wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: Why Did Cena Win The 16th Title Now?

February 10, 2017 | Posted by Mathew Sforcina
John Cena

Hey there, welcome to Ask 411 Wrestling, you’ll be playing the role of reader this week. My name is Mathew Sforcina, and I’ll be playing the role of writer. Hopefully this works out for the best.

So the WM card is slowly but surely falling into place now, for better or worse. But we’re not done with the Rumble, not yet, lots of fallout from it in the questions, so let’s get to it.

Got a question about the Rumble? Or about anything else? [email protected] is where you send it.



Check out my Drabble blog, 1/10 of a Picture! Back up and running, which is good.

Me On Twitter~!
WWE Turn Alerts on Twitter~~!!

Feedback Loop

Answering Questions Like Apter: I answered the questions about the Rumble like it was a shoot because, if you reread the question, it asked what the kayfabe justification for not acting in those ways was. Ergo, to answer the question, I had to give kayfabe answers. The shoot answer to all of them would be “Because it would make the Rumble boring(er)”, but that wasn’t what was asked.

The Trivia Crown

What am I? I was a Rumble, in which a title was on the line. I saw three entrants in a row share a name, sort of. My entrants also included three ECW Champions (two of one period, one of the other), 2 WCW Champions, and 7 WWE Champions. The guy who eliminated the most people didn’t win, but at least the guy who did win eliminated that guy. One of the first two men in was the first man out, thanks to the third man in. There was a return of someone not seen in the company in three years since another Rumble, as well as a return of someone not seen in the company in nearly ten years. A Rumble that’s the other one attached to a pair, I am what?

Parker has the answer, mostly. I’ll admit to forgetting about the other WWECW champs…

What am I? I was a Rumble, in which a title was on the line (Raven was Hardcore champion) I saw three entrants in a row share a name, sort of (The Honky Tonk Man, The Rock, The Goodfather) My entrants also included three ECW Champions (two of one period (Raven and Tazz) one of the other (Big Show? although Kane and Matt Hardy also held it), 2 WCW Champions (Farooq and Big Show) and 7 WWE Champions (Jeff Hardy, Kane, Rock, Bradshaw, Big Show, Undertaker, Steve Austin) The guy who eliminated the most people didn’t win but at least the guy who did win eliminated that guy (Kane had 11 eliminations but was eliminated by Steve Austin) One of the first two men in was the first man out, thanks to the third man in. (Bull Buchanan was eliminated by the Hardys) There was a return of someone not seen in the company in three years since another Rumble (Honky Tonk Man) as well as a return of someone not seen in the company in nearly ten years (Haku made his first appearance since the 1992 Rumble) A Rumble that’s the other one attached to a pair (Austin also won in 97 and 98) I am what? You are Royal Rumble 2001 (best ever IMO)

Who am I? I was involved in the above event. I’ve teamed with a strongman, a god, and a guy who isn’t a former teacher, although I can see the confusion. I once caused a referee to become a manager. I’ve done something only world champions have done, although I myself was never a world champion. I did the loaded injury gimmick, but in an unusual way. I’ve twice been a part of a team or group that was legally sketchy, and that’s without the race stuff. I am who?

Getting Down To All The Business

Michael has a whole bunch of questions, mostly about the Rumble.

I did tell you there would be some.

1. If the rumored plan is gonna be Bray vs Randy @ Wrestlemania for the WWE Title then why not have Bray win the Rumble? Orton doesn’t need the Rumble win and they could have easily built up Wyatt (better) as a legit contender in 2 months as opposed to just a few weeks at Elimination Chamber whereas Randy can be plugged in as champion at any given moment and people would buy into it…

Because that’s not the story they want to tell. They want Orton going forward as a face champ through the spring and such, it seems to me, and to do that, they want him to get the big win at WM. And as part of that, the idea is meant to be that Orton has to turn on Bray and then chase him. If he’s the champ, Bray would be chasing him, and that’s not how these things go. The point isn’t to build up Bray, the point is to position Orton as the main guy for SD who will be there all the time. So you give him the Rumble win, so he can then win the title at WM and pay off the obvious to all Randy Wyatt storyline.

Bray is a means to an end, Orton is the focus.

