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The Doomsday Effect

We’ve seen it before, time and time again. Somehow, and some way, John Cena is able to overcome the odds, as defiant as ever and defeat the bad guys for the sake of all that is righteous in the world. Let’s be perfectly honest, John Cena has been on top of WWE for nearly a decade, and we have witnessed his antics over and over again. It always ends the same way, the good guy always prevails. But what happens when another good guy decides to take the spotlight?

Daniel Bryan, the plucky underdog who has made his way to the top of the card, at the peak of his career at this point, taking on John Cena at the second largest PPV of the year, Summerslam. Anyone that would have thought this would be taking place in 2013 would have been declared certifiably insane. Daniel Bryan has been tearing up the wrestling world for years, both in the independents, and in Japan. I was one of the fortunate fans that was able to take in a match of his in person.

It was October, 2007. The place, The Cow Palace in San Francisco. It was three years earlier where I witnessed the ascension of Eddie Guerrero. A sold-out crowd of 15,000 plus fans filled the arena, clamoring for the rise of Eddie as he rolled by the ramp in his low-rider, ready to take the WWE Championship from one Brock Lesnar. I was seated right by the entrance ramp, and I can remember patting Eddie on the Back and cheering him on as he walked down the ramp, ready to take his place among the elite in WWE.

Flash forward to 2007, and there I was in the same place that Guerrero took WWE by storm. It was billed as Ring Of Honor’s Chaos At The Cow Palace. This was the poorly promoted wrestling convention that could not have an MMA event as scheduled on Friday night because the ring could not be constructed properly. This was the same event that had Lex Luger rushed to a nearby hospital, along with wrestlers complaining of not being paid for their appearances. Nevertheless, Ring Of Honor trudged on and delivered a fantastic show.

I was fortunate enough to have a friend purchase a front-row seat for myself. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch Ring of Honor live when they never travel further west than Ohio normally. In what I can only describe as hauntingly surreal an arena meant for 15,000 fans, only held perhaps 200 fans for this show. Despite the amount of fans (or lack thereof), Ring Of Honor put on a great show, and I can say I’ve never enjoyed myself more at a wrestling show from top to bottom than I have at this event.

What does this have to do with Daniel Bryan? He clearly stole the show in his match with Austin Aries (the first of a best of three series between the two) and put on a wrestling clinic the likes I had never witnessed in person. It’s one thing to purchase DVDs and watch them after the fact, but to witness his wrestling live, in person, it gave me a new appreciation for the art of professional wrestling. Daniel Bryan is, without question, the best technical wrestling on the entire planet. While that might not be everyone’s cup of tea, his charisma inside the squared circle has put him on a whole other level. Despite being the best, he is still the underdog.

Flash forward to today. Despite all of Daniel Bryan’s success in WWE, nothing comes close to what we as fans are prepared for this Sunday. We have witnessed John Cena on top for far too long and as fans have dubbed him SuperCena, it’s time Doomsday finally slayed Superman.

As much as John Cena, or WWE have attempted to make John Cena appear vulnerable, they have never followed through on their promises. How many times have we heard John Cena state, “This is the most important match of my career,” and actually felt like he meant it? How many times have fans heard him deliver the same promo over and over, where he starts explaining his feelings as he continues to raise his voice until the veins are popping out from the side of his neck?

What about when John Cena was supposed to be fired by the Nexus? What about when he was supposed to be fired by Vince McMahon? Cena has come through because he has fought against adversity time and time again. Sure, he has lost a pinfall a few times over the last year to guys like Punk (and Laurinitis), but what will it say when he taps out?

SuperCena will only lose his luster when he taps cleanly this Sunday. This is the only option for this match to end. Daniel Bryan could win via pinfall, but it won’t resonate the same way that a submission victory will. Cena has made plenty of wrestlers tap out to his STF, but since becoming a main-eventer how many times has Cena tapped? Far and few between if at all.

This is the only way that Cena can truly be defeated and the Doomsday Effect take place. Sure, John Cena can shrug off his pinfall victories, but there is absolutely no way he can live down the day that Daniel Bryan made him tap out in the middle of the squared circle. He can deliver his cheerful promos, his colorful speeches, and his glowing remarks about how he is all about hustle, loyalty, respect, but nobody will be able to take away the submission victory from Daniel Bryan, which is just as good as a title victory itself.

Tapping to a submission is admitting defeat. There is no way around it. Though not one to make excuses for himself, Cena will not be able to live down the day that he sat in the ring, looking up at the lights and seeing Daniel Bryan on the ring post, absorbing the cheers from the crowd as he vanquished Superman after a decade of frustration, lifted from the shoulders of fans. Picture the next night on Raw as John Cena appears to the chorus of, “You tapped out!” chants from the crowd.

The years of John Cena clogging up the main event will be forgotten, if only for a night, but the memories will last a lifetime. This match will be the equivalent of CM Punk’s pipe-bomb and be the bookmark on Daniel Bryan and when he truly ascended to the top, and rightfully so. Let us rejoice, in the fact that WWE has a grand opportunity in front of them to make a superstar before our eyes, and remember this as the point where Daniel Bryan went from being labeled as the vegan nerd, to the superstar who wouldn’t take no for answer.

Summerslam will be an important event, and despite the potential outcome after the match between Cena vs. Bryan, we have the opportunity to see something very special, something that doesn’t happen to often in WWE. Superman will perish before our eyes.
Long live the beard.