Was there one specific moment where it was clear that John Cena became the face of WWE or did it just happen over time?
John Cena’s transition as the “face of WWE” began when he won the WWE title for the first time at Wrestlemania 21. At the time, Triple H was still the “face of the company” but it was this reign that began to establish John as “the guy.” Over the years Cena has taken the spot and ran with it. Leading the company in merchandise sales and popularity, it’s clear Cena is still in the prime of his career. I think some readers get confused when we say “face of WWE.” We aren’t saying that everyone likes him or that he’s the best wrestler, we’re saying he outdraws everyone else and is the clear “go to” guy.
What were your thoughts on the “I Quit” match between Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio at Extreme Rules?
Right off the bat I thought there was too much Mike Chioda, with him continuously asking Swagger and Del Rio if they quit. I didn’t like the false finish with the white towel and felt the instant replay gimmick was ridiculous. The work wasn’t bad in of itself but the bout was fairly forgettable. I popped for Swagger’s gutwrench powerbomb and do think he’s a better worker than he gets credit for.
Why didn’t Triple H put Curtis Axel over on WWE Raw? Can’t he just put one young worker over for a change?
Triple H “did the honors” at Extreme Rules and a loss on WWE Raw, albeit “not at 100%,” could have been damaging. The fact Hunter wanted to work with Curtis Axel in the Raw main event speaks volumes and in addition to putting the spotlight on Axel, it gave WWE an opportunity to further Hunter’s latest angle (update here). Axel has a lot of potential but it would be extremely risky for Hunter to come out, fresh off a job, and do another one to an unproven talent. I understand some are going to criticize Triple H and his ego and whatever but the fact of the matter is Hunter didn’t have to work him in the first place. I had no problem with the Raw main event and am optimistic about Axel going forward.
Do you see the pairing of Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel being bigger and better than the pairing of Bobby Heenan and Mr. Perfect?
It’s far too early to make any comparisons like that. While it’s important to give a new worker (and gimmick) a chance before tearing it apart, it’s also important to put the anointing oil away. Curtis Axel has a lot of potential and an extraordinary opportunity as a “Paul Heyman client,” however, we don’t want to put him in the Hall of Fame right out the gate just like we don’t want to dismiss the character. One of the reasons why it would be extremely risky to put Axel over Hunter is what if the gimmick flops? Patience is very important in this business.
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