WWE: Has Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar Reached the John Cena vs. Randy Orton Level of Overexposure?

WWE announced after this week’s Friday Night SmackDown that Roman Reigns will defend his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against Brock Lesnar in a Last Man Standing Match at SummerSlam on July 30 in Nashville. The news wasn’t particularly well-received by online wrestling fans for a number of reasons, one of the biggest being how overexposed the matchup has been since the two first clashed at WrestleMania 31 in 2015. A particular comparison that started popping up on Twitter was putting this rivalry up against the John Cena vs. Randy Orton feud that utterly dominated WWE’s main event scene in the late 2000s. But does that comparison actually hold up? Let’s look at the numbers.

When comparing the history of the two rivalries, the most obvious difference is that Lesnar’s decade-long part-time schedule means his matches with Reigns haven’t been run into the ground at live events. A quick glance at the Cagematch database shows that Cena and Orton have shared the ring in some capacity 203 times in WWE but only 90 of those matches were televised. But since Lesnar rarely ever wrestles on free television, let’s just talk about pay-per-views.

In terms of one-on-one pay-per-view matches, Orton and Cena clashed 10 times from SummerSlam 2007 to Hell in a Cell 2014, with six of those matches taking place from 2007-09. Reigns & Lesnar’s match at SummerSlam will only be their sixth, and that’s without counting the WrestleMania 31 match since that ended as a triple threat thanks to Seth Rollins’ cash-in. And speaking of multi-man matches, Cena and Orton took part in 23 on pay-per-view along with four Royal Rumbles. Reigns/Lesnar’s total is currently up to 11, three of which were Rumble matches.

But it’s not just quantity that helps Cena/Orton tower over Reigns/Lesnar, it’s also historical significance. When the two shared the ring in any capacity on pay-per-view, a world championship changed hands a whopping nine times. That has only happened with Lesnar/Reigns four times and one of those was the 2016 Royal Rumble when Reigns had to put the WWE Championship on the line as the No. 1 entrant.

If there’s anything Reigns/Lesnar does have, it’s dominance over WWE’s two biggest shows. They’ve already shared the ring three times in the main event of WrestleMania (Orton & Cena only did that once and it was a triple threat with Triple H) and this year’s SummerSlam will mark the time “The Tribal Chief” and “The Beast” have been in the main event. Cena and Orton only did that twice.


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But it is fair to call Reigns vs. Lesnar this generation’s Cena vs. Orton? Now that you’ve seen all the data, what do you think? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments!