By David Bixenspan
Forgive the “best for business” reference, but unsurprisingly, John Cena won the vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship tonight at Money in the Bank in his hometown of Boston. It’s his 15th world title, putting him just one reign away from tying the official version of Ric Flair’s record.
Taken as a match, Cena’s win was weirdly deflated. On one hand, having him stop boring, hated Randy Orton from winning (and winning with Kane’s help, no less) en route to getting the belts was absolutely the right way for him to win and get a positive response from the live crowd. On the other, he was barely in the match, which, for a babyface, is counterproductive because his victory felt flat and unearned.Still, Cena makes the most sense given WWE’s ostensible plans for the rest of the Summer. Brock Lesnar needs an opponent for SummerSlam.
With Daniel Bryan out, Cena makes the most sense of anyone left. It’s too soon for Roman Reigns, arguably too soon for Cesaro and too soon for Bray Wyatt because his future is as a babyface, and everyone else, like Sheamus, has fallen too far to to be in that spot. Plus, Cena and Lesnar rematching their classic from Extreme Rules 2012 should be fine by everyone.Even if you don’t factor in Lesnar, it’s too early for Reigns to get the title. He absolutely shouldn’t get the title until WrestleMania because he’s going to be “the guy.” Cesaro can afford it because he’s not going to be “the guy.” Cesaro shouldn’t get the title until he fully turns babyface (or as part of his turn on someone like Lesnar if he had won the Money in the Bank briefcase). Cena is a reliable main eventer, established headliner and so on.
Plus, from a tenured main eventer perspective, the second-best choice would be Randy Orton. Does anyone want that? He’s bombed at the box office time and time again, is weirdly bad at having quality pay-per-view main events (while somehow having great TV matches) and feels more stale than anyone else on the roster. Cena is the sane choice right now. Even if I’d rather have someone fresh on top in the long run. So, meanwhile…about Daniel Bryan. His interview during the kickoff show turned out to be a live, in-ring segment with Michael Cole. The big news is that there’s no timeline for his return, as he still hasn’t regained strength in his arm and may even need an additional surgery.
The former had been rumored for weeks. To put it way too simply and lightly, that’s bad. Even worse because his surgeon has written of athletes who returned to action three weeks after he performed the same procedure.To be completely honest, if it got to the point that WWE doctors told Bryan to retire to be able to avoid re-injury and live a normal life, I wouldn’t necessarily be sad. Part of this is that he and his wife have repeatedly talked about wanting to retire within a few years to start a family and live a self-sustained life on his parents’ farmland in Washington state. I’d be sad that he was out as his earnings were peaking (even then, look at his future plans, it may not matter much to him) and couldn’t retire on his own terms.
Plus, he’s just so gosh darn nice. You will not find anyone who will ever say a single bad word about Bryan Danielson as a person, and it’s part of his appeal as a performer that this shines through on TV. I don’t want to see anything bad happen to him. Knowing that he was largely healthy and making more money didn’t have a huge bearing on his plans for the future, I’d be comfortable with him retiring to live happy ever after.
Obviously, I want him to be healthy and happy first and foremost. We all do. If there was a possibility that continuing would be considerably riskier for him than the average wrestler, though? Nobody wants him to turn into another Kurt Angle-type with permanent atrophy.