January 14, 2006
Cena loses belt to save WWE face
By TJ MADIGAN- Calgary Sun
The champ is here.
So goes the catchphrase made famous by John Cena during his year-long run as the top dog in wrestling. But the time has finally come for the WWE marketing team to devise a new slogan for the 28-year-old.
Both Cena and Smackdown champ Dave Batista lost their belts this past week, after almost 10 months as champions of their respective WWE brands.
The Cena switch was a last-minute response to an increasingly negative crowd reaction, particularly from older male fans. The WWE writing team won't turn Cena heel because he's the biggest merchandise seller in the company, so the decision was made to have him drop the belt, hoping the audience will get behind him as the underdog challenger instead of the dominant champ.
Toronto-born grappler Edge (Adam Copeland) was chosen as the heir apparent, invoking the title shot he earned in a storyline at last year's Wrestlemania event.
After Cena won a violent Elimination Chamber match on pay-per-view last Sunday, Edge challenged him to an immediate title defence. Edge got the pin in less than two minutes, lifting his first WWE championship and shocking everyone.
On the same night, at an non-televised house show in New York, Smackdown world champ Batista tore his triceps during a match with Mark Henry. Batista, who was already working through a painful lat tear, underwent surgery Thursday and will likely be out of action for several months.
WWE bosses made the decision to hold up the title in a Battle Royal at the Smackdown taping Tuesday night, won by Kurt Angle. It is Angle's sixth world championship.
This leaves WWE with three months to completely overhaul the planned storylines and build momentum for the new champions in advance of Wrestlemania 22 in April.
SEX SELLS: Monday's episode of Raw -- which promised to deliver live in-ring sex between WWE champ Edge and his storyline girlfriend Lita (Amy Dumas) -- scored a huge 4.3 rating.
It was one of the highest-rated episodes of Raw in the past three years, with the sex segment itself attracting close to 6 million American viewers.
The racy finale saw the couple writhing under the sheets in a bed set up in the ring, until Ric Flair and Cena came out to break up the friskiness and start the fisticuffs.
OH BABY: The McMahon dynasty is safe for years to come. This week, Stephanie McMahon and Paul (Triple H) Levesque went public with the news they are expecting their first child.