John Cena deserves a lot of credit for embracing a new role, bringing some luster back to a secondary title, delivering really good matches on Raw week in and week out while giving younger talent a chance to shine. By almost any metric, you'd have to call his United States championship run since WrestleMania a success.
So why has the feud that lead to that reign feel like such a dud?
Rusev and Cena have had some good matches in the program, but their pay-per-view (PPV) matches have simply been okay - especially in the case of Extreme Rules where they were burdened with the Russian Chain stipulation. But even before that, there was never always something missing from their interactions.
In one Tweet, WWE announcer Kyle Edwards sums up why that's even more the case with their PPV bout coming up this Sunday in Baltimore...
John Cena is both undefeated at #WWEPayback & in I Quit Matches in @WWE #RAW— Kyle Edwards (@KyleEdwardsWWE) May 12, 2015
Perhaps at the beginning of thier issues with one another, fans on both sides of the Cena issue could convince themselves their was a chance the Face who Runs the Place might lose. Neville, Sami Zayn or Stardust never stood a chance in their open challenge matches against the champ, but they're either guys on the way up or who we've learned to accept at their current position on the card.
The Bulgarian Brute, like Bray Wyatt last year, felt on his way to something much bigger - the kind of accomplishments that you don't acheive by just being in the ring with Cena. And now they've booked them into a match type he never loses, at an event where he's never been beaten...
Maybe this is leading up to a swerve, or maybe the break-up between Lana and Rusev will continue to be rushed by John throwing in the towel to save the Ravishing Russian-turned-Floridian. But that would probably just prolong a feud most of us would rather Rusev put in his rear-view as soon as possible.
The man literally has merchandise that he gives to sick children that says "Never Give Up", and they booked him in a "I Quit" match.
Never mind, WWE. I quit.