2. With AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, etc coming in as their previous names that they established….does that mean that we’re done with the era of terrible names out of the WWE moniker generator or is it them just giving a pass to specific guys that have proven to be a (somewhat) draw?

Like most things involving WWE, this comes down to Vince’s mood, coupled with plans evolving past the point they were intended to, plus specific people have specific spots.

For a while, Vince was dead set on owning all the names, which is something I can’t blame him for, even if it’s annoying. However, in 2015, WWE really wanted to sign Nakamura, Styles, Gallows and Anderson, to hurt New Japan because they were awesome talents to help them gain a footing in Japan. So in those cases, renaming them was deemed to be missing the point, although at the time I remember there being rumors of Vince and Hunter clashing about Nakamura’s name.

Whereas people on ‘Tier 2’ NXT contracts, which is the style of contract where you wrestle for both NXT as well as indie companies, those people would be severely impacted if they were forced to work under two names, since part of the point for them is to hurt indies WWE doesn’t like help NXT draw. Guys like Joe, DIY, Roode and such, they were originally meant to be under these contracts, and thus they used their own names, and then they ended up signing full deals and now WWE is stuck with them. This is the same with most of the Cruiserweights, as well as the UK guys as well.

But the plan isn’t dead, in fact I recall recently that WWE was going to move back into enforcing this more and more, with the Chris Hero reverting to Kassius Ohno an example of this. So no, the NXT Random Name Generator isn’t dead. It was just resting.

3. Royal Rumble 2017. How would you have booked it differently? (Using same entrants and their entry orders)

You seem to have an odd definition of ‘booking differently’, in that a good 75% of booking the Rumble is order entry. The main issue with the Rumble was a matter of pacing, and that is solved by spacing out the order entry of guys, moving big names further apart and such.

But under that strict specification, the best I can do is to not have the ring as full all the time. Keep everything up to say Ambrose the same, then have Strowman eliminated by everyone in the ring. Jericho then ends up getting eliminated by Ambrose, who is tossed by Miz immediately afterwards, Miz then playing things cagey as he avoids confrontation. Instead of a Diesel style run, the middle part instead plays almost like a gauntlet, as there’s a running 2-4 guys in the center of the ring battling it out in various combos, tossing a guy around the time of the next entrant, Corbin/Sheamus V Kofi/Big E, then that leads to Kofi V Rusev V Sheamus, then Sheamus and Cesaro battle it out before they team up to toss Bray quickly. Then it fills back up again in time for Brock to come in and toss everyone not named Miz, Orton, Sami or Ziggler, Brock tosses Enzo, Goldberg tosses Brock, Taker tosses Goldberg, Reigns then comes out, tosses Taker, eats a superkick into an RKO/Skull Crush into a Helluva Kick, he goes, Sami tosses Ziggler while Orton thinks he’s tosses Miz, but who doesn’t touch the floor thanks to Maryse managing to get something under him as he falls, Sami and Orton have a longish fight, Sami makes the comeback, tosses Orton, Sami’s going to WM and Miz pops up, tosses him, Miz wins, Miz/Cena at WM for the title.

Fully rebooking the Rumble is mostly that anyway, just more even spread to the match.

4. What is up with The Rock’s boots? Since day one he’s always had the calf region exposed and I’ve never seen any other wrestler sport anything similar. Was it custom made? Or something he called dibs on in terms of style so no one else sported a pair in respect? I mean why not wear shorter boots if it was a comfort issue….

I know a wrestler down here, Concrete Davidson, his boots have sections cut out of the back of them, not exactly the same, but it’s something. In his case it’s mainly a comfort thing, plus he’s had an ankle injury at one point and they might help with that, perhaps.

The Rock’s open calves boots aren’t unique to him as such but they are indeed quite rare. I’ve read that they were in tribute to the previous generations of Samoan wrestlers, but I’m not sure about that, especially as if that was the reason, he’d have said so at some point, surely.

Thus, I think it’s more for the comfort thing, his legs were quite large but he still wanted the look of long wrestling boots, so he had them custom made, I suppose. He’s never addressed it on Twitter or anything, so your guess is technically as good as mine.

5. Reigns might be in a feud with Taker for WM. Bray might defend his title against Orton at WM. Where does that leave Cena? To fight AJ Styles again?

