Brock Lesnar may find himself in an unfamiliar position this Sunday: The Good Guy.
Lesnar will fight WWE unified heavyweight champion John Cena at SummerSlam at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Lesnar typically plays heel in the squared circle. He’s perfect for the role. He’s a big monster, who doesn’t have any mic skills and rarely smiles. But he will go up against Cena, the sport’s most popular and most polarizing wrestler in the world.
Cena is supposed to be a good guy. He looks the part, smiles a lot, and has always been booked to overcome the odds. But most of the hardcore fans hate him. He’s now a 15-time world champion. Cena was shoved down people’s throats, marketed as the next Hulk Hogan, but he never caught on with the mainstream like Hogan, The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin did.
Most of the hardcore fans love the art of professional wrestling and Cena has never been a good wrestler. Some of his punches makes the Three Stooges like like great workers. The hardcore fans often shout “Cena Sucks,” while the women, kids and casual fans chant “Let’s Go Cena” at live events.
It doesn’t matter who Cena wrestles, the live crowd loves to love him and hate him. Year after year Cena is booed by half the building, and year after year Cena remains in the main event, while better workers such as CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton come and go.
So what happens when you put Lesnar, the most hated guy in professional wrestling, in the ring with the other most hated guy in professional wrestling? Look for Lesnar to get the cheers.
The hardcore fans, the ones who typically attend live shows, are tired of Cena. TV viewers, the casual fans, however are not. Fans badly want to see someone else hold the WWE championship that they will probably cheer for Lesnar. The match will take place in Los Angeles, a crowd that typically boos Cena a lot louder than other parts of the country.
Cena, of course, is used to it. He once wrestled Rob Van Dam at a WWE-sponsored ECW PPV event in Philadelphia. The crowd there was 100 percent behind RVD. It won’t be that bad on Sunday. But Cena may be the only guy who can make fans cheer for Lesnar, who has his own problems with credibility among WWE fans.
Lesnar was booed out of the build in Madison Square Garden wen he left the WWE the first time in 2004. He was perceived as sellout. Now that he’s back in the WWE as a part-time wrestler, one who beat the Undertaker’s famed undefeated streak at WrestleMania, fans really dislike him.
But still, the Lesnar might find himself with a Hulk Hogan-like crowd backing him to defeat Cena and win the title. Cena might be the one guy who can get fans to cheer Lesnar.