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Greatest WWE Champion Of All Time

I bet you MONEY John Cena wishes Vince McMahon would stop forcing Michael Cole to call him the greatest WWE champion of all time. I bet you he’d tell you it is Hulk Hogan, who many of us around our age, recognize as the real, true Mr. WrestleMania. Arguments could be made for the fake Mr. WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels. The Rock. Brock Lesnar. CM Punk. Ric Flair. Near countless others. I’m about to do something heretical on these here innernets: tell you why John Cena actually ISN’T that far off from being the greatest.

As much as inflation has lessened the value of being WWE Champion, it’s astonishing to note that less than fifty men have held that title in over 50 years of its existence. In the past decade or so, attaining double digit world title reigns became like nothing, as HHH, Randy Orton, Edge, John Cena and The Rock have done so. But, then… it’s not like jabronies are doing it. Let’s be honest here: not none of us are here for the 3 to 8 year title reigns of a Hulk Hogan or Bruno Sammartino. I believe if they existed in our social media age where anyone can create a blog, or YouTube channel, or Twitter etc… we would bitch endlessly about how many people they’ve buried to prop up a man, who in our uneducated opinion, is not that good.

Lots of people are caught believing in the concept of ‘deserving’ things. As in “John Cena doesn’t deserve 15 world championships”. I personally don’t care. I’ve been on record as saying I thought Bray Wyatt could have been a good choice. So, yes I was opposed to the idea of John Cena winning, as I am also opposed to Brock Lesnar beating John Cena at SummerSlam if he’s not going to make more appearances on TV. But… on paper, this matchup and the resultant rematch make sense.

The reason many of us are not running multimillion dollar corporations, is because we do not understand box office. We think guys like Daniel Bryan and CM Punk and Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart ‘deserve’ to be the champion because they’re great wrestlers. Guys like John Cena and Hulk Hogan and The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin may not have been Greco-Roman mat wrestling, throwing thousands of submission holds and high spots… but they lined Vince’s pocket with GOLD. And let’s not pretend they didn’t do it with their work in the ring. At the end of the day, you can have the look, you can be a good talker, but you need to back it up in the ring. Vince doesn’t push Cena solely because he sells merch… he sells merch because he sells in the ring.

Are you tired of John Cena getting beaten up for a 15-20 minute match then pulling out his ‘Five Moves of Doom’ and winning? Were you also offended when Hulk Hogan sold then ‘hulked up’, blocked a punch, wagged a finger, threw three punches, irish whip, big boot, legdrop? Maybe you ARE that wrestling fan who hates such finishes because ‘it’s so predictable’. That wrestling fan who so conveniently forgets every wrestler EVER has MAYBE five signature moves no one else in the promotion uses, and a certain sequence they use them in so the crowd can get hot in anticipation of the finish, or a false finish. I hate you motherfuckers.

I’ve never thought John Cena can’t wrestle. I’ve read that HHH didn’t believe in Cena until he fought him at WrassleMania 22 and then he got it. Next year they were sposed to have a rematch, but he beat Shawn Michaels instead. He beat Edge and The Big Show at 25 and Batista at 26. Beat The Rock at 29. I think Cena will mostly be ceding the main event spotlight to younger stars now, or even putting them over, just like the aforementioned stars did him. This is the nature of the business. If John Cena is the ‘greatest WWE Champion in history’ according to Michael Cole, and Brock Lesnar broke The Undertaker’s streak, that’s gonna be one hell of a big match. Then, when Brock Lesnar loses to whomever, that man will be the man that beat the man who broke The Streak and beat the so called greatest champion ever.

Last night on Raw we saw Roman Reigns cut a promo saying he can beat Cena. They had words backstage, then they raised each other’s hands as Raw went off the air. If the plan for THIS year’s Mania is Reigns/Lesnar… what if they’re planting seeds for a bigger confrontation at the next year’s Mania? We could see Cena get desperate to protect his legacy and finally turn heel and win his 16th title from Reigns with help from The Authority of all people… then build to Reigns taking it back at Mania. And it would really be best for business if they found a way to do the rematch a year later. Reigns. would. be. MADE. And then, in two years, we’d see blogs and videos about how Reigns ‘deserves’ none of this.

There’s Always A Plan B

So, we all know Battleground will look a lot like MITB’s main event. Cena will eat a chokeslam, a spear and a RKO. He’ll be laid out on the outside and juuuuuuust when everyone thinks Reigns is closing in on his first title reign, Orton will be there lurking. Then Cena will hit his finish and everyone will bitch about it. Seth Rollins will try to cash in again. Dean Ambrose won’t let him. Again. All the rumors are that Brock Lesnar is HHH’s plan b, at SummerSlam. I don’t like this, for reasons.