The current plan for Cena at WM, supposedly, is for Cena/Nikki V Miz/Maryse, with it being Nikki’s last match due to her neck still being problematic, if rumors are to be believed, with the match followed by a marriage proposal if the Total Bellas fans are to get their wish. Which is something. AJ is set to take on Shane McMahon, which is also something.

Continuing on the Rumble theme, John has a couple of theorems to discuss.

1. Several people on the site brought up a Royal Rumble ending that has never been tried; the “#30 comes out to en empty ring” scenario. I think this might be too anti-climactic for the fans in the arena, but I also think it could be a good way to introduce a hot new act to the company. Maybe whoever is the next “big thing” in NXT or something. It might be putting a lot of faith in a newcomer, but hey, it’s never been done. Thoughts?

I really don’t think that’s how you should intro a hot new talent. Someday someone from NXT is going to win the Rumble, sooner rather than later given that they have two titles again and don’t have to have a killer title match on top, they can have two matches with one positioned higher than the other. But for that to work, they gotta come in and show their stuff off the bat, they have to win the match properly to try and maximise their overness in one shot.

No, the #30 to an empty ring thing has to be for someone already established as an absolute bastard, a slimy heel who doesn’t deserve the win, doesn’t deserve a title shot, and is now poised to steal a world title by sheer dumb luck. The #30 empty ring is for a Miz or a Roode, someone who is an out and out heel and who is not exciting, not popular, someone who can egg on and receive thunderous boos.

Or a major, major underdog. I could see someone like Ryder or something, maybe, getting over on the OMG moment, but it’s more a heel thing to do.

But hey, Jimmy Jacobs won the Come As You Are Rumble at Shimmer 1 that way, so maybe he can pitch it one year.

2. How about a Rumble with a twist rule…once you’re down to two people, it becomes a regular match? The goal is no longer to toss your opponent over the ropes, but pin him or make him submit. Would this upset “Rumble traditionalists” too much?

WWE won’t do that because that’s Impact Wrestling’s thing. Impact has their ’Gauntlet For The Gold’ match, which is a Rumble until the last two, then it’s a regular match. WWE might take Impact’s stars, and the occasional wrestler’s gimmick, and maybe some match types, but they are not a communist!


I don’t mind it as a concept, but the Rumble is the Rumble, that’s a different match. Keep them different.

Moving out from the Rumble match and into the show as a whole, with Daniel.

I just wanted to ask John Cena beating AJ Styles as this years Royal Rumble. It seems Cena will be losing the title at Elimination chamber. Therefore, if Cena was dropping it anyway and start new feud off this, if Cena v Orton was never going to happen (and WWE knew no one wanted to see it), if Cena v Taker in title v career match isn’t going to happen, ; and if they didn’t want to make a big deal of Cena tying with Flair, then why did he win?? Couldn’t AJ lose in the Chamber and someone cost Cena title in it and we get the same outcomes?? Seems like a bit of waste and slightly undermines AJ win at SummerSlam. Was it simply Cena getting his win back?? Doesn’t really do anyone any favours?

The originally were going to make a deal of Cena’s win, Flair was in the building and everything, the original plan was for him to come out and celebrate with Cena and such, but they nixed it on the day and just did some backstage stuff. Possibly for time constraints, or perhaps they decided to instead wait for Cena to ‘break’ Flair’s record instead.

Because that’s the plan, Cena’s destined to beat Flair’s number, because WWE doesn’t have a record they don’t want to break right now. And to get to 17, Cena has to get to 16 first.

Plus WWE doesn’t tend to like switching titles between heels, because that leads to a position where heels should logically fight each other, in that if Wyatt does beat Styles in the Chamber, wouldn’t Styles want a rematch for his title? And while you could argue that you could have Shane not give him one for reasons and that builds to AJ/Shane, it’s still weak. And Styles/Wyatt would be a heat death match. And speaking of heat, the heat of Cena saying “Miz! You cost me a shot at the WWE title!” is less than Cena saying “Miz! You cost me the WWE title!”

That said, I get where you’re coming from, I can see the argument, and given the run he’s had, Styles holding the title for a little longer would not be a bad thing, by any stretch of the imagination. But him losing the title one year after his debut, to Best Possible Cena right now, that makes sense for the story of the match, and it plays into building WM, so it’s a valid booking choice.

