looks weak, such as the one that closed out a recent Raw with him raising John Cena’s hand.

Back on Lesnar, the unknown factor is how many dates he is signed on for between September and WrestleMania at the end of March. With WWE in relative financial strife, have they laid the money on the table to secure some more pay per view defences in that time or are we, for the first time in modern company history, going to have a largely absent World champion.

In a different era, the Intercontinental championship could have been elevated to nearer the top of the card and filled the need for title matches in main events on television or house shows but that belt means almost nothing now, with title holders losing continually on a week to week basis. It could easily be rehabilitated with a United States title unification, some video packages before matches building the history of the title and most importantly the strong booking of their secondary champion. However with 4 weeks to go until SummerSlam, there is little time to turnaround years of malaise.

The first Cena vs Lesnar encounter, which I’m sure will be completely forgotten about in this build, was an absolutely superb brawl and the memory of that match plus the intrigue around the finish makes this a hugely interesting & exciting main event. To maximise on the past and the future, WWE have to take the risk and put the title on Lesnar at least into WrestleMania.

image via WWE

Near 30 year fan of Professional wrestling, I grew up watching World of Sport in the UK before getting into the WWF in 1990. Favourite performers of all time are Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage & Steve Austin. Highlights as a fan were being there live for Rock vs Austin at WrestleMania X-Seven, Hogan vs Rock at WrestleMania X8 & CM Punk vs the Rock at Royal Rumble '13.

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