I’ve been on record that I think it’s goofy as shit to give Lesnar the title this early, if the plan is to have Reigns win the Rumble and the title at Mania. The first reason has nothing to do with Lesnar not making many appearances. It’s “How do you have Reigns not win two main event matches in a row and then logically have him not be in the main event for eight months?” I don’t have that big of an issue with Reigns being in main events and not winning if he’s still booked to look strong. I remember Michael Cole putting over that Reigns looked impressive at MITB. In a fatal four way, Reigns likely will not be pinned. I’m wondering what his creative will be assuming Lesnar gets the title. I do think if Lesnar were to win the title and hold it nearly a year, it’s an appropriate build to a huge match for a man who ended The Streak. I. do. NOT. want to see Lesnar win the belt then get cashed in on. I don’t want to see him lose one time before he drops the title to Lesnar.

Another interesting question is: Do you have Ambrose keep stopping Rollins from cashing in all the way to Mania, then have a stipulation match where they fight some type of No Holds Barred, Falls Count Anywhere (THAT ACTUALLY ENDS OUTSIDE OF THE RING) where Ambrose gets caged and or cuffed if he loses, so he cannot interfere. The next question is… do you want to have Rollins be the first to cash in at Mania and absorb that heat of ruining Reigns’ moment? Do you WANT him ending Reigns’ reign, immediately? My fantasy booking is too good to actually happen though. I think WWE might further water down the MITB by having Rollins fail at some point. I hope they don’t go that route, and I think he should wait until Extreme Rules so Reigns can get “Payback” amirite?

Next, I wonder… how many great matches are there for Lesnar as champion? Assuming he wins, he’d defend against Cena at Night of Champions. Daniel Bryan would take a shot upon his return. I’d be interested to see what he and Orton would put together. Sheamus would have a physical match. It’s inevitable that Cesaro will turn face and be all like “Paul Heyman is always talking about his other client when I’m the one who’s here all the time” and I’ve been on record that it’s too soon to give Cesaro the title. Bray Wyatt would be an interesting opponent just to hear him spar verbally with Heyman. After that… there are “meh” options such as Dolph Ziggler, Kane, Big Show and Mark Henry. Do the math and that’s enough to make it to Mania. Elimination Chamber could be Cena, Orton, Sheamus, Bryan, Lesnar and some random person to get eliminated first. Again. All of this assumes WWE does something I think they shouldn’t but still see how I can learn to love it.

Speaking of learning to love it, The Miz needs to matter in his return. Even though he’s a heel (and should never turn face again unless he actually changes his character) his words rang true in that he should be motivated to prove all his detractors wrong by returning to the main event level. WWE NEEDS more legit main eventers so they don’t need to keep returning to the Jericho well. Which is ironic, but I’ll get to that in my next paragraph. We all call bullshit on Miz claiming he’s this A list Hollywood star who Hollywood begged to stay. Nigga you was in two straight to DVD movies you got because Marines shitted on Orton getting the role because he went AWOL twice. Anywho… The Miz is real life annoying. His voice alone makes you want him to stop talking. Unfortunately, this means he doesn’t get cool heel heat or even regular heel heat, it’s go away again and don’t come back heat. So, he needs to have impressive wins and win titles and things to make us respect him and hate him because he is… awesome. It’s not looking good thus far.

Chris Jericho has this long history of doing different returns or debuts. He had the “Countdown to the New Millennium” where he interacted with The Rock. He had the “Break the Code” comeback where he went into a main event feud with Orton. He did the “End of the World as you know it” return where he trolled us all by acting crazy and not talking then feuding with Punk. He returned at the Rumble last year, shocking everyone. This time, the dirtsheets spoiled his return and I was on twitter when everyone seemed to think Jericho wasn’t coming back when it was The Miz. Then in sort of a reverse of his debut, he silenced the loudmouth with a Codebreaker. Then The Wyatt Family beat the brakes off of him. I really, really…. REALLY hope Miz doesn’t feud with Jericho and the Wyatts concurrently because he won’t come out of that looking good. There are three mouthpieces there, but again… I could see Miz going over on Jericho but not Wyatt. Jericho is really here at this point to win meaningless TV matches but mostly put guys over on PPV, and that’s alright with me.

When guys like RVD, Lesnar and Jericho aren’t there to come back… what’s Plan B?

WWE Future Endeavors Emma (UPDATED)

emma

UPDATE: 6:45 PM Central Standard Time

Apparently your voices were heard; mere moments after typing this, it was announced via WWE.com that Emma has been reinstated in the promotion.

Well damn…

For the sake of humoring us here at L.E.W.D., read the following because it’s still all relevant somewhere.
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Just in case you haven’t heard the word, we have it on good authority (pun intended) that the WWE has come to terms with the release of notable Diva Emma.  Also known by her government approved name Tenille Dashwood, Emma was also recently arrested for allegedly stealing an iPod case from a Walmart in Connecticut.

Many wrestling fans have taken to the internet to voice their displeasure with the promotion’s decision to dismiss Emma over something that they (the fans) believe to have been an accident or a simple mistake on Emma’s part.  After all if one is working as an independent contractor for the world’s most prominent sports entertainment promotion, there would be no need to steal anything from anywhere when you could easily purchase it yourself or have the promotion purchase it for you.  This also falls square in line with the notion that all individuals placed under arrest are innocent until proven guilty, and clearly Emma can’t be guilty of stealing something worth $21.14.

