Thinking through all the Mania title matches, have you ever seen the babyface challenger come in