The stage was set last night for one of the most epic showdowns in WWE history. WWE's Survivor Series PPV event was to be headlined by an all-star 5 vs 5 matchup, and as our colleague here at Bleeding Cool Gavin Sheehan put it, WWE was booking Survivor Series like it was going out of business. On one side, a team led by RAW general manager and Olympic hero Kurt Angle included Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, the Braun Strowman, and Triple H. On the Smackdown Live side, commissioner Shane McMahon led a team consisting of Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, Randy Orton, and the immortal John Cena.
On paper, the match looked perfect. But in practice, everything that could possibly go wrong did. And by everything that could possibly go wrong, we mean that John Cena showed the @#$% up in a neon green tee-shirt and jorts when everyone else was wearing the colors of their brand.
Things started out well, with the RAW team entering the Arena first, all garbed in some form of red tee-shirt.
Kurt Angle wore a RAW shirt over his all-American singlet:
Finn Balor donned a Raw shirt with his leather jacket and underpants ensemble, showing that he would do anything for team spirit, including covering up those abs:
Samoa Joe already incorporates red into his color scheme, but he still donned the Raw t-shirt.
Braun Strowman is an unstoppable monster who once survived a week living inside the back of a garbage truck, but he still had enough civility to wear a sleeveless Raw shirt to the ring.
Even Triple H was playing ball, wearing a red t-shirt, albeit one emblazoned with Triple H-specific emblems:
Then came SmackDown Live's turn. Shane McMahon and Randy Orton came out first, dutifully attired in Smackdown blue.
The Glorious One, Bobby Roode, wore his best blue sequined robe and, under that, a SmackDown Live t-shirt.
Shinsuke Nakamura ditched his signature Michael Jackson red for a shiny blue shirt:
And then came John Cena, who probably did get the memo, but just didn't give a crap, wearing his neon green outfit:
Once he got to the ring, Cena stripped off his offensively green shirt, once again breaking dress code with the rest of the match participants.
As an epic showdown occured in the ring, how could anyone concentrate on anything other than John Cena's flagrant disregard for social color norms?
Fans were presented with dream matchup after dream matchup, some never before seen and some harkening back to classic rivalries. We saw Randy Orton square off against Samoa Joe:
Finn Balor vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, prompting chants of NXT from the crowd, who were so confused by John Cena's attire that they forgot what show they were attending:
Triple H, one of WWE's few remaining Attitude Era stars, after sharing a Too Sweet with Finn Balor at the start of the match, faced off against both Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode:
Kurt Angle, who did time in TNA with Roode, also stepped in the ring with him to deliver a few German suplexes:
But things just weren't going well for SmackDown Live. Strowman eliminated both Nakamura and Roode:
How could Strowman take out two of Smackdown's hottest stars so quickly? Besides his enormous size, Strowman had another advantage. The SmackDown team, like everyone else, was distracted by John Cena's jorts and neon green armbands!
Samoa Joe did his best to purge the infection:
But to no avail:
This led to a showdown between Angle and Cena, two of the biggest stars of their generations and former rivals when Angle was on top of WWE and Cena was up and coming. Now, it's Angle, in the twilight of his career, facing off against the superman who ruled WWE for a decade. It was a historic moment, one of enormous gravity, but all anyone could see here was a grown man in jean shorts who thinks he's too damn important to wear a blue or red t-shirt like everyone else in the god damn match.
It took the might of two Angle Slams to to eliminate the inappropriately dressed Cena:
But the writing was already on the wall for SmackDown Live. Though Randy Orton did his best to make a dent in the opposition, taking out Finn Balor to even the odds (not counting Braun Strowman, who was unconscious on the floor after being suplexed through the announce table)…
But the chickens were coming home to roost for Shane McMahon. For months, McMahon had been having trouble with insubordinate employee Kevin Owens, and the locker room cancer was beginning to spread, with Sami Zayn rejoining his once and future enemy in flaunting company policies. The pair had recently been sent home from a WWE European tour in an effort to instill some discipline in them, but after seeing John Cena come to the ring for an event of such huge magnitude and blatantly show himself to be above the rules that everyone else in the ring, even the company COO Triple H, had to follow, was a breaking point for the pair, who came to the ring to attack McMahon.
McMahon, showing just how far into chaos his brand had descended following John Cena's dress code violation, repeatedly beat his employees with a steel chair until they left the arena. But while he was distracted, Braun Strowman eliminated Randy Orton.
It was time for Triple H to put Shane McMahon through a mandatory training course on treating all employees the same way to avoid a lawsuit:
Kurt Angle punished McMahon for his poor management skills:
But Triple H had had enough. If John Cena didn't have to wear a blue SmackDown Live t-shirt, why should Triple H, The Game, The Cerebral Assassin, be forced to deviate from his standard color scheme? Triple H filed a formal complaint with team captain Angle.
Bringing RAW the victory, not just for the match, but for the entire Survivor Series event.
But Strowman was displeased. Who was John Cena to wear whatever he wants while the Monster Among Men was forced to squeeze into a RAW brand t-shirt, and we all know that they don't come in size extra extra extra extra extra extra extra extra extra large. Strowman took out his frustrations on Triple H, husband of RAW commissioner Stephanie McMahon.
And in a gesture of disgust that epitomized the feelings of everyone who participated in the match, all of the fans in the arena, the wrestlers and crew backstage, and the fans watching at home, Strowman showed Triple H and the world what he thought of John Cena being above the law when it comes to color coordinated ring attire.
Some might argue that Cena's jorts are technically blue, and thus should have counted toward team spirit, but this is wrong for several important reasons, not the least of which is that nobody above the age of five should be wearing jorts outside of the 1990s. Cena's jorts were a different shade of blue than everyone else's, not the official SmackDown Live color. The SmackDown Live official color is not denim, and John Cena isn't fooling anybody. John Cena wore whatever he wanted because he's John Cena and he thinks he can do whatever he wants. In the long run, his choice of dress cost his team the victory, but ask yourself this question: if John Cena can't even be bothered to wear a matching t-shirt, does he really care whether his team wins or loses?
We would argue he does not, because the second he hit the ramp, preening in his neon green t-shirt and baseball cap (available now on WWE Shop dot com), he had already won… and everyone else had already lost.