Reports have it that Emma was sentenced to some community service and upon completion of said service, all charges against her would be dropped.  This form of “punishment,” apparently, isn’t enough for the WWE.

Immediately fans cite the blatant hypocrisy of the WWE’s policy towards the professionalism of its employees outside of the company by mentioning the repeated DUI arrests and Wellness Policy violations of several other superstars (Randy Orton, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Jack Swagger, Jimmy Uso).  There was even a comment that brought up superstars with legal issues prior to their joining the WWE family (Booker T), which was intended to make the point that the ‘E keeps superstars who committed far worse crimes on the roster than this, deeming their decision to release Emma over allegedly stealing an iPod case completely asinine and ridiculous.

Emma’s release also comes at a time when fans have been convinced that the multitude of recent releases within the company have everything to do with the perceived financial crisis the promotion is currently facing.  This leads fans to believe that Emma’s release was simply a cost-cutting measure and that her arrest was an excuse used to poorly justify her termination.

To say it plainly, fans are justifiably saddened at Emma’s release … even though five days ago they were complaining that she and her gimmick were failing to get over with fans … such is the befuddling and ever flexible opinion of pro wrestling fans.  Hakuna matata.

emma2The constant “thing” with each of the theories surrounding the logic behind Emma’s release is dualistic in that it is composed of an emotional response and a stone cold reality.  Deep down we fans actually like Emma the character and Tenille, the woman who portrays the character, and we all honestly have no idea why WWE released her.  

We fans can speculate all day and night, but as spectators hovering around the the situation with our faces firmly pressed against the glass separating us from the odds-and-ends of the business, we can only comment on what we think we know to the extent in which we understand it.  It makes more sense for us to blame the ‘E for responding to Emma’s arrest in the manner they did, and it makes little sense to us to try to understand why they responded they way they did.  We’ve reacted to our superficial knowledge of the situation at hand … nothing more, nothing less.

Very few people have mentioned that this situation may affect the visa that allows her, as an Australian citizen, to work here in the United States.  What would happen if she were still under contract with the ‘E and forced to return home for an indefinite amount of time?  But of course this isn’t sensational enough to consider or speculate on.

Even with discussing the financial issues plaguing the promotion at the time, very few people have talked about the budget cuts from the perspective rooted in the beginning of a new fiscal year (July 1st), where most businesses look to shave expenses from their budget lines.  Instead of looking at the situation as if the ‘E were trying to save money after losing so much, one could view it as if the ‘E were trying to save money by not spending as much as they did the last fiscal year.  There were reports that the WWE cut travel expenses for their superstars (paying for their tour buses), and if you’ve paid attention even the PPV sets aren’t as elaborate as they once were; these cost-cutting measures keep the promotion from spending more money and being as free with their revenue as they were before the massive loss of profits.  Unfortunately the money spent on employee contracts isn’t immune from these types of cost cutting measures.

From that perspective the promotion then becomes a place where superstars have no room or margin for error, especially superstars on the low end of the ladder in WWE.  Whatever Emma did or didn’t do, no matter how small an infraction we believe it to be, was a simple “f**k up” that might have cost her her WWE contract.  Then again, this isn’t sensational enough to consider or speculate on either.

Then there is our comparison of the punishment for Emma’s infraction compared to that of other superstars.  While fans have piled on the bandwagon advocating for Emma by citing the punishments received by other superstars for committing crimes deemed more “harsh” or “serious,” there haven’t been many fans that have spoken at length on the implied misogyny present within the company.  No one has noted how current TNA Knockout Taryn Terrell was released immediately from her contract after being arrested for an altercation with her then husband and former WWE superstar Drew McIntyre, while male superstars arrested for suspected domestic abuse (“Stone Cold” Steve Austin) were allowed to go about their business within the promotion after repaying their debt to society.  Perhaps the issue of discrimination against women would be more important to discuss whether or not a suspected thief should be given the same leniency as someone driving under the influence (which could be anybody over whatever the legal limit is in the state they’re driving in; one doesn’t necessarily have to be “drunk” and driving to be arrested for driving under the influence…).

Whatever the case may be and whatever we choose to believe, it truly stinks that Emma had only scratched the surface of her potential on the main roster before her release.  Only she, her attorney and the prosecutor, and the WWE truly know what happened; as much as we desire to crucify the ‘E for choosing to release her from the promotion, we’re doing so as an immediate, ill-informed response and reaction to the news.  We shouldn’t expect that Emma won’t ever work for the company again, nor should we expect that we won’t see her wrestle again in some form or capacity.  At this point, all we can do as fans is make a loud enough noise supporting her if her arrest was the result of a careless action she unintentionally made when checking out at Walmart.  Until all the facts come out, if they ever come out, we’ll have to find some way to grapple with not seeing her meander through a gimmick that we said wasn’t working for us.

 

 

 

 

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