Credit score: WWE.com
WWE once more finds itself in an unenviable place, with its artistic plans struck down by accidents to Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes, and artistic chapter stopping it from having replacements able to step in and headline one of the crucial vital pay-per-views of the yr.
Its resolution? The identical because it all the time is: Recruit two Superstars from yesteryear to deliver star energy to its reveals.
Brock Lesnar returned on Friday’s SmackDown and can problem Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Common Championship in the principle occasion of SummerSlam on July 30 in a Final Man Standing match.
And John Cena will rejoice his twenty years with the corporate Monday evening on Uncooked and is predicted to jump-start a program that can culminate on the similar occasion at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.
None of this should be surprising to fans familiar with the WWE product over the last decade, but it does beg the question: What will this most recent run have in store for the returning icons and the fans who tune into the company’s television programming?
But first, how we got here.
A Reliance on Part-Time Stars
By 2011, it became clear WWE was no longer the star-making machine it had been in previous years.
The company looked to The Rock, who returned from a seven-year hiatus for a two-year program with Cena. The Undertaker and Triple H popped up on TV to hype major PPV matches, and even Kevin Nash made his presence felt in a desperate attempt by the company to bolster its young roster with marquee names.
A year later, Lesnar would return to the company, the latest in a trend of WWE officials increasingly relying on part-time performers to help sell major PPVs rather than taking the time and effort to create new stars to run atop the card for the future .
The retirements of Undertaker and Triple H, and a return to Hollywood for The Rock, ensured that subsided somewhat, but Lesnar continued to pop up from time to time, typically as WWE prepared for WrestleMania or SummerSlam.
Then Cena, once a critic of The Rock for failing to appear consistently to show his love for WWE and its fans, found success of his own in movies and television and took on a part-time schedule that has seen him pop up when needed for a big-time bout.
On one hand, it makes sense that an entertainment company would recruit its most recognizable stars to help sell a major production. If Universal or Fox Studios wanted to sell a passion project by Hollywood’s biggest director, they would turn to a Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts or George Clooney to help do that, even if they had not been regularly acting to that point.
The same goes for WWE, which recognizes the need for an attraction and calls in the heavy hitters for its most prestigious extravaganzas.
On the other hand, it does prevent the company from building its current crop of stars to slide into that role in the future. With only Reigns really standing head and shoulders above everyone else as the undisputed star of the promotion, where would WWE go if he retired or was injured?
There is no other Rock, Cena or Lesnar walking in the door anytime soon, and nor is there anyone on the roster right now who could popup a decade from now for a one-off match and create the impact these men do when they return to WWE programming.
Thus, it becomes paramount WWE utilizes the names it has on its roster in a way that helps them achieve that level of stardom so that it has a pool to select from when it needs major attractions years down the line.
While Lesnar vs. Reigns hardly helps with that situation, Cena could be poised to confirm one of the brightest young stars as the future of the company with his upcoming return.
What to Expect from Cena, Lesnar
On June 6, Cena posted an image to his Instagram account of a black boot smothering the US Championship.
As is often the case on that specific account, it seemed to be a subliminal message over what followers can anticipate from the all-timer when he returns to WWE programming.
Certain, the 45-year-old is scheduled to rejoice twenty years with WWE on Monday’s Uncooked, however would it not shock anybody if a sure egotistical younger US champion interrupted the legendary competitor and jump-started a feud that might culminate at SummerSlam?
Concept has been one of many breakout stars of WWE over the previous couple of months and just lately took to his personal Twitter account, in reference to a just lately launched photoshoot, to seemingly taunt Cena.
Sincerely yours, Stan pic.twitter.com/9tTPWda0xx
Pairing the 24-year-old towards the largest star WWE has produced for the reason that Angle Period is an excellent transfer, that needs to be the path the corporate chooses.
It not solely offers Concept the rub of sharing the ring with an internationally acknowledged skilled wrestler but in addition a bonafide Hollywood star.
Such a pairing declares to the world that WWE believes within the youthful man as the subsequent face of the corporate and it’s best to, too.
It’s the kind of reaffirmation that stars throughout the roster may have used through the years to raised strengthen their credibility and put together them to leap right into a program in case of emergency, such because the one WWE at the moment faces with the absences of Rhodes and Orton.
Most significantly, a match with Cena supplies Concept with a type of early highlight-reel moments he can pair along with his WrestleMania 38 match towards Pat McAfee and present as proof of his means to carry out up to date, towards high-profile opponents.
That, as a lot as reserving, is vital to a Famous person’s credibility and the followers’ notion of them as a giant deal.
Lesnar and Reigns could have one other heavy-hitting essential occasion that results in questions on WWE’s reliance on that specific contest to attract followers when the viewers has already been overexposed to it.
Fortunately, Cena vs. Concept is a match that will not seize as many headlines, but it surely might be the catalyst for the latter’s rise and the beginning of a Corridor of Fame profession.
All because of a star comparable to Cena, who acknowledges the significance of veterans in serving to to ascertain a younger performer—simply as Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho did for him.