WrestleMania Preview: Why John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt is More Important Than You Think

We here at the #LWOSWRESTLING team were each asked to extrapolate on a WrestleMania XXX match. Much to my delight, I was asked to write about the John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt match. Some may wonder why I would be so excited to write about this match. It isn’t the main event, there’s no championship on the line, it doesn’t even have a gimmick. So what makes this match so special in my eyes? It all comes down to what this match represents for the two men involved.

First we have Bray Wyatt. On the surface his story seems to be a typical one. A young up and comer on the rise, with a lot of momentum heading into his first WrestleMania. It almost mirrors a young man on the rise in 2004, gaining popularity with the crowd by using a street wise attitude and never say die work ethic. The difference between then and now is the opponent. When John Cena made his Wrestlemania debut, he was facing the massive Big Show in the
opening contest for the United States championship. A daunting challenge to be sure, but certainly not even comparable to what awaits Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania XXX.

Although the Big Show was a star at the time, he was no where near the top of the card, and certainly not the face of the WWE. John Cena may have had just as many eyes watching him as Chris Benoit, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels, but if his match stunk, he’d get another chance to prove himself, as everyone knew his best days were ahead of him. Bray Wyatt faces a different dragon on April 6, because all eyes will be on him, and he is wrestling the face of WWE. If he screws up here, on the biggest stage in pro wrestling, against the biggest star in pro wrestling, it may be a long time before he gets another chance to prove himself.

But hasn’t Bray Wyatt proven himself already? Since debuting in the summer, he’s had a string of incredible matches with the likes of Kofi Kingston, The Shield, and Daniel Bryan. On the surface, that seems like a list of impressive talent, and it is, but one thing not to be over looked is the fact that all those men have a similar style. A fast paced, high spot centralized flow that gelled well with Bray’s own unorthodox and theatrical modus operandi. The  only other high profile opponent Wyatt has faced since his debut is Kane, a man with a style quite similar to Wyatt’s opponent at Wrestlemania. Looking back, Wyatt’s contests with Kane were forgettable at best, and ugly at their worst. Bray is a captivating character and an unbelievable athlete, but the question remains: Can he hang with WWE’s elite performers who work the WWE main event style?

This match is important to Bray Wyatt because it is the beginning of the next step in his career. Winning or losing isn’t important here. What’s important here is Wyatt putting on the performance of his career so he can get a foothold in the main event scene. Contrary to what he is saying in his promos, this match is not about Wyatt destroying John Cena’s legacy; it’s about Wyatt building his own.

For John Cena, this match is a turning point in his career. Cena has been firing on all cylinders, full speed ahead since 2004. 10 years is a long time to go non stop. Just ask Hulk Hogan. It is ironic that for years Cena has been compared to Hogan, as we see yet another parallel in their careers. Hogan remained king of the WWF for a decade, much in the same way Cena has done in this era. The parallels don’t end there however. In 1987, Hogan had a torch passed to him by the bearer of the previous era, Andre The Giant. Almost 20 years later, Hogan would take his place among the immortals by passing that torch to his equal in the next era, The Rock. Last year was the culmination of a three year journey for John Cena, who defeated The Rock, finally grabbing a hold of his own torch. That was when everything changed for him. Most believe these matches represented the victor coming into a new age of glory, when it was in fact, the opposite. These matches, and that torch, represent the responsability these men now face to take care of the business by finding their own successor.

It has been said that you must be selfish in order to succeed in the world of professional wrestling. Although it can be assumed that John Cena put himself first when it came to his career and his desire to be the man, he has also proven time and time again that he has always been willing to earn his spot, through an indestructible work ethic and ironically, an unselfish attitude. John Cena has always put WWE first. Even though the term has been used frequently in recent weeks on WWE television, John Cena is a man who really does understand what is best for business, and on Sunday, he looks to prove it.

It is foolish to believe that Cena can continue for another 10 years on top, and although I’m sure he is nowhere near finished being a main event player in WWE, he also is very aware of what the next stage of his career is. Cena needs new fresh talent in the main event to work against. It’s the reason he has constantly put over Daniel Bryan in the last year, and why Randy Orton is the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Even though he is still the face of WWE, he realizes that his job is now to prepare the next wave of main eventers. He has even said it himself. Anyone who wants to get to the next level must go through him. He is now WWE’s gatekeeper to the main event.

Of course, this will also benefit Cena in the long run, as it will build new stars for him to eventually work against, and pass his own torch along to someday. The ironic thing about this match is that it’s just as much a test for Cena as it is Wyatt. Cena has always been the one who needed to rise up to meet his opponent at Wrestlemania. This year, Cena’s goal will be to reach down, grab a hold of Bray Wyatt and elevate him to stand side by side in the main event picture, something he has never done on the grandest stage of Wrestlemania.

Appearances can be deceiving, and no more so than in the match that seemingly has taken a back seat to the Yes Movement, the streak, and a huge battle royal. It isn’t the main event. There is no championship on the line, and they haven’t been feuding for over a year but come Sunday, John Cena versus Bray Wyatt may have some of the biggest ramifications of the entire night. Not just for these two men, but for the future of WWE entirely.

Photo courtesy of WWE.com

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