AJ Styles and John Cena- Same storyline but done so differently
By Ben Woodburn (@WrestleReview1)
Some people may be asking what the hell I’m referring to here but trust me all will become clear over the course of this article. On a recent episode of Monday Night Raw a video package aired to promote the match between John Cena and the Rock at Wrestlemania XXIX, in it John Cena blamed many things on the Rock (Including, bizarrely his divorce). The general theme of the video was that John Cena had had a ‘terrible year’, however this statement severely lacks credibility and I’m surprised that the WWE tried to play the feud this way.
We all know that Rock vs. Cena II has been in the pipeline since last year’s Wrestlemania and the history between the two men since then is enough to build the match on alone. John Cena wants revenge and to prove to himself that he can beat the Rock, it’s the classic wrestling past meets wrestling future (a la Rock/Hogan). ‘Cena’s Retribution’ is not needed here in my opinion, especially seeing as he has had a better year than most of his fellow wrestlers, both Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler have been on losing streaks in the last year, Kofi Kingston and Cody Rhodes are continuing to be pushed into the mid card despite them arguably being good enough for at least a secondary title run. John Cena on the other hand has beaten Brock Lesnar (In a main event despite not being the WWE champion), beaten Big Show (In a PPV main event despite not being the WWE champion) won the Money in the Bank contract and won the Royal Rumble, that’s a pretty good year in my book.
Contrast that with the newly returned AJ Styles who really has had a shockingly bad year (and not by coincidence I feel) and clear differences start to show. Several losses to Daniels on PPV (including one loss to his own finishing move), the Clair Lynch saga, being frozen out of the Heavyweight title scene until Bound For Glory and generally not being able to get off the ground. AJs year has not been a total bust though he has held the Tag Team Titles with Kurt Angle don’t forget, but largely TNA has billed him as spiralling out of control. It is for this reason that if (as I hope and pray for) AJ Styles does win the World Heavyweight Championship against Bully Ray then it will mean a lot more than if Cena does the equivalent against The Rock. Hopefully AJ will join the Aces ‘N Eights and do a reverse Bully Ray, i.e. infiltrate and gain trust and power within the group and then turn out to be a plant all along leading to a confrontation at Bound For Glory. A fellow twitterphile (@WRESTLEZONEcom, he’s a cool dude follow him) has pointed out to me that a conceivable main event could well be a re-united Team 3D against a reluctant Beer Money representing TNA for control of the company. A good idea and would lead a incredibly good and greatly anticipated match (especially with TNAs new quarterly PPV schedule), but may involve either Bully Ray dropping the title or there being no Heavyweight Championship match at Bound For Glory neither of which I want to see happen (although he may and that’s his opinion which he is entitled to).
Theoretical bookings are all well and good but returning to the issue at hand both John Cena and AJ Styles are both being portrayed as having had terrible years, one a little more convincingly that the other. The payoff to both matches should be interesting to see, Rock vs. Cena doesn’t excite me anyway, it didn’t the first time and doesn’t now, but AJ, the golden boy of TNA never fails to have me on the edge of my seat and it’s for that reason that I’m pushing for him to win the title at Bound For Glory later on this year.
Just a quick word on the permanent enigma of wrestling Dolph Ziggler, WWE needs to sort him out and quickly, right now whilst the trio of Ziggler, AJ and Big E ‘Camel-Toe’ Langston work well together, the string of losses in recent months mean that if he does cash in at Wrestlemania then he will go into a title run looking weak, hardly ideal for a World Heavyweight Champion.