After that fantastic match at SummerSlam, we see Brock Lesnar become Champion after the brutal beat-down he puts on Cena, who is probably the only wrestler in the company that could handle such a one-sided affair and still not lose any credibility: it just made Brock Lesnar look that much stronger.
As discussed by Andrew Goldstein on Grantland’s Cheap Heat podcast, WWE really missed the boat on finally introducing an element of vulnerability into the John Cena story arc. But I think it should have been taken further than that. Assuming Brock is going to stay as Champion until ‘Mania, WWE need as much star power and potential as possible to put against him in the high-profile or big four events: including the up-and-coming Survivor Series and Royal Rumble.
For that reason, I don’t see the need to throw away a John Cena – Brock Lesnar rematch at Night of Champions. Why not allow Cena to really play up the injury, having it break his mental focus, providing credibility to the physical beating he took. They took him off the air for one week, but I hoped that would be the start of a build or opportunity for somebody else. Giving that time off saves Cena either for a re-match at Survivor Series, or better yet – Hell In A Cell (more later).
The Cell matches are etched into my psyche from my early days as WWE’s most vicious and diabolical structure, and therefore only the most heated feuds would end up being battled out to a finish inside its steel confines. Examples include: Undertaker vs Mankind (KOTR 1998), Triple H vs Cactus Jack (Royal Rumble 2000), HHH vs Y2J (Judgement Day 2002), Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker (No Mercy 2002), Triple H vs Shawn Michaels (Bad Blood 2004), Batista vs Triple H (2005) etc. Think of the emotions those storylines built towards, and the poignant financial pay-offs.
It’s part of my general apathy towards gimmick match-themed Pay-Per-Views, but the HIAC is definitely the most watered down of what it used to be. Having the Elimination Chamber at No Way Out and then rebranding the event marks an example of the concept working, and maybe Money In The Bank PPV too now that there is only one main Championship Title, but I would prefer a strong return for the King of the Ring, and TLC feels like a concept that is very much forced upon you.
SIDE NOTE: whatever happened to tag-team ladder matches anyway… apart from Joey Mercury’s nose that is – I miss the old Intercontinental Title and mid-card ladder matches.
The Hell in a Cell concept ought to be used to bring blood feuds to a boil and so I don’t see any more of a perfect fit for Brock vs. Cena III (especially after Extreme Rules 2012 and this summer). That and it allows for a break from the repeated and done-to-death idea of the BIG MATCH followed immediately by the rematch. We’re being told that this is exciting on television, but it really is tried and tested. Make the rematches more exciting! In boxing and MMA, the rematches rarely happen immediately and usually occur after some time has passed. This gives you time to want to see the two lock horns once again.
So that leaves a gap, if we give the Cena-Brock match more time to build, who do we use in his place for Night of Champions and later on at Survivor Series. What marquee players are left? I know one guy, and he’s called Chris Jericho.
Of all the players, Chris Jericho is one of the most credible opponents for Brock Lesnar to face, a multiple-time World Champion, a credible wrestler to fight Brock and a credible talker to match Heyman, especially given the lack of Superstar-appeal on the rest of the roster. There are only a few solid choices, and Y2J stands out among them all. One potential hiccup would be his touring schedule for Fozzy, but given that he’s currently facing Randy Orton at the show, I don’t think that would have played a part whatsoever. I mean, he even debuted against arguably the biggest star of all time!
Given that Jericho would go in to face Brock Lesnar, it probably would do well to keep him looking as strong as possible, so a clean loss to Bray Wyatt the PPV before would be no good. Maybe it was worth having The Wyatt Family v. Chris Jericho and ‘band mates’ Heath Slater and Titus O’Neil*. The match becomes a wild brawl where Wyatt comes out on top over Slater, keeping Wyatt strong and not detracting from Chris Jericho (this will need to be expanded upon as it features another storyline).
*SIDE NOTE: I wanted to have Chris Jericho return in the Summer time, in order to basically whip 3MB into shape, and make them his students, mentoring them into becoming bigger stars. Eventually, that rock band could have been taken over by CM Punk, going from a glam metal/hard rock band faction to a hardcore punk band faction. Drew McIntyre would have been kicked out at this point in favour of bringing in one Corey Graves from NXT (his image is perfect for it, goes well with Slater and adds an element of comedy contrasted against Jinder Mahal). This would lead to Drew McIntyre teaming up with his best friend Sheamus to tackle the group, maybe even recruiting Wade Barrett to form The Brit Pack (ideally they could have feuded with The Shield, Evolution, The Wyatt Family too). Maybe there’s a chance for him to try with Slater & O’Neal, but it won’t be the same.
Eventually when the faction would have fallen apart, it would have been due to Heath Slater becoming an obnoxious and pious rock star, turning up late, missing matches, and even brawling in the crowd with fans (plants of course), a la his inspiration Axl Rose.