Which is a sort of cop out, sure, but at the end of the day, a lot of these sorts of questions boil down to that. There’s more than one way to book wrestling, more than one way to get to the same result. You may think one path is better, WWE thinks another one is optimal, that’s just how it is. Not a fault on either side, usually…

Yohannes asks about a blackmail that went nowhere.

I had a question about Jackie Gayda in TNA. I remembered she went to TNA and immediately went into some kind of “blackmail” storyline with Jeff Jarrett. She threatened Jeff Jarrett with something, but end up getting blackmailed herself, and eventually fired.

My question is, what exactly is the thing that Jackie Gayda use to blackmail Jeff Jarrett ? Also, why did she ended up getting blackmailed herself ?? And is there any planned outcome for all of this storyline ? Because I don’t remember she’s having any match while in TNA. Just doing this baffling storyline without any outcome whatsoever and then just gone.

Oh geez, Claire Lynch 0.8 Beta.

OK, so, Jackie debuts in TNA in late 2005, lashing out at Jeff Jarrett, and his valet, Gail Kim. Eventually she gets an interview, where she reveals that Jarrett promised her a spot, but now Gail is in it, and that she knows something about Jeff that TNA Management would like to know.

Then, after a brief run in with Raven where she tried to get him on her side since they were both being screwed by Management, and a brief window where she gave Gail an audio tape of something, Jarrett then hired Alex Shelly, in the middle of his video bug phase, to get incriminating video of Jackie. He did so, Jackie then admitted defeat, went to leave, but then Jarrett used the blackmail to force her to join his Planet Jarrett stable, which she did for a brief time, until she announced she was pregnant and was then fired by both the Planet and TNA as a whole.

So, what happened here? Beyond the obvious answer of ‘a confusing mess’.

Supposedly, she mentions where it was going in this podcast, but right around the time I found it, my internet starting acting up and thus I was unable to properly listen to it. Maybe someone in the comments with more time and a non-Australian internet connection can cycle through it and find the data.

So readers? What’s the deal here? I wasn’t able to find anything other than people bitching about the storyline, but I only presume answers lay in that video…

Stromi takes us from a bad storyline to a good one.

Great column as always! Quick question: We all know that Magnum T.A. and Tully Blanchard had a tremendous feud that culminated at Starrcade in their I Quit match. My question is, was there ever a storyline reason why they hated each other SO much, other than the friend of Dusty vs. member of the Horsemen reason?

Because they were both men’s men’s men!

There was a reason, but I warn you, it’s gonna sound silly to modern ears.

Tully cheated to take Magnum’s title from him. That’s it, really.

Magnum was US champion, and defended the title against Tully Blanchard in a steel cage match on July 21, 1985. At a crucial moment, Tully’s valet, Baby Doll, snuck to ringside dressed as a security guard, and slipped Tully a roll of quarters. Tully socked Magnum with said quarters, Magnum was knocked out, and Tully won the title.

The two then proceeded to wrestle each other almost every night up until the night they finally had another cage match, this one an I Quit match, Starrcade, November 28, 1985. You may have heard of it.

There wasn’t any childhood fires or anything, just that Tully was an absolute bastard who stole Magnum’s possession, and he’d move heaven and hell to get it back, and finally did so. That’s all you need in wrestling, two people who hate each other, something on the line, and a place to settle it.

Speaking of WCW and titles, Connor has two questions on that theme.

Is Great American Bash 1991 the worst wrestling event of all time? I’ve seen a lot of bad events over the years including the likes of Wrestlemania 9, Uncensored 1995, Uncensored 1996, King of the Ring 1995, King of the Ring 1999 and Heroes of Wrestling to name a few but Bash 91 tops my list, absolutely no redeeming features at all

I dunno, Brad Armstrong carrying a six man tag all by himself is something, isn’t it?

It’s obvious a strong contender, but I personally think that if you’re going to give an event the Worst Ever thing, it either has to have something really, REALLY bad happen at it (like, say, Over The Edge 99) or have no historical significance at all (like, say, Heroes of Wrestling). It’s not enough just to have bad wrestling, there’s dozens of indie shows that have horrible wrestling, and not just those that I wrestle on!

