John Cena (c) vs. Mark Henry
One great promo - with an epic swerve - and John Cena has another monster to slay in his quest to remain WWE champion.
The Road to Money in the Bank
The World's Strongest Man had been absent from WWE television since ending his middling feud with Sheamus via a loss at Extreme Rules. Rumor had it that he was dealing with the latest in a long line of injuries that had plagued his career. There were also rumblings that he was in trouble with management as a result. Then came the hints, from Henry himself, that he might be retiring.
His incredible sales job and legitimately touching promo on June 17th's edition of Raw drew in even the most jaded fans. And WWE champion John Cena.
After allowing big Mark to hold his title as a show of respect, Cena went to hug the legendary powerlifter goodbye. But the payoff to Henry's gambit was at hand, and the champ got a World's Strongest Slam instead of an embrace.
Mizark had played the leader Cenation and the world like puppets. Not only was he not retiring, he was making it his mission to claim the only title in WWE that he had never held - the championship named for the company itself.
The current titleholder welcomed the challenge, even as Henry's subterfuge evoked his righteous indignation. He delivered one of his better promos in recent history in response, correctly pointing out how the challenger (the match having been made official by then Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero) had disrespected his family and everyone who had every sought the WWE title with his tactics.
Now, having just survived a bruising war with Ryback, Cena will have to face the man who defeated the Shell Shocked Superstar at WrestleMania 29. With Henry on an impressive streak since opening his Hall of Pain, can a champion known to not give up even when his body says he should defeat another massive man hellbent on breaking him and taking his belt?
What's at stake?
WWE is very invested in their story that Cena had a bad year in 2012 and is making up for it in 2013. Since they seem determined to keep him away from his most storied rivals (who are also currently babyfaces) Randy Orton and CM Punk for the time being, that places a lot of pressure on creative and the men cast opposite him to be believable threats to his crown.
The World's Strongest Man has developed into one of the very best performers and storytellers in the industry - outside of sanctioned matches, that is. While smarks love to scream "that's what I do!" and conventional fans love to boo his every attempt to inflict violence on his rivals, the quality of his matches has remained low (his bout with Ryback at this year's Mania was a particular turd in this eyes of this writer).
Seemingly aware of this, the bookers have sought to frame this match with a time-honored device - can the hero execute his signature maneuver on the enormous villain?
Never mind that we've seen Cena deliver an Attitude Adjustment to Henry in the past. Like Hogan and Andre or Luger and Yokozuna, the powers-that-be will convince a new crop of pre-teen boys that their hero seeks to do the impossible when he attempts to lift Henry to his shoulders for a fireman's carry takeover.
Let's just hope they can build a match befitting the build to go around that moment.
Will Cena stand tall, or can Henry claim the last belt he hasn't worn in his long career?
Whatever the outcome, you can expect the best news and analysis from Cageside Seats - and we know we'll get the best discussion on the internet from our readers!