Is a Sensational McGregor v Cena Clash Really Wrestlemania Material?

When it comes to authorities on wrestling, few can be held in the same regard as Bill Goldberg. A wrestling colossus who once enjoyed a superlative unbeaten run in the ring, and dually reigned as US and World Champion, Goldberg recently stated that Brock Lesnar could easily be Conor McGregor’s next opponent. Yet, for some WWE fans, a booked ‘passing of the torch’ match with Lesnar would be an all-too-obvious way for McGregor to start his WWE career. Furthermore, it could easily descend into a UFC bout under the WWE brand. Some more creative thinking may ultimately be required, to ensure that any WWE future McGregor may have is a thorough success.

Classical ‘gangster’ persona has potential to entertain

With Brock Lesnar also apparently set to leave the WWE, there is most certainly a potential vacancy for someone who can revive the ‘MMA powerhouse’ gimmick. In previous years several WWE wrestlers, such as ‘Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase and Shane McMahon, have also been notable in their success for using money as the main element of their persona. With MMA fighters now earning exceptionally large purses, McGregor’s naturally exuberant personality could combine the two gimmicks effectively. Recently, McGregor has been named by Forbes as one of the top 25 highest earning athletes in the world, as he made $27 million from his UFC fights alone in 2017. As noted on this Betway blog post, McGregor already enjoys promoting himself on social media as a fashionable man with money to burn. In that respect, McGregor already has a head start if he is open to being a ‘heel’ or, at least, an antihero with distinct overtones of old-style gangster lifestyle. With McGregor being as marketable as he is, only an immediate feud with a WWE main carder can do his presence any justice. With all of this taken into account, John Cena is perhaps the ideal feuding opponent for McGregor. Identified by Bleacher Report as a man destined to remain a ‘babyface’ forever, he is the most obvious candidate to be the yin to McGregor’s yang.

 

 

McGregor’s WWE success reliant on well-scripted initial feud

Cena has always been the federation’s all-rounder. Though he started off as a more modern-style street gangster, Cena evolved into a USMC-style character (which was aided by the film MarineMarine), and this took his popularity to new highs. As such, pitting him against McGregor, who would no doubt be perceived as a usurper of the status quo, would represent a huge gamble for the WWE. If McGregor was booked to beat the now-aging Cena, it could see PPV ratings either explode or implode – there would be no in-between. Twenty years ago, as the WWE lost week on week to the WCW in the ratings war, Vince McMahon took a similar gamble, in allowing Stone Cold Steve Austin to beat Jake Roberts at King of the Ring in 1996. In a famous twist, as recorded by Cagematch, the brash Steve Austin beat a Jake Roberts recovering from a difficult time and on the road to a fairytale redemption, but it was a gamble that paid dividends. Subsequently, ‘Austin 3:16’ became a household brand, and the emergence of the ‘Rattlesnake’ coincided with a seismic shift in the ratings, which would ultimately end in the WCW’s extinction and the WWE’s supremacy.

 

This promo is seen my many WWE aficionados as the moment the franchise was saved.

Reigns feud a safe alternative

If the federation goes all out to market McGregor, but does not wish to make such a significant gamble, then alternative high-profile feud rivals for McGregor would include Roman Reigns and AJ Styles. While the latter is a similar all-American face in the mould of John Cena, and is considered by many to be the best wrestler in the entire roster, a scripted feud between McGregor and Reigns would almost certainly represent a safe option for the federation. Reigns has now featured exclusively on several PPV posters, and is arguably the entire brand’s number one representative. However, his entrances are often met with hostility from large sections of the crowd, even though he is not currently a heel. If McGregor was to successfully challenge Reigns for WWE supremacy, the worldwide audience that the franchise currently enjoys could be further expanded upon to great effect. Today, the WWE has no corporate rivals as it did two decades ago, and thus has no cause to be daring enough to try another ‘Austin 3:16’ stunt again. However, the shelf lives of wrestlers such as Cena and Styles could soon wear thin, once more paving the way for a brusque antihero to add the extra spice that once made the WWE an unstoppable force in sports entertainment. In that respect, Conor McGregor may want to heed the words of Goldberg – and sooner, rather than later.

 

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