John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules: The Forgotten Classic of 2012

Alfred KonuwaFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2012


The WWE is set to come out with another controversial, debate-mongering DVD as it prepares to release its Best Pay-Per-View Matches of 2012 DVD. 

The DVD got it right for the most part, with the compelling WrestleMania showdowns between John Cena and The Rock, as well as The Undertaker vs. Triple H making the cut. The instant classic from Night of Champions between John Cena and CM Punk was also featured. 

The one glaring snub in the WWE's mini-almanac of the year's best matches was a strong candidate for match of the year. 

Extreme Rules 2012 featured the return of Brock Lesnar, whose MMA background and booking brought in a lucrative element of reality and intrigue rarely seen in the WWE. 

Two weeks into his highly anticipated return, Lesnar would lacerate Cena during the opening segment of RAW in a wild brawl that quickly put the wheels in motion for a dream feud.

Lesnar also delivered a money, pre-taped promo that stayed true to his character of a selfish bully from the world of Mixed Martial Arts who only returned to the company he abandoned for a paycheck. 

The WWE even lifted a long-standing gag rule against the UFC to talk up Lesnar as a legit tough guy liable to put John Cena out of commission for good. 

From build-up to payoff, Cena vs. Lesnar felt real—unique. It was everything that Brawl for All wasn't. During Cena and Lesnar's brief feud, the WWE had finally taken advantage of the same concepts and nuances that the UFC borrowed en route to surpassing WWE on pay-per-view.

The motif continued into Extreme Rules, as Lesnar opened that match with a takedown and ground-and-pound attack that would legitimately bloody Cena. Lesnar was also opened up the hard way when Cena clocked him with a metal chain, as the rare use of blood added drama to a big-match environment.

Lesnar dominated the majority of the match. Receiving immense heat as a monster heel in what was sure to be a financially successful pay-per-view, the former UFC champion seemed well on his way to being worth every dime of the WWE's reported $5 million investment just one match into a limited-date contract. 

The match's only flaw, arguably, was its finish, which saw John Cena go over in Lesnar's first WWE match in almost a decade.

Win or loss, this match was far superior to the lackluster encounter Lesnar had with Triple H, which did make the DVD. Should there be a biggest snubs of 2012 DVD put out this year, Lesnar-Cena from Extreme Rules should make the cover.