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You know John Cena. You either like John Cena or dislike him but that’s OK because that’s your opinion and you’re well in your right to voice it. However, you have to admit one thing and it may even be a dirty thing to admit to your friends when discussing the 15-time World Champion. John Cena as a 2015 mid-card workhorse has been the greatest version of “I Dress Like An 8-Year-Old” Cena ever.

You’re going to ask, how exactly is that possible? He moved down to a secondary title, out of the main event, feuding with guys like Rusev and Bray Wyatt to an extent. He added a wonky ass springboard Stone Cold Stunner to his move set to set up the Attitude Adjustment. He still is the most over quasi-heel in the company just by merely existing, why is Cena as a mid-carder a good thing?

Because Cena getting German Suplexed straight to the middle of the pack has yielded great results for everyone who’s worked with him. The Internet has long joked that Cena as an idea is the largest embodiment of Vince McMahon’s ego upon the WWE fanbase. There’s no wonder he’s the company’s ‘Break In Case Of Emergency’ superstar when things aren’t necessarily going well. Brock Lesnar’s working spot dates? Have John Cena be involved with a feud with Randy Orton that’s sort of meaningless because they’re blood rivals forever. Daniel Bryan sadly can’t go in the ring again because of injury? Have Cena decide to hold an open challenge for a title belt that had its greatest heights three decades ago as part of the NWA every week.

The last three weeks of Cena and the US title has been absolutely glorious for fanboys alike. ALmost as if we were building to this moment when he was battling the Dean Ambroses and Stardusts of the world in the early going. He got stopped by Bret Hart in Montreal (!) to introduce the more human and easier to root for version of Cena in Sami Zayn. He and Zayn had a match, Zayn almost pulled off Cena’s greatest trope of “overcoming the odds” and damn near beat him. Then a week later, Cena gets challenged by Adrian Neville and the two have a fine match where Neville is busting out corkscrew moonsaults from the railing, springboard splashes and getting legit offense against THE FACE OF THE COMPANY. Cena left us with the lasting image that even he can be beaten by the Red Arrow if not for some pissed off Russian interference.

Then last night happened. And glory on high was it beautiful.

Kevin Owens is arguably the second best heel in the entire company behind Seth Rollins. Owens is the current NXT champion, a Canadian prize fighter who is also a jerk who knows when exactly to use set pieces in order to convey a point. Last night, it was his music that hit when Cena rolled out another U.S. Open Challenge. It was he who dictated the rules to Cena and not the other way around. It was he who broke Sami Zayn when the two faced the first time for the NXT Championship, not Cena. Cena of course attempted to retort with John Cena-isms but KO wasn’t having any of it.

Pop-up powerbomb. Stand ON the belt, show the face of the company, the man who runs the place who’s boss. It’s absolutely brilliant and pushes two stories at once. One, it shows that NXT is a place where continuity exists at every turn (Neville & Bo Dallas kicked off a feud on RAW because Neville beat Bo Dallas for the NXT Title and sent Bo to RAW in perpetuity). Two, it shows that the younger guys on the roster, the ones such as The New Day, Owens, Neville, Zayn, hell even Rollins and Ambrose are far more fleshed out characters with interests, motivations and common sense to the point where the WWE is starting to seep into a dangerous place — actual logical storylines.

There are some knocks to mid-card Cena, with him basically reliving his greatest hits against Rusev Sunday night in the forgettable, save for two matches Payback PPV. Exploding things? See his Iron Man Match with Randy Orton when Orton turned into a cartoon villain and tried to pryo him to death. Using the ring rope for an assisted finisher? Worked better with Umaga when blood still factored into storytelling. He’s even driven Lana, Rusev’s greatest actual asset away from him and his record in his two real long programs with Rusev & Wyatt? 5-2, with “let me not lose my eternal heat” finishes in the two losses.

Somehow, we knew mid-card Cena couldn’t live without going full Cena from time to time. It’s what we have to live with. Now we have to praise our insect overlords if Cena actually does what is best for business and lets Owens go over him at Elimination Chamber in two weeks.

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