WWE: John Cena and the Tag-team Championship
by, 03-16-2011 at 07:22 AM (5924 Views)
If there are two things fans that follow WWE tend to agree on it are that John Cena suck and that the Tag-team Championship has lost its glory.
Now first of all we must acknowledge that giving a championship to a wrestler is one of the classic ways to push him or her. This only works if the championship has a perceived status though. A championship with no status is after all just a funky belt with some pieces of metal on it. And we must also acknowledge that some wrestlers are so over that giving them a championship doesn’t really add anything to their status. (E.g.: Randy Orton.)
But while the glory of a championship can “rub off” on an up and coming wrestler, it works both ways. If an established main-eventer or wrestler who is very over starts hunting for a title with less prestige, its value increases in the mind of the audience. Think Chris Jericho and the Intercontinental Championship, or for that matter Sheamus and the US Championship. (Even though having Daniel Bryan as American Champion was a nice nod to Bryan Danielson’s past as American Dragon.)
So how does Cena come into all this?
We know he is the top babyface of the company: Mysterio is tailored towards a certain demographic; Orton plays an unhinged psycho and Edge, well Edge is Edge. Cena on the other hand is the Hulkster of the new millennium. Loved and cherished by kids of all ages.
During the Nexus angle, it was nearly a demand among smarks everywhere that WWE should turn Cena heel. I’m glad they didn’t. It’s obvious that Cena enjoys playing a good guy. He might be a smart-aleck, he might be serious when push comes to shove, but he’s always a white hat. But he desperately needs a new coat of paint, as the whole stick he’s doing now has gone a bit stale.
At the same time we have a championship no-one takes seriously anymore: the Tag-team championship.
I just want to digress a bit: I think the new tag-team belts are nice! Sure they have a different, bronzier luster, but that just makes them stand out a bit. And the imagery is clever: Greek hoplite helmets! Why is that clever? Because the hoplites were the first army whose emphasized fighting in formation. In other words: Team work!
But nice belts are not worth anything unless the titles are seen as prestigious. Who to reinvigorate the Tag-team division? Easy solution: Let Cena go after the Tag team championships! He has held tag team championships in WWE 4 times before but always together with someone he was feuding with at the time. Let the Champ be here, but without the horrendous WWE championship belt. (Seriously WWE, it’s a broken pimped out spinner, it looks as useful as a smoke detector with a snooze button, it doesn’t look good on anyone, not even Cena! Get us some winged eagles and globes and gold again!)
Cena humiliated Wade Barrett at TLC, and Barrett left for Smackdown to lick his wounds. It is time to let him deal some payback now. Not the old staple of a hilarious beat downs together with the Corre, but just them doing subtle interference in Cena’s matches. Just enough to either make Cena quickly lose the WWE championship if he wins it at Wrestlemania, or to ensure he never gets his championship, if he loses at ‘Mania. (But for the love of the gods Creative: If you book The Miz as retaining at Mania, let he do it reasonably clean!)
After a few weeks of frustrating loses, it becomes clear that The Corre has made this personal, they are not after the champion, just Cena. At the same time, let the Corre emphasize the tag-team championship as an achievement they are proud of. They can cut a promo saying that as the Corre is a band of equals, with no leader, they should all be recognized as tag-team champions. Enter the “Freebird-rule” sanctioned by the mystery GM on Raw. (Who seems to outrank poor Teddy on Smackdown.)
Then, a week later have Cena cut a promo, serious-Cena this time, to the effect that he has come to realize that he obviously will not get any respite from this interference. He though he was done with this crap, but it seems he was mistaken, so now quite frankly, he will put the hammer down, teach the Corre a lesson and relive them of their most prized possesion. The gloves are down, this means full on WAR. Cue Cena putting on a new cap, one in olive drab with Armed forces in bold, stenciled letters.
Following RAW, The Corre is gloating in the ring, “It's sooo nice to be back on RAW again, yadayada..." In chimes the mystery GM to inform them that since they now are here they might as well have a match. But against who? Suddenly the Cena-theme blast out, but an instrumental version, and with a new Titantron-package. Enter Cena in khaki- rather than denim-shorts, and a olive drab T-shirt. He has Evan Bourne with him. Bourne in aviators and grey on grey ring gear. (Think low-visibility markings on a jetfighter.) While Cena's shirt has “Ground” stenciled on front, Evan's has “Air”. The announcer tells us that The Corre will be facing Armed Forces.
Naturally the Corre cheat their way out of this first match, but it's a start up of a feud that has long term potential. Armed Forces could change around the look of their costumes, but always keeping with the “ground forces / air forces” color sheme. I know WWE has a good working relationship with the National Guard and other parts of the US military, and I'm pretty sure they would be able to work out a deal. Having a drill corp at the entrance at a PPV for instance and so on.
Why would this be a good thing?
It would reinvigorate the tag-team scene, and help make the championship relevant again. It would build on the old Barrett/Cena feud. It has the potential of not growing stale, with the use of “freebirding” and different stipulations. It takes Cena off the WWE-championship discussions, and opens that up for new constellations, while still keeping him hot in a championship-feud.
While Evan Bourne is talented and popular, he's not really main event material on his own. Together with Cena though, he would be able to wow the fans with spectacular moves, as well as being a way round the old “SuperCena defeats anyone and never loses clean” problem in booking. This makes for more open matches without having to nerf Cena to much. And Cena could do most of the talking on their promos, as he's undoubtedly better on the mic. As the Tag-team championship is inter-promotional it would put Cena (as well as Barret & co) on both shows, without it being too obviously a ploy to boost ratings. And what about this for a dusty finisher: Gabriel hitting the 450° splash on Cena at the same time as Bourne hits the Air bourne on Barrett, with both the flyers as the legal man in? Double pinfall!
The important thing would be to brand Bourne/Cena as a coherent tag-team, not just “wrestler A + wrestler B”. It would make for new merchandise, which means good money. Cena would still be the kids favorite, and could talk about his "CeNational Guard" rather than "CeNation". He would still be a true face, but perhaps more palatable for more seasoned fans. And I think the gimmick would work well in WWEs public relations work, with the whole “supporting the troops” vibe.
Would WWE do something like this? No idea, but I think something like this is much “safer” or WWE than turning Cena heel. An angel like this would be a refreshing change without having to do to substantial changes is the participants current gimmicks, and its easily reversed when the storyline is over or it doesn't work as planned. If it is an success, they could keep the belts on Armed forces for a long time, having a steady stream of (permanent or ad-hoc) heel-teams trying to topple them.
Please feel free to comment, I like feed back! Would you like to see WWE use Cena to recharge the tag-team scene?