What did you think of John Cena vs Brock Lesnar, after the former UFC Champion’s triumphant return in 2012? Let us know in the comments after you’ve finished reading this article.
John Cena is one of the most famous WWE wrestlers of all time. He has a record-equally 16 World Championships to his name and has recently started to make a name for himself by starring in multiple big Hollywood movies.
However, his wrestling career is filled with times where he went into business for himself, and put down other wrestlers that should have been made by wrestling him, but instead came out of their matches looking worse and even moving out of the main event.
One of these men was Brock Lesnar. Lesnar returned to WWE in 2012 after John Cena lost to the Rock, and fans were excited. Lesnar was a legitimate tough guy and was a former WWE Champion. His return was surely a turning point for WWE, and there was no way he would lose his first match back, right?
John Cena vs Brock Lesnar
Extreme Rules 2012 took place on May 1st 2012. It was the first match for Brock Lesnar since his return to WWE weeks prior. He hadn’t wrestled for the company since Wrestlemania 20, where his disastrous match with Goldberg was booed out of the building. Since then he’d competed in Japan and became the UFC Heavyweight Champion. However, now he was back and gunning for John Cena.
John Cena had just lost in the main event of Wrestlemania 28 to none other than The Rock. The match had been built up for the past year, since The Rock interfered in the Wrestlemania 27 main event and cost Cena the match against The Miz. John Cena vs The Rock was built up for a year and was labelled as “Once in a lifetime”. The rematch took place a year later.
Whilst lamenting his defeat to The Rock on the Raw, after Wrestlemania, he was interrupted and attacked by Brock Lesnar, setting up this bout for Extreme Rules 2012. Brock Lesnar hadn’t been seen in WWE for 8 years, and fans were chanting his name even before he made his long awaited surprise return to WWE.
The match they had at the event was spectacular, aside from the finish. The match was fought under Extreme Rules, as the PPV name would imply, and involved weapons, blood and some brutal, violent imagery. John Cena vs Brock Lesnar was a match a decade in the making and could have been the way to catapult Lesnar into the main event scene immediately.
Cena beats Lesnar?
John Cena somehow, defying all booking logic, defeated the former UFC Heavyweight Champion in his first match back, but suffered greatly for his victory. He was beaten to a pulp, and the plan was for him to be carted to the back on a stretcher and not be seen for weeks on TV.
Of course John Cena vs Brock Lesnar should not have ended with The Beast’s shoulders on the mat and The Champ celebrating a hard-earned victory. Lesnar had just returned to WWE after a long absence, and wrestling 101 tells you that you don’t beat a monster in the first match. It completely kills the mystique and most monsters fail to ever get to that level. Luckily Brock Lesnar is a genetic freak and is not normal, and he went on to become even more of a monster.
If beating this legitimate fighter who also happened to be a monster in the ring wasn’t bad enough, Cena made it look like he’d barely taken any damage from the war he’d just been a part of. Whilst he had been beaten by chairs, stairs and Brock Lesnar’s own murderous hands, fans expected Cena to be wheeled out of the arena on a stretcher and struggling to walk.
Cena cuts his promo
After the match, John Cena celebrated in the ring before grabbing a microphone. With blood trickling down his face and with Brock Lesnar charging down the ramp, he spoke to the crowd. He waffles on about how great Chicago (where the event took place) was, and claimed he was “going away for a while” and he will be “taking a break”.
It all sounded very melancholy. Cena made reference that Vince McMahon would be angry and could fire him for cutting this promo. Like he was doing something wrong.
In fact, John Cena thought he had suffered a big injury during the match. In his head, he thought he would be out for a while due to a number of issues with his arm. It was broadcast live on pay-per-view, so was not just for the Chicago crowd in “CM Punk’s Town”, but for all the fans at home.
However, one day later John Cena appears on Raw. He had some muscle strains on his arm, but wore a sling to heal up and was completely fine. He didn’t miss any TV, and Michael Cole confirmed that he didn’t suffer any “structural” damage to his arm at all.
This kills Brock Lesnar. Not only did Lesnar lose to John Cena who had one arm, but he couldn’t even get the job done to put him out for mere weeks. His Kimura Lock, which he would later use to break the arms of Triple H and Shawn Michaels, was useless against the colourful hat man who yells hustle loyalty and respect aa people boo him. It was stupid and classic Cena burying someone coming to take his spot.
Did Brock Lesnar recover?
Of course Brock Lesnar recovered. He’s Brock Lesnar. He beat Triple H, CM Punk and even ended The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania 30. He became a monster again, physically dominating everyone that crosses his path.
That included John Cena. He would defeat John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Summerslam 2014, in one of the most shocking matches of all time. Lesnar destroyed Cena, slamming him with suplex after suplex without response from the champ. He became the WWE Champion, and held the Championship all the way through until Wrestlemania 31, where he lost the belt as Seth Rollins pinned Roman Reigns in a triple threat match.
Not even John Cena could bury Brock Lesnar, but he sure tried his best at Extreme Rules 2012. John Cena vs Brock Lesnar in Lesnar’s return could have been an all time great match, but was instead hamstrung by John Cena’s hotdogging and grandstanding.
Would you like to see another John Cena vs Brock Lesnar match? Let us know in the comments or click below to find out why John Cena never turned heel in the WWE.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.