John Cena will take on Brock Lesnar at Night of Champions on Sept. 21 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, in a rematch of their SummerSlam bout.
As WWE.com notes, Triple H made the official announcement on Tuesday’s Main Event.
Despite the success of the first meeting, WWE bookers face a significant problem with this rematch. Lesnar, of course, utterly destroyed Cena at SummerSlam in one of the most shocking and one-sided main events in company history. It wasn’t even remotely competitive—Cena barely got any offense in.
So where is the drama or intrigue for this second clash? Are potential pay-per-view or WWE Network buyers really going to be that keen to see the Beast Incarnate solidly crush his foe again?
But while this is a big obstacle for the writers, it’s not impossible to overcome. Indeed, there are a few things I can see WWE Creative doing to save the match.
For one thing, Cena could reveal to the WWE Universe that he went into the Staples Center at SummerSlam nursing a serious injury—something not too tough for people to buy given his history of neck problems and muscle tears.
This would give the 12 Rounds actor a perfectly valid reason for his poor performance. It would potentially garner interest in the PPV match, too. Cena could claim he’s now doing better and is ready to take the fight to Lesnar.
Alternatively, Cena could also blame his title loss at SummerSlam on having become too complacent and distracted in recent times—something that allowed Lesnar to gain the upper hand.
Ideally, WWE writers would then spend the next few weeks focusing on backstage segments in which the wrestler does some serious soul searching and attempts to find his motivation again. Perhaps a respected WWE legend—such as Steve Austin or Hulk Hogan—could show up and give him a tough but powerful pep talk?
The star could then inform us that he has now regained his drive and is aiming to get his WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt back at the PPV.
Basically, think of this storyline as a wrestling version of Rocky III, with Cena as Rocky Balboa and Lesnar as Clubber Lang. I’d personally like to see some cool Rocky-style training montages with Cena and Lesnar in the runup to the show, too—maybe without the cheesy '80s rock music, though.
Another option that would increase intrigue is to add a stipulation or a gimmick. A straight singles match between the pair probably doesn’t hold much appeal to fans. WWE could make it a Cage match or turn it into a Last Man Standing bout just to give it a little extra novelty.
It would also help convince people that Cena has a legitimate shot at winning. If he wants the ability to beat the frighteningly dominant Lesnar, he'll probably need the additional advantage of weapons.
There are actually quite a few things Vince McMahon and his team of writers can do to make the Night of Champions rematch an intriguing, strong PPV attraction. They just have to be willing to shake things up creatively somewhat—and perhaps add a stipulation or two.