There’s two audiences the WWE is trying to appeal to: The young kids and the teenagers. Sure, there’s longtime fans like me- but we tend to stay with the fed thick and thin. The WWE thrives as a business when they appeal to one or both of those audiences.
In the Hulkamania years they appealed to the 7 year olds. And it worked- until the 7 year olds grew into teenagers who thought that Hogan wasn’t cool, and they weren’t able to recapture his appeal with anyone else (Luger, Diesel)
In the “Attitude” era, the appealed to the teenagers. And they were incredibly hot for about five years. But then the teenagers grew out of wrestling- and since they hadn’t appealed to kids, they was no next generation of fans ready to watch them.
So since then, they’ve been trying to appeal to both. And in this John Cena was a boon. He was the uberface the kids could get behind- so the WWE could always rely on him, and concentrate on appealing to the teenagers with other cool faces (HHH, Orton. Punk). They had other faces that appealed to the kids- Undertaker, Rey Mysterio- but Cena was the absolute cornerstone.
((As an added bonus, Cena was so fun to hate for the teenagers that whoever Cena was facing would usually get face heat from the teenage crowd))
But now Cena’s nearing the end of his run. He’s been the face for a decade- twice as long as Hogan, Rock, or Austin. That’s incredible. But it’s ending- and while the WWE has people to fill the ‘cool face’ role to appeal to the teenagers, who is going to fill the role for the 7 year old fan?
They’ve tested out other guys to be that uberface- remember smiling Shaemus? But it hasn’t taken.
I’m suspecting that the reason Brock Lesnar is getting such a megapush is that they want to build the next kids uberface- and what better way to launch him than to beat the guy who broke the Undertaker’s Streak and damned near squashed John Cena?
Right now, they are looking at Roman Reigns for that role. And honestly? He’s probably their best bet. I don’t know if he can appeal to kids the way Hogan or Cena did- but I KNOW guys like Shaemus can’t fill that role. Reigns might be able to (notice the emphasis on the ‘Superman punch’? Tell me that’s not appealing to kids)
In retrospect, losing Daniel Bryan really hurts- because Bryan was the only guy who appealed to both sets of audiences equally. The kids loved him because of the “YES” chant, the beard, and that he was so small that he was the underdog. But he pulled off fantastic matches and had enough snark (“Mr. Small Package”) to appeal to teens.
But they have guys who can appeal to teens- Ambrose leads the pack right now. Ziggler might be able to do that. Hell- I still have hope for Cody Rhodes.
But they need that uberface for the kids- and I think the whole purpose of building up Lesnar is to sacrifice him for that next uberface to the kids.
And if I’m wrong and he loses the belt back to Cena- or to a part-timer like the Rock? Then it tells me the WWE doesn’t think they don’t have another uberface close to being ready.