Roman Reigns Vs. John Cena: The Death of Superman

I’ve only recently gotten back into wrestling.  It’s a super fun serial melodrama that includes death defying stunts.  It’s often a morality tale with good struggling against evil with good finally winning in the end.

This all brings us to John Cena and Roman Reigns.  John Cena, in the wrestling world, is basically superman.  And everyone hates him.  A lot of people kind of hate him (less so now), for the same reason that they hate superman.  As explained by Max Landis:

People hate John Cena because he’s a squeaky clean good guy that always wins. There’s never any tension.  This is where Roman Reigns comes in.  Roman Reigns, in some ways, has been booked in much the same way.  That is, Roman Reigns has been booked as an unbeatable guy where his matches have almost no tension because he always wins.  However, the difference with Roman Reigns is that Roman Reigns’ character isn’t that much of a good guy.  The character is morphing into this pure destructive force that isn’t good or evil but is just a monster that destroys WWE wrestlers.

This is why my ultimate fantasy booking is Roman Reigns Vs. John Cena at (maybe the next? Maybe in another year?) Wrestlemania.  Roman Reigns and John Cena should do the Death of Superman.  John Cena comes back and does the Open U.S. title challenge on Smackdown and beats everyone.  This keeps John Cena occupied and away from the drama with Roman Reigns.

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We keep Roman Reigns a quasi-heel (after the wellness policy violation we can now make him a full heal).  Roman Reigns continues to be an unstoppable force in WWE.  This can take as long as you like.  Roman Reign will go up against every babyface in the company.  He already beat A.J. Styles (and literally everyone else he’s gone in a feud with).  Over the next year (or even 2) we let Roman Reigns destroy everything.  We let (and you an skip a few sentences if these names mean nothing to you) Roman Reigns get into a feud with Seth Rollins and beat him.  We let Roman Reigns get into a feud with Dean Ambrose.  We give Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins together a chance to get into a triple threat match for the title.  Roman Reigns always comes out on top.

Roman Reigns can get into a feud with Kevin Owens, with Cesaro, and with Sammy Zayn.  We let Sammy Zayn go last and let them have an epic fight where Zayn comes so near to defeating Reigns that Reigns’ win is the most devastating of all.

This parallels the run up to the Death of Superman in the comics.  In the comics, Superman got too powerful, so the comics created doomsday.  Doomsday is just an instrument of destruction.  He tears through the justice league.  He goes up against them, and all that’s left in the end is Superman.  It’s up to Superman to stop Doomsday.  Superman goes up against Doomsday in an epic fight and they simultaneously land killing blows on each other.

So I think that the WWE should do Superman vs. Doomsday with John Cena and Roman Reigns.  Leading up to a Wrestlemania we call attention to the unbeatable Roman Reigns.  Reigns is put in the Royal Rumble at slot 1 and wins the whole thing.  Shane McMahon, or some other babyface, calls attention to the way Roman Reigns has been and how bad it is and makes the match between John Cena and Roman Reigns.  Maybe Shane fights Reigns and loses which leads to the making of the match.

John Cena and Roman Reigns fight a number of times leading up to Wrestlemania, with John Cena losing each match.  We’ve built the tension for the lead up to Wrestlemania, where John Cena will fight Roman Reigns.  The WWE’s Superman will fight WWE’s Doomsday at Wrestlemania for the WWE world heavyweight title.  The end of the match is a simultaneous superman punch and some other move by Cena and Wrestlemania ends with Cena and Reigns lying on the ground, perhaps being brought out of the stadium on stretchers.

Now, there are a couple problems with this pitch.  There is the problem of setting the right stakes and there is the problem of getting an ending where John Cena wins but he also “dies.”  Maybe there is a stipulation on the match.  Maybe there is a stipulation where Roman Reigns forfeits the title if he doesn’t win the match cleanly and the character John Cena can’t come back to Raw if he loses (or maybe John Cena makes it an I quit match, or maybe we go crazy and make John Cena “die” in the match, I’m not sure here).

Maybe I can be really self-indulgent and let John Cena “die” on Wrestlemania and do Reign of the John Cenas: John Cena Returns after this run.  But that’s another blog post.

But let me explain why this is a great idea.  This will allow John Cena and Roman Reigns to have some real drama in their lives.  This will also, if played right, come in at just the right time in Roman Reigns story to allow his defeat to be received really well.  This will also allow the WWE to weaken Reigns after this fight.  This will finally give John Cena a really deep storyline with something real to overcome.  This will also allow the WWE to say that the overpowered booking of Roman Reigns was on purpose and leading up to this amazing moment.

But anyway, I should get back to the ending of this match.  John Cena will fight Roman Reigns and it will be a great match.  The match will end with some kind of simultaneous move which will result in two (storyline) unconscious wrestlers.  Maybe carry them both out on stretchers.  The stipulations prior to the match will mean that Reigns has given up the belt, but John Cena doesn’t get the belt.  Preferably, somehow “John Cena” will not be able to move forward in the WWE for at least a long while, but also this will remove Reigns from the title picture for a good long while.  It’s a great way to end the Reigns storyline and perhaps a great way to give John Cena a break to go out and make movies and be away from the company.

Maybe in the future I’ll make a suggestion for something more self-indulgent and ridiculous.  After John Cena V. Roman Reigns: the Death of Superman, we can book John Cena in his heal turn: Reign of the John Cenas.

Tune back in every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for new stuff!

Peace be with you.
-JS

Why do I Love WWE Wrestling?

I’ve recently returned to watching WWE wrestling after 15 years away.  I really enjoy it.  But why do I love it?  It’s something of a mystery to me.  Why do people like Wrestling Entertainment?  Perhaps you could understand why a person would like WWE before finding out that “it’s fake.”  But interest in WWE doesn’t always go away when a person finds out that the individuals on the show are stunt-fighting.  How can you like a show that is just pretending to be real?  Well, it better be similar to the reasons people give for liking other pretend things.  That is, it should turn out that the reason I like WWE is like the reason I like magic shows or the reason I like certain works of fiction or television shows.

Luckily, the reasons that people show like WWE are similar to the reasons they should like these other things.  But first we should talk about how to categorize WWE wrestling.  WWE wrestling is a weird thing.  It’s like a cross between a soap opera, the muppet show, and live theater, but it’s in the action genre.  Suppose you were watching a TV show like 24.  But now suppose that they made this show live, and retained all the action and stunts.  This would be a rad show.  Now, the stories in WWE are not quite like the stories in shows like 24, but they are dramatic arcs nonetheless.  In fact, they are often versions of the heroes journey (or redemption stories, or a host of other kinds of stories).  In fact, there is a great youtube video by a respected hollywood writer illustrating what wrestling is (spoiler alert: wrestling isn’t wrestling):

Wrestling is a lot of things, but it’s not wrestling.  It’s a drama.  It’s performance art.  It’s the muppet show (a show about the drama behind putting on a show).  It can be a place for really great story-telling.  It’s also an art that has been devoted to developing the best and most convincing stage-combat that you have ever seen.  In a way like magic, it’s devoted to creating a certain contrary-to-reality perception which makes it easier for the viewer to engage in the suspension of disbelief.

Professional wrestling, though it might suck from time to time, gives the real opportunity for amazing story-telling over the course of years and years.  You should check out professional wrestling again.  It’s worth watching.

 

Check back WMF for more content.

Peace be with you.
-JS

P.S. If you’d like to watch a great podcast which discusses wrestling from a storyline perspective, check out sidewalk slam: