If last month wasn't evidence enough, this week's action makes it abundantly clear: Neville has officially established himself as a star in WWE.
"The Man Gravity Forgot" leads the Wrestler Wrankings, passing United States Champion, all-time great, and crossover celebrity, John Cena. How did this happen? It required a combination of Neville scoring a remarkable 7 points and John Cena being shut out. The latter was thanks to the shockingly stout victory by Kevin Owens over Cena at Elimination Chamber.
Regardless, Cena has enjoyed a very successful year, especially if one allows for his newfound enthusiasm for the United States Championship rather than the WWE World Heavyweight belt. Still, in a week where he was passed in the Wrankings by a 5'9" rookie and defeated by a seemingly lesser talent on a major show, one wonders if the rank and file of WWE has finally caught up with John Cena.
Seemingly invulnerable to the rigors of time, age may be an increasingly important factor. Examine this chart:
My chart shows the average age of John Cena's opponents each year relative to Cena's own age. This data is courtesy of our friends at profightdb.com and only includes matches that received a star rating from Dave Meltzer or, in other words, matches of major significance.
As you can see, Cena's opponents were consistantly five to eight years older than him for most of his career until 2011 where he was quite close in age to his opponents. Only last year did he become significantly older than his challengers and that disparity has grown significantly in 2015.
The natural order of nature dictates that this trend can only continue, but it is notable that 2014 and 2015 have been the two most trying and least consistent years of the Cenation leader's career and just so happen to be the first in which he's faced considerably more youthful opponents. Is this the reason for Cena's decline, or are the likes of Rusev, Kevin Owens, and Neville simply the types of generational talents that are destined to rule WWE for years to come, as Cena has for the last decade-plus?
Decline is inevitable. It happened to Hulk Hogan, Bruno Sammartino, Ric Flair, Harley Race, and all the rest. It will happen to Cena too. The only question is: Can John Cena's heretofore indomitable will postpose the inevitable?
Time, as always, will tell.
OFFICIAL WRESTLER WRANKINGS FORMULA
ANY WIN = 2 POINTS
US OR INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE BOUT = 1 POINT
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT = 3 POINTS
NON "BIG 4" PPV BONUS = 1.5X
SUMMERSLAM, SURVIVOR SERIES, ROYAL RUMBLE = 2X BONUS
WRESTLEMANIA = 3X BONUS
The WWE season begins on the day after WrestleMania 31 and culminates with WrestleMania 32. The wrestler who accumulates the most points over the course of the season, wins the coveted Wrankings Championship!
Elimination Chamber-- 5/31/15
Monday Night Raw-- 6/1/15
Main Event-- 6/2/15
WRESTLER WRANKINGS, WEEK 10 *TOP TEN*
1. Neville -- 32 points
2. Seth Rollins -- 29.5
3. John Cena -- 28
4. Dean Ambrose -- 26
5. Ryback -- 23.5
6. Randy Orton -- 23
7. Roman Reigns -- 21.5
8. Dolph Ziggler -- 19.5
T9. Sheamus -- 16.5
T9. Bad News Barrett -- 16.5
T34. Hulk Hogan -- 0
T34. Bruno Sammartino -- 0
T34. Ric Flair -- 0
T34. Harley Race -- 0
Thanks for reading, Cagesiders. We'll see you back here next week!