Wait, did I just insult all the other wrestlers I wrestle with? Crap…

Anyway, if you want to give Bash 91 points for being the focal point of the “Herd let Flair go” aspect, by all means, it’s perfectly defendable as a Worst Show Ever, but I still think Heroes was worse. But again, personal preference…

Another question you’ve probably been asked before about the big gold belt and international title being separate in 1993, is it because the NWA split from WCW?

Well yes, but the Big Gold Belt WAS the International title.

OK, so Big Gold was commissioned in 1986, and when it debuted it represented the NWA World Heavyweight Title. This continued until 1991, when WCW began to have the WCW World Heavyweight Title as a thing, which just so happened to be combined with the NWA World Heavyweight Title, and so Big Gold represented both, except for the brief two month period where Tatsumi Fujinami was NWA World Champion but not WCW World Champion.

And then Flair leaves WCW, and takes the belt with him, Big Gold appearing on WWF TV, and all hell breaking loose.

Lawsuits start a’flying, and eventually the NWA/WCW/Not Vince gets Big Gold back, with the new title belt they had made while Big Gold was gone representing the WCW World Title, and Big Gold representing the NWA World Title.

OK, fair enough, they have two world titles for a bit, all good, and then the NWA pulls out from WCW. OK, so just ditch the title, right? Well, problem there, is that WCW had several months of TV filmed with people fighting and feuding over the Big Gold Belt. After a brief period of time when they just said it was the Big Gold Belt, they came up with the WCW International World Heavyweight Title as a concept, with that being Big Gold, up until they unified the two titles, with Big Gold once again becoming the WCW World Title because it’s Big Gold.

So yes, it was the NWA pulling out, but also because of WCW’s taping schedule.

Speaking of Big Gold, Brendan asks about the original planning.

I was reflecting on my first WWF event which was a house show 1992 where the main event was Hogan Vs. Flair. This was one of the house shows that apparently did not draw well or generate enough excitement to have the two face each other at WM 8 (as an 8 year old Hulk-a-Maniac, I would have vehemently disagreed). I was looking at the booking from that time and was wondering, what was their initial booking plan from Flair’s debut to WM8? At what point did Vince decide to scarp the Hogan Vs. Flair main event and how did that (if at all) change their original booking plan?

Actually, Hogan/Flair at WM wasn’t the original plan, at least, in terms of timing. And initial booking plans depended on something that very quickly became impossible to use, namely Big Gold.

When Sid jumped from WCW to the WWF, part of the pitch was that he’d get a WM main event against Hogan. There were other factors, but in March/April of 91, Sid was being promised the main event of WM the following year. And that makes sense, certainly Sid looks the part of Big Monster Heel, that would be an obvious Hogan-centric main event. So Sid agrees and jumps ship.

And then Flair quits WCW.

At this point, Flair/Hogan obviously springs to mind as the ‘new’ WM main event. But that plan requires full usage of Big Gold, as well as Flair getting over with the fans as the Outsider.

So, if those both happen, then presumably what happens is Flair feuds with Piper for a few months and beats him strong at Survivor Series, perhaps, and then Hogan keeps the WWF title, and it builds, maybe Flair wins the Rumble for bragging rights, and then eventually Hogan beats Flair in the main event of WM to vanquish the ‘false’ champion and we get the sight of Hogan with the WWF and Big Gold at the same time in a WM right.


But then the lawsuits start flying and Big Gold gets more and more removed, and, more importantly, Flair doesn’t get over as the Outsider, mostly because he was presented as just another WWF guy, just a WWF guy with a funny belt and a grandiose claim. That’s why the house shows didn’t draw. So given that Flair lost Big Gold, they decided to just give him the actual title, but by the time he won that at the Rumble, Hogan/Sid was already locked back in, given that the ending of the Rumble makes no sense otherwise.

But it worked out fairly well, in the end. But yeah, Hogan/Flair is one of those things that could very well have happened, but everything conspired against it to happen in WWF. WCW would be the ones to get it done, for better or worse.

The plan we got for WM, actually kinda was the original plan. It got altered when Flair became available, and then changed back once Flair was misused.

And at this point, my internet is well and truly messing up, so I bid you good day, and we’ll be back next week, hopefully with a better internet connection…