Back to the topic at hand – two weeks ago, I saw something on Monday Night RAW that I didn’t think was possible. There was a segment involving Paul Heyman, and it wasn’t interesting. The impossible became possible . I can’t help but think that with a solid four-week lead up between The Biggest Party of the Summer and the Night of Champions spectacle, Jericho would have surely been able to work his magic on the microphone with The Advocate and engage with The Next Big Thing.
Here’s how I would do it:
Week 1 [RAW]: After SummerSlam: we witness the crowning of Brock Lesnar, and Paul Heyman promo on John Cena (16x suplex-repeat, woo!) and how Cena hasn’t been able to recover from his injury yet (these are bullet-points since Heyman knows how to talk and verbage does not need to be written for him).
Suddenly, the lights go out. Could it be Undertaker? The Demon Kane? Bray Wyatt? [BREAK THE WALLS DOWN!] No, it’s Chris Jericho! Y2J cuts a promo berating the Paulrus, dictates that The Beast isn’t the only one gunning for gold in the WWE. [Insert funny remark by Chris Jericho]. The two square-off in the ring and while Brock sizes up Jericho, he doesn’t back down. Paul goes to say something but Jericho knocks the microphone out of his hand and then goes right back up to Brock before he can do anything. The two engage in an intense stare-down and RAW goes off the air (with Heyman in typical fashion begging Brock not to do anything).
Jericho hosts the Highlight Reel and talks about earlier days with the company and the rise of the SD! 6 – Rey, Eddie, Angle, Chavo, Edge and himself (conveniently avoiding any mention of Benoit). He goes into how they were clawing and fighting up the ranks, and were able to achieve success through Paul Heyman’s help. But he will never forget the other things that Heyman has done and the rotten businessman that he was. [Paul Heyman centred promo]. As he is about to get onto Lesnar –
– He gets interrupted by The Miz and his stunt double Damien Mizdow, and the confrontation leads to a match later in the night, which Jericho wins.
Week 2: RAW
We open the show with The Highlight Reel and Chris Jericho mentions the fact he hasn’t been WWE Champion in over 12 years, since he defeated The Rock and Steve Austin in the same night. He’s been around the world, he became the first ever and only nine-time Intercontinental Champion, he’s become a rock star, a podcasting stud, doing it all off his own back… but this big meathead was having everything thrown his way on a silver platter. He and his fellow compadres eventually became the success stories as Lesnar just quit the company because he wasn’t man enough to stay in the WWE.
Paul Heyman interrupts, thinking that Chris invited him on the show. He brings up the fact that Jericho said on Twitter/previously in an announcement that The Highlight Reel was privy to a new video featuring John Cena’s decimation. Cue video package highlighting Brock destroying Cena at Summer Slam and his time in hospital recovering that night. John is shaken up, doesn’t know what to do with himself.
The video ends and we cut back to Paul, who goes into a tirade praising Brock and chastising Cena and Jericho, mentioning Lionheart’s beginning in ECW and how he would have never let him become anything substantial. Y2J questions Paul’s loyalty to his ECW foundations, whether he cared about the star’s potential in their heart or whether he bought into the WWE’s ‘big man’ as Lesnar’ big meat head is bigger than his passion inside the squared circle. Paul quips “Mr Jericho, you’ve mentioned ‘private parts’ of your life in your autobiography. And let me tell you Mr Jericho, size-does-matter.” (* referring to Jericho openly telling the world he has a small penis in A Lion’s Tale, a literary technique also used by New York Times Bestseller Mick Foley). Jericho retorts but Paul asks Chris: “Mr Jericho, do you really want to start a war?”
There’s a testy face-off but no physical conflict. Then … [music hits: ONE OF A KIND!] Rob Van Dam interrupts the segment and tells Paul that he’s backing Jericho because he agrees, Heyman sold out all his principles when he left ECW without telling him in 2001, going on to manage Brock in 2002, only changing loyalties when Brock left. Only when that happened did Paul go back and do ECW: One Night Stand, an idea pitched by R-V-D to begin with. Paul leaves saying this was all slander.
Backstage segment later in the night: Paul goes to The Authority, saying that Plan C had worked and therefore they ought to consider repaying the favour by putting Jericho & RVD in a 2-on-3 handicap match against the Wyatt Family. Match: RVD & Y2J v. The Wyatt Family (no contest, beat-down afterwards by Ryback, Cesaro and Curtis Axel – the Paul Heyman Guys – on Y2J & RVD). RAW goes off the air.
SMACKDOWN! Video package of Brock v. Cena plays again, segment on RAW repeats. The Paul Heyman Guys come out as a unit,, telling the world how proud they are of what they did on RAW. They made a statement, to their boss Paul Heyman, to the Authority, to the WWE Universe and to Chris Jericho and Rob Van Dam. We witness a 3-on-3 match, where they defeat three people from NXT in a 6-man tag match (probably including Sami Zayn).
