This past Sunday at No Way Out, the main event of the evening was a Steel Cage match between Big Show and John Cena. I would like to point out that the main event of No Way Out ended with a Cena literally finding a way out of the cage but I covered that topic pretty thoroughly last week. So this week I want to bring something else to your attention. The past five (count ‘em five) PPV main events have gone like this. Cena vs. Kane (Elimination Chamber), Cena vs. The Rock (WrestleMania), Cena vs. Brock Lesnar (Extreme Rules), Cena vs. John Laurinaitis (No Way Out) and finally Cena vs. Big Show (No Way Out) this past Sunday. I’m sure I don’t have to point out this to you fine people but in all this time that Cena has been the closing match, he has not once held or even been competing for the WWE title, or any title for that matter. No these are just grudge matches with whomever Cena happens to have a beef with that month. And in each and every one of these cases, CM Punk has defended the WWE title somewhere in the middle of the card.
Now, to be perfectly fair in the case of WrestleMania, Cena vs. The Rock was easily the biggest draw of the show. The weight of a cross generation battle like that, plus the fact that the match had been advertised for a year meant that there was no way it would not be closing the show. I have no problem with that all on it’s own. I don’t even really have a problem with Cena vs. Lesnar closing the show a month later. With Lesnar’s return as well as Cena’s recent loss helped to make that story feel main event worthy. But take a look at the rest of these matches.
In February the WWE title in the Elimination Chamber, the match which the PPV is named after, is moved to the front end of the show, while Cena and Kane close out the show in what can be described at best as a filler feud for Cena till the Rock could start making live appearances. Then with Lesnar gone, we get an embarrassment of a match with John vs. Johnny to end the show. A match that we all knew would be a comedy match with very little in it that could be considered wrestling. Even ignoring the fact that this match trumped Punk vs. Bryan for the Main event slot John vs. Johnny is at best a Raw Main event, and nowhere near PPV worthy. Finally we have Cena facing Big Show in a Steel Cage. Now regardless about how you feel about this match (and I fall easily on the side with the most eye rolling at its mention) This is a match between two Wrestlers, one that furthers a rather important storyline, and one with high stakes and a steel cage element added in. It does feel like it has elements of a PPV worthy match. But a main event? I don’t know that anything in that description really cements it in that spot. But there it was at the end of the night, seemingly because of the simple fact that John Cena was involved.
CM Punk recently tweeted something along the lines of placement on a card not determining quality. Saying “I’ll wrestle @WWEDanielBryan 1st, 3rd, 7th, or your precious last, it will ALWAYS be the main event.” Now on one hand, I absolutely back this statement up. If ever these two guys are in a match together, I fully expect it to be the best match of the night weather it be at the end of the show, or free on YouTube at 7:30. But on the other hand, the fact that Punk and Bryan will be putting on the main event regardless of card placement is exactly the problem. Wrestlers should put on the same performance, regardless of where they are on the card. Card placement is something that is done by the company and is a way of showing what the company deems most important and what the audience most wants to see. And for the past five months, according to WWE that thing has been John Cena vs. Anybody.
As we approached Wrestlemania at the end of last year and the beginning of this one, The “Cena Sucks” chants had been growing to a point where they would often rival, and sometimes outweigh the “Lets Go Cena” chants. Some of this was in support of The Rock (after all those who watched The Rock in his prime are those who are most likely to chant “Cena Sucks.”) but some of the chants are there because the audience is legitimately tired of seeing Cena do the same thing, week after week month after month, and expected to be wowed by it every time. After being defeated by The Rock, Cena’s support grew and the “Lets Go Cena” chants were much stronger than they had been in past months. Now. The “Cena Sucks” chants are returning, and once again, rivaling pro Cena chants. And Cena continues to have rivalries that only last three weeks, but still Main Events every PPV, we can just expect those chants to get louder.
Somewhat Related Thought: For those who are as yet unaware, Myself and Chris Sanders of The Rager, have begun a podcast which you can hear each week right here on this very website Called Classy Ring Attire. So join in as well as following us on twitter at @CRAttire for all your Monday night (and sometimes Friday/Sunday/whenever we can get to a computer) interactions.