This Sunday is WWE’s Money in the Bank show, available on the WWE Network and PPV.
Before we get into why this PPV matters, let’s talk just make clear what we already know.
Professional wrestling is not MMA.
Everyone, hopefully, understands that. MMA and pro wrestling, however, do share a huge fan base. Many MMA fighters love pro wrestling and many pro wrestlers love MMA.
So let’s get over the whole “wrestling is fake,” stuff. This isn’t 1988 anymore. And remember what happened to last smart guy who questioned wrestling’s toughness.
If you don’t recall the John Stossell beat-down, click here:
Now this Sunday the WWE presents Money in the Bank, typically one of the best shows of the year.
The WWE had to scramble to put the show together after its champion, Daniel Bryan, injured his neck and was stripped of the title.
Bryan, of course, was the leader of the Yes! movement, and spent much of 2013 chasing the title, before finally winning it at WrestleMania, in a triple threat match, defeating Batista and Randy Orton.
Bryan was the hottest thing going in the WWE, but if he can’t defend the belt, he can’t be champion. Now the WWE must shift gears and come up with a new guy to be on top, at least until Bryan returns. Eight guys will wrestle in the MITB event, where the unified championship belts hang from the rafters. The winner will be the man who climbs an 18-foot-ladder and retrieves the titles.
MITB is a glorified ladder match, where wrestlers can and usually use the ladders, tables and chairs as weapons. The even features some of the best workers on the card. So with Bryan out, who is going to win the title?
No one knows, but the WWE should put it on John Cena, the former champion who has taken a back seat as Bryan has rose to stardom.
Like it or not, Cena is the face of the company. He is one of the hardest-working wrestlers in the business and one of the most unselfish.
In the absence of Bryan, Cena deserves the title. Sure, he’s an average workers. His punches look slightly better than Curly, Larry and Moe‘s.
He’s stiff in the ring, and couldn’t sell a stick of bubble gum to Violet Beauregarde.
But he looks like a million bucks, and he has been the most devoted athlete in years in the WWE. Most of all, the fans absolutely love him and hate.
More than a decade since his debut, he’s still here. There are some other good wrestlers in the MITB. Randy Orton, Kane, Cesaro, Alberto del Rio, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, Sheamus and Cena.
Orton was just champion. He doesn’t deserve it back yet. He’s a better worker, but he doesn’t resonate with the fans right now the way Cena does.
Kane should never be champion again. He’s a fine guy to feud with the champion, but his character at this stage of his career is not WWE champion material.
Former champion Del Rio needs a better push before he would be considered a credible champion. He’s lost too many times to win it all again now.
Sheamus, another former champion, didn’t carry the company as champion. He’s better right now as a second-tier guy, hopefully engaging in some great feuds. Cesaro, Reigns and Wyatt could all possibly be WWE champions one day, but it is too soon to put the strap on them. They need a longer push.
Wrestlers who are popular who win the title too soon often face a backlash from the fans. The fans are smart and don’t want to see a guy rushed to the top spot too soon if they think the WWE is just putting them there to capitalize on a hot trend. One of the reasons Cena still faces a huge backlash from fans is because he was pushed to the top too soon largely because he had a great look.
His in-ring skills, however, did not match. Cena has improved over the years, but half of the fan base still enjoys booing him for getting the title early in his career. With Bryan gone, however, Cena should be the guy again.
He’s not the best wrestler in the world, but he knows enough ring psychology now to put on a good match.
He’s also the perfect guy to face Brock Lesnar, the former UFC heavyweight champion, and the man who is rumored to headline SummerSlam. Lesnar is coming off a stunning upset of The Undertaker at WrestleMania, handing the legend his first defeat ever at WrestleMania.
Cena vs. Lesnar is the biggest match the WWE can right now.
These two guys put on a classic match at Extreme Rules a fews years ago.
They will put on another great match. Cena is still the star of the company.
The best thing the WWE can do is give Cena the belt, and then let Bryan chase him for the title all the way to next year’s WrestleMania, when the two most popular guys in the company could square off in a Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan-type match.