Ever since winning the United States championship, and granting Rusev his first loss in the process, John Cena has not only defended it weekly on Monday Night RAW, but he has given the championship a new identity.
The hardest part of having any championship in professional wrestling is to find the identity of the title and what it represents. In the early days, it was simple because there were only four main championships: the World, secondary, tag team, and the women’s titles. But as the business evolved and companies were absorbed, championships started to lose their identity.
Instead of one of each title, WWE decided to have two World titles, two secondary titles, two tag team titles, and two women’s titles. This was due in part of the RAW/SmackDown brand extension, and in part of honoring the rich history of NWA/WCW.
Yet as time moved on, the championships were unified except for those two secondary titles: the Intercontinental and the United States championships. But what did they represent?
For every Night of Champions special, WWE’s broadcast team touted the rich history of who held the championships in the past as the reasoning to why the IC and US titles were prestigious. But if the titles were so damn prestigious, why were they won by mid-card talent, which Brass had no intentions of ever elevating to the next level? The IC and the US championships were quickly being forgotten in favor of storylines and silly grudges.
The decision for the WrestleMania outcomes finally put stock back into these forgotten championships by placing them on established main event guys.
Daniel Bryan as the Intercontinental champion resonates with the champions of old: Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Ricky Steamboat, and Randy Savage. Bryan is a champion-caliber athlete with the ability to put on quality matches and elevate talent to the next level.
John Cena’s US title is a bit trickier because of the easy pitfall that if the championship falls into the hands of an evil foreigner like a Rusev or a Cesaro, the championship would be another gimmick used to drive storylines instead of talent.
John Cena, love him or hate him–can’t seem to get that San Jose chant *John*Cena*Sucks* out of my head, he has given the US title a new identity.
John Cena’s Open Challenges are meant to grant WWE Superstars, who haven’t had a chance to elevate to the main event level, an opportunity to dance with Mr. “15-times the Mountain top”. Because Cena has been the standard-bearer of the WWE for over a decade. And the man has continuously proven to love what he does, and wants to give a rub to all the Superstars who have scratched and clawed, trying to break through the glass ceiling, to finally get a chance to show the office and the WWE Universe what they can do when given an opportunity.
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About the blogger: I love pro wrestling and all of its layers of athleticism and entertainment. I also love to read and write, which is why, hopefully, WrestlingTimesX will come across as different, in a better way, than anything else that you read on the web. My mantra on wrestling, in any state, is to love it then, now, and forever.