Let’s go back in time, to April 25th, 2002 that day probably seemed to be like any other day, and that SmackDown! probably seemed like any other SmackDown!, however that was the first time we ever got to see the Legend Killer Randy Orton. Now go even further back to September 27th, 1998 and you would have seen the debut of Christian. Two of the best in ring performers in the game today gave us the match of the year to date on May 22nd, 2011. Yeah that’s a big statement considering how great HHH vs. Undertaker was. The physicality of the Orton vs. Christian match was something you rarely see in the WWE, and it stole the show from another brutal match that took place later in the show between The Miz and Cena, which I’ll get to in a bit and you might be surprised by what I have to say about it. Orton and Christian have a chemistry that makes for amazing matches, similar styles, similar builds, so there is nothing they can’t do in the ring against each other. No move is off limits in their repertoire, I love matches like that. It’s hard for me to watch matches that involve The Great Khali, Mark Henry, or any other unathletic big man who limits what the other guy can do in the ring. Sure, it’s a little entertaining to watch them do things, but really it’s more of a freak show entertainment. We wonder how a person like Khali can even stand straight without falling over, let alone pick someone up and slam them down. No, give me a match between Christian and Orton over Mark Henry against say someone like the Miz. Orton and Christian get to put everything in to a match against each other and both are in incredible shape so they can go at a very high level for an extended period in the ring. So their match at Over The Limit was a thing of pure beauty, two amazing athletes that both felt they had something to prove to the WWE audience. Christian even in a loss looked great and looked like a continued viable contender, and Orton showed the WWE audience that he not Christian deserves the championship. Just watching that match before it started you just knew it was going to be a great match, just a buzz not just from the two guys in the ring but from the crowd. It takes a truly great crowd to push a very good, great match, into something you’ll never forget, and that crowd in Seattle pushed the match to another level. Seattle is one of those places that seems to really make any sporting event bigger than it would be in a lot of other cities, so props goes out to that crowd because they just made that match something special. That match will be very hard to top, but I look forward to guys like Christian and Orton upping their games and doing it all over again.
Now on to the other title match of the night and I have to say it, it hurts but John Cena actually put on a very good match. This was a different Cena then we saw at Wrestlemania, the botched spots, the pure lethargic demeanor, no this match he was very good. I’ve been critical of Cena, some would and have said I’ve been overly critical of him. I’ll give credit where credit is due, Cena showed he’s willing to take a large amount of punishment and continue on with a good match. Cena was taken out of his comfort zone, and I know he’s been in some physical “I Quit” matches before, but this one might have been the most physical he has ever been in. The Miz brought a lot out of Cena, and Cena brought a lot out of The Miz. These two guys did things neither has done before and they showed sides of them I hadn’t seen before. Especially The Miz, he showed that he could be a physical and at times ‘dangerous’ opponent. Yes, he had Alex Riley on his side helping him, but there moments in that match that I saw flashes of Edge in him, the ability to go to another place and legitimately look dangerous and borderline crazy. Cena to his credit took a lot of hard bumps and took a beating, and really to me it didn’t look like “Super Cena” rising from the ashes for the win. Like I said I’ve really given Cena a hard time for under selling a lot of his opponents moves and at times he deserves the criticism, but on this night, during that match he couldn’t have sold anything The Miz did better than he did. If you are a Cena critic, just watch the match and if you come back and tell me he looked terrible or that he undersold well I’ll just tell you that you blindly hate John Cena. Cena to me showed he could be more than Hogan 2.0, he showed flashes of Young Cena the guy who brashly showed up on SmackDown! and put the whole WWE on notice.
I get asked a lot about John Cena and if a heel turn would be good for him. You know I have mixed feelings on this, but the prevailing feeling I have is that John Cena would be a much better heel than a babyface. I think John Cena was benefit from a short heel run, and anyone that says it would hurt t-shirt sales and his character in the long run obviously forget how easy it is for a heel to go back to be a t-shirt selling babyface, especially to kids. I say Cena would benefit from going heel because it would make him expand beyond what he has been for last few years, a super hero who spouts out the same crap every single week about how tough he is and how he’ll never quit and blah blah blah. He would have to actually go out and think about his promos, he’d have to put some real effort into, it just feels to me like he’s on autopilot and that he’ll never reach his full potential. Now I’m well aware that I just said a guy who has ten world titles to his name may never reach his full potential, but I don’t mean that from a championship stand point. I mean it from a character stand point, from a historical stand point. Will we remember John Cena the same way we remember Macho Man, Flair, Austin, The Rock, or any other star that was given the push Cena was given? There is nothing about Cena that will endure himself to our memories, kids will grow up and eventually get bored with his wholesome, faux intensity gimmick and there is a distinct possibility he will be forgotten like other successful but boring champions of the Lex Luger mold. Cena has an opportunity to expand on his character and make it something worth remember. Does he want to be remembered as the guy that got the most mixed reaction of any star in WWE history, or does he want to be remember as a guy that could easily vacillate between loved and hated like HHH, Edge, and Undertaker did so well? At his apex, HHH was easily the biggest heel in the game, but in a blink of an eye, he could be a babyface just by chopping at his crotch and telling his opponent to suck it. Despite what my friend Mike has suggested to me before, I’m not a blind Cena hater, as a matter of fact I want him to succeed, he’s a very likeable guy, but right now for me there just isn’t anything in his character that hasn’t already been done a million times before. I want this business to succeed and I want it to thrive and be healthy, and I think a more complex Cena character would make the brand that much better, that much healthier.
I would like to say before I go is has there ever been a star as big and as talented as CM Punk that was so underutilized. CM Punk is the most complex, intelligent, charismatic star in the business today. No one is funnier when doing commentary, no one can cut a promo as intelligent or fun, you certainly aren’t going to find anyone better in the ring when he’s on top of his game. I enjoy almost everything Punk does, from his ring attire tribute to Macho Man on Raw, to his ability to conjure pure hatred from a crowd like he did when he dressed up like Jeff Hardy and literally made kids cry on SmackDown! I just lamented on how forgettable Cena is, well there is nothing forgettable about Punk, unless of course you are Vince and creative minds in the WWE. They apparently forget what they have in Punk by making him a midcarder at Pay Per Views. I really thought he could turn the Nexus angle into something worth watching, but the more I watch it the more I think he’d benefit from just being CM Punk, not CM Punk and the Punkettes. I know I’m not alone in saying he’s underutilized, anyone who follows, Stone Cold, Paul Heyman, and JR can tell you that they all said the same thing in the last few weeks. The WWE is burying its best talent by saddling him with not ready for prime time talent. Its like having a world class chef be your maitre d. I have no doubt they’ll figure this out before it’s too late and he makes the mistake of leaving for TNA, and yes that would be a major mistake. My hope is that R-Truth isn’t steal the spotlight CM Punk should have in the WWE Title picture, because as good as R-Truth is, he’s not on CM Punk’s page, Hell they aren’t even in the same book. That isn’t a shot at R-Truth, it’s really a statement of how great CM Punk is and how much better he is than most of the talent on the roster.
I’d be remised if I didn’t ask you guys to help some people in serious need of not just your thoughts and prayers but a little monetary help as well. What happened in Joplin, MO is a terrible tragedy and I am asking you guys to help out if you can. For ways to donate and offer assistance, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS; people can also text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
Thanks again for reading and if you want to get in contact with me you can do so by emailing me here: email@example.com or you can bug me via twitter @JaredGebhardt. As always, I try to get to every single email and tweet I get.
The Wrestling Genius: Jared Gebhardt