Opening segment: Paul Heyman comes out in order to explain the beat down he organised for RVD and Jericho, something so masterfully orchestrated that his three protégés have gained Championship matches for NOC as a reward: RyBaxel are in the tag-team hunt against The Brotherhood and the Usos, and Cesaro has gained a shot at the United States Championship against Sheamus.
Paul prophesises a clean sweep for The Paul Heyman guys, topped when their leader and assassin BROCK Lesnar retains the WWEs Championship. Where Brock will not only Break Down the Walls of Chris Jericho, he will break his submission, he will break Jericho’s resolve, he will break Jericho’s fighting spirit, and most of all he will Eat, Sleep and Conquer Chris Jericho.
As a lead-up to the big event, The Paul Heyman Guys (Cesaro, Ryback, Axel) are put into a ten-man tag-team match with Goldust and Star Dust against Sheamus, The Usos and Jericho & RVD.
We see another video focusing on John Cena and his road to recovery, he has finally made it back to his home but is visibly shaken (physically he has recovered, but the mental toll has exhausted him – he can’t even work out properly).
We hear nothing from Y2J and RVD throughout the night until the main event. As the Paul Heyman guys approach, Jericho and RVD come out with steel chairs and just annihilate them. This leaves The Brothers Dust in a quick 3-on-2 situation and are quickly beaten after being taken surprise by a Brogue Kick to Goldust from Sheamus and a double-team on Star Dust from The Usos.
[SMACKDOWN!] – Paul Heyman comes out to speak of the injustice that his clientele have faced from those vicious assailants, who should be charged with assault and battery. But they will get their come uppance next week, when Brock Lesnar returns to RAW.
Video of Cena replayed again.
[RAW] Another John Cena video during the night, where he is back to exercising, still with no real emotion or drive. He looks less exhausted, still feeling the weight of the world pressing down on him. He tries to go out of his house but is bombarded by press and media, so he just goes back inside.
Closing segment: Highlight Reel segment: Jericho with Rob Van Dam. The two discuss why the title means so much to guys like them, the ‘smaller’ ones, the so-called vanilla midgets. Their generation still needs to leave their mark as bigger and better than ever before, or else people like Lesnar will come along and end your career. But still, Rob says that spirit won’t go away, it won’t die, it was the same spirit found in ECW and it will continue, not through Paul Heyman, but through R-V-D, and people like Y-2-J and their actions.
Jericho then insults Paul one more time and – LESNAR’s music hits. He comes to the ring and squares up to them both on his own. Then the PH guys come from behind and take out Van Dam. Jericho stands up to Lesnar and the two start mauling each other until when Y2J nearly gets him into the Walls of Jericho but it is broken up by Cesaro… who then tries to get Jericho in the Giant Swing, but it is reversed back into the Walls.
On the outside, Brock is furious and goes after RVD and takes him out HARD. Then looking at Jericho, who is busy fighting off Cesaro and Axel, delivers an F-5 on Rob into the ring post, (choice: either f-5 so that his head looks like it hits the post to severely knock him out, or f-5 so that his leg hits the post and it cracks one of his bones, I’m leaning towards the former though). This allows RVD to have a reason to pursue his non-wrestling interests in his part-time role.
Jericho breaks free of the others restraining him (Cesaro and RyBack) and suicide dives onto Lesnar on the outside. The two then continue fighting and security and the roster come out to break up the melee. In the ensuing chaos, RAW goes off the air.
NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS: Chris Jericho is defeated by Brock Lesnar, who then continues on to injure Jericho after the match (more evenly fought contest but still makes Lesnar look like the most vicious threat in wrestling). Brock ends it by delivering another F-5 on the outside so Chris’ head hits the ring post in the same manner as RVD the week before. He then drags Jericho’s body around the ring mockingly. This leaves Jericho to pursue his music interests and gives Brock a strong victory and his heel streak continues going forward.
Potential spots during the match:
(1) Jericho going for the Codebreaker and almost taking Lesnar down, but Brock stops him before he hits the mat by just holding onto Jericho’s legs and with his freakish strength, lifting Jericho into a belly-to-belly suplex.
(2) Jericho nearly gets caught in the Kimura lock, fights back, slips out and finally turns Brock over into the Walls of Jericho.
(3) FINISH: Jericho goes for the running bulldog, Lesnar catches him in mid-air and hits the F5.
Overall Story of the Fight: Brock keeps on beating Chris down to literally, physically and mentally to BREAK DOWN JERICHO. (T-shirt: Eat, Sleep, Break Jericho, Repeat)
Then, we wait for Volume III.
Originally written for Pyro & Ballyhoo HERE on 19/09/14.
For more from me, follow me on Twitter @HotChocHari or visit the rest of http://www.hariramakrishnan.com