One of my personal favourite matches in the past decade of WWE programming has been the Brock Lesnar VS John Cena match from Extreme Rules 2012. Many consider this match to be a gigantic blunder in the lineage of the WWE and I would have agree with that sentiment until April of this year. The main cause for concern for most people is the fact that Brock Lesnar had just come back to the WWE and his first match was a loss to Cena. While I will obviously admit the fact that this is no way to build Brock Lesnar as the beast and main attraction that he can be; I have to argue that it was also not nearly as destructive as people like to believe that it was. First off the loss came to John Cena, and literally at this point eevryone in the business has lost to John Cena; the guy’s a winner and a loss to John is not that damaging. Further Brock Lesnar looked completely dominant, even savage during that match; busting open Cena worse than he has been since his Judgement Day 2005 I Quit match with JBL.
I will say that the ending of the match was a little too emphatic for my taste, as it left little room to question who the winner of the contest was. However I also believe that John needed a win following the incredible loss to The Rock he faced a month prior; while John would get that defeat back at the next year’s WrestleMania I think that was too long away and too lackluster to make up for the original loss. Realistically to continue the megastar that is John Cena, he needed to beat the beast, however that still left Lesnar with a loss and so WWE had a plan in the works. Following this loss Lesnar was put into an angle with HHH where Brock broke the arm of the COO and his best friend Shawn Michaels, leading to a main event spot on the second biggest show of the year. Brock dominated the match and again broke the arm of Triple H to once again firmly establish Brock Lesnar as the unstoppable beast that he truly is, regardless of the loss to John Cena; however the path that Brock Lesnar took from there with HHH was fairly questionable with such a concrete loss at WrestleMania 29, though Lesnar again won inside a steel cage at the following Extreme Rules.
Brock Lesnar then was put into a feud with CM Punk, the biggest star to come out of this generation below John Cena and Randy Orton leading into this last SummerSlam. What an absolutely phenomenal match those two had, with Brock Lesnar walking away with the victory only after the distraction of and interaction with Paul Heyman. This yet again set Brock Lesnar to look dominant, however this match also looked to elevate CM Punk to the level that Brock Lesnar occupies. WWE clearly wanted to build Brock Lesnar as their biggest and baddest competitor due to the hefty pay he commands, so back to the original question; why would WWE have Cena beat him so cleanly right off the bat? I believe WWE saw the how intensely the Rock/Cena match was hyped, how important it was to Cena, and the blow to his image with such a massive loss. Their plan was to have Cena redeem himself against Lesnar, knowing that they could rebuild him as the months progressed; which I think they did a reasonably good job of, once again until April of this year.
Nobody saw the end of The Streak coming, people wanted CM Punk to end it the year previous to immortalize him as a legend, but that route was not taken. This year with Brock, nobody even talked about it as no one thought there was even a possibility that Brock would legitimately pin The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Well the time came and Brock hit 3 F-5′s to score the victory and be put in the history books as the man to end The Undertaker’s Streak. With Taker’s career dwindling down and possibly even being over the WWE needed a money maker that can be brought in from time to time to ensure a main event and they established Brock Lesnar as that guy at WrestleMania. To properly capitalize on the end of The Streak the WWE also wants Lesnar to be wearing the WWE World Heavyweight Title which seems to be all but set for SummerSlam. Lesnar/Cena II is the culmination of 2 and a half years of story telling, justifying the loss that Lesnar took to Cena and properly propels Lesnar forward from ending The Streak.
One of the biggest reasons why I feel this SummerSlam match justifies the original loss is that A) it creates a great starting point as one thing Brock Lesnar hasn’t done, but further it establishes that another rematch is unnecessary. This is the second time they’re going to face each other, both will have a win and a long running feud will not be needed following the SummerSlam match; however a rubber match will be sitting in the wings for a year or so down the road. Also just as a side note to finish off this article, I think Daniel Bryan’s neck injury could turn out to be very beneficial for Bryan and the WWE’s history in general. Daniel Bryan’s half year long story culminated at WrestleMania 30 and while multiple successfull title defenses would have been good, the title is going to Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. This neck injury allows for Daniel Bryan to drop the title without actually being beaten and allows WWE to put John Cena in the position of champion for Lesnar to defeat. Cena is really the only one that can be defeated and will be in some way impressive following the epic ending of The Streak at WrestleMania while justifying Lesnar’s original loss to Cena. WWE can be blamed for making many questionable decisions, but the current plan being put into place with Cena dropping the belt to Brock Lesnar is exactly what is needed and leaves plenty of room to grow from a fresh start at SummerSlam.