Michael N. Todaro
Editor's Note: This FanPost has been mildly edited for promotion to various sections within Cageside Seats for your enjoyment, Cagesiders!
The entire point of signing Lesnar and Rock is because they are above the normal talent. They can attract a more diverse media, (even if it's just ESPN), than any other wrestler can. So the obsession of these two "putting talent over" really misses the point.
The WWE has a hierarchy based on contracts, with Lesnar and Rock on top. Following them is Undertaker, with HHH following. After that, it's Cena and now Punk. Everyone else is mid-card.
Therefore, to have Rock lose clean to Cena at WrestleManiaXXIX (WM29) helps no one, especially if Rock is signed for another stint. It doesn't elevate Cena to anything other than king of the WWE Universe, which compared to Rock's brand awareness, is like comparing Alabama Crimson Tide to the Baltimore Ravens. People know ‘Bama won the BCS, but no sane person puts them on par with the Ravens.
In other words, Rock losing clean only hurts Rock, which in turn hurts WWE's entire strategy of hiring him in the first place, which is to attract a wider audience.
The same thing with Lesnar, except it's even more damaging to Brock because his brand is being a legit destroyer. Laying down for Cena at Extreme Rules did not help Lesnar nor WWE's ratings. It didn't legitimize Cena because again, no one actually believes Cena could truly beat Lesnar.
So again, Lesnar losing to HHH at WM29 only hurts Brock even mores' because it lowers his status to where he's no longer an MMA champ, but just a top-card wrestler. If that's what Vince wanted, then they're pissing money out of the window by destroying a truly unique opportunity.
In this light, it becomes clear why WM29 is such a mess of a card. No match can end cleanly without risking a larger downside. In other words, no one who buys WM29 because of the Rock wants to watch him lose straight up. The goal is to have him lose, but make the loss legitimate so the Rock buyers stay involved pass WM29.
The only two people who can do that are Lesnar and Undertaker. Brock, because he's Brock, and Taker, due to the streak.
What about Cena, Punk and HHH?
HHH is the easiest. Losing to Lesnar, again, plays into the image he established with his Taker feud: a guy who fights to the bitter end, and it will truly put him in a position as business first/ego second that very, very few in wrestling have ever held. It may be the best way to get all talent to trust his decisions without second-guessing him.
Cena gains nothing by beating Rock just as he gained nothing by beating Lesnar.
Truthfully, he gained more credibility with his recent Punk match than he did by winning the Rumble. It's not because of Cena's talent, it's because "the universe" knows he's about himself first and the self-deprecating shtick is just that, an act.
Only if Cena went heel to beat Rock, could he get some juice out of it. It would instantly make him the top heel, keep the feud with Rock going, and could put him on a collision course with ‘Taker for WM30 which would keep everyone guessing.
The other problem for Cena, is he doesn't really have another option. He can't open a movie. Jumping to TNA is Big Fish/Small Pond. The fact that he doesn't even have a role in Rock's Pain & Gain shows his post-WWE future would look more like Jericho's.
That leaves Punk. Of the two, Punk is the most dangerous option for WWE. He ended Kevin Nash. He embarrassed HHH, surpassed Cena, and even got the best of Rock. I'm not even a big Punk fan, but it's undeniable what he's done. Punk has a credibility that could save TNA from itself, (the only other person with that kind of stroke, is Austin). Punk could even start his own media company with Heyman and find airtime very quickly.
So what does WWE do? The only answer is the six main players -- Rock, Lesnar, Cena, Punk, Taker, and HHH - - must somehow intertwine at WM29. My approach:
Punk over Taker - Lesnar interferes. Time ends as Punk gets the count.
HHH over Lesnar - Taker interferes in a No Rules match.
Cena over Rock - Punk and Lesnar interfere, with Cena "unsure" how he won.
Then at Extreme Rules - Lesnar/Punk vs. Cena/Rock, where Cena swerves.
That puts Rock/Taker/HHH vs. Lesnar/Punk/Cena for most of the year. If Austin can come back by WM30, you redo the Mega-Powers with Rock/Austin/Taker versus Lesnar/Punk/Cena. This opens a Cena swerve back after a season on the dark side, and puts all of them on the same stage.