Why Cena VS Styles Is The Dream Match Of This Generation
Sometimes the stars align perfectly and seemingly impossible things occur to the delight of us wrestling fans. We all have our own fantasy dream matches pitting wrestlers who never wrestled before against each other. The reasons why they’ve never wrestled are numerous: different era, rival promotions, injuries, stupid booking decisions.
On the previous Money in the Bank pay per view, we were treated to a modern-day dream match. 2 wrestlers who’ve never crossed paths with each other finally locked holds in the squared circle. I am of course talking about the match between John Cena and AJ Styles.
Weeks before the match, promos and segments between the two heavily pushed the idea about how similar the two are. They were both born in 1977, they won their first title a year after debuting, and both became the face of their respective companies. Here’s probably the most interesting bit, probably because this was the crucial point where their careers became different: Styles was offered a WWE contract in 2002, but he declined it. It was also the same year Cena debuted on WWE.
Let me paint a scenario. These two superstars carried their respective companies on their backs for more than a decade. Their wrestling styles and persona couldn’t have been more different. One is a straight-laced baby-face powerhouse who demolishes his opponents with brute strength and a set of distinct moves. He has an enormous fan base mostly comprised of kids, which explains the massively strong sales of his wrestling merchandise. His catchphrases border on the corny side, and a lot of longtime wrestling fans credits his rise to stardom to the ruthless marketing powers of WWE.
His counterpart, on the other hand, took the alternate path. He rose to stardom in the lesser-known rival promotion and has toured widely around the world, wrestling in indies and foreign promotions. This does not mean that he’s not good. In fact, many wrestling fans who aren’t stuck to just WWE programming would say that he’s the better of the two wrestlers in terms of in-ring skills and wrestling acumen. He could work with any wrestler you pair him with and it’s guaranteed that he’ll make them look like a million bucks. Boring is the very last word you can use to describe him. He may not have the massive WWE marketing juggernaut behind his back, but he has the respect and admiration of any wrestling fan worth his salt.
If you read the scenario I described and you think that I’m talking about Cena and Styles, I’m afraid you fell for the serve. I was actually referring to the careers of the immortal Hulk Hogan and the legendary Ric Flair. Mind-boggling how uncanningly identical their careers mirror Cena and Styles, right? Just the idea of Hogan and Flair wrestling each other, pitting the very best that WWE and WCW had to offer, was the absolute dream more than two decades ago. And now we saw it happen again when Cena and Styles, the face of WWE and TNA, stood in the same ring. The crowd chanted themselves hoarse for a long time, and deservedly so.
Here’s some more trivia to think about. Cena is the kid-friendly babyface with the “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect” slogan. He’s never turned heel since he became a huge star, and it’s why a lot of fans boo him for being a stale character. He has the great distinction of having the most wishes granted through the Make A Wish foundation. The wrestler who’s in 2nd place? Why, it’s Mr. “Train, Say your prayers, and Eat your vitamins” Hulkster! During his stay with WWE, Cena has been a World Champion fifteen times, winning the WWE Championship/WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and the World Heavyweight Championship.
When the phenomenal AJ Styles was on TNA, he was part of the stable called Fortune mentored by Ric Flair. It’s supposed to be patterned after Flair’s famous stable the Four Horsemen. At one point, Flair declared that he was going to turn Styles into the next Nature Boy. If that’s not handpicking someone as your successor, I don’t know what is. While Cena was winning pretty much the same title over and over in WWE, Styles kept himself busy by capturing seven top titles in the other promotions: the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, the ROH Pure Championship, and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
I won’t spoil the ending of the match in Money in the Bank, but I can tell you that it was amazing, and it wasn’t enough. Luckily, a prolonged storyline has been planned and I feel that WWE will be squeezing out 2 more PPV matches out of the two. Fine by me! A rich natural history like this from two completely different wrestlers only comes once a decade, if we’re really lucky. This is something that bookers or creative writers can’t make on their own, and I do hope that WWE has the sense to continue treating this feud like the dream it deserves to be.
WillieChan is the introvert owner of Comicnewbies.com. He hopes that by committing to writing for others, he’d actually break his lazy routine and start writing regularly. He believes Cyclops was right, and has not played Rome: Total War since 2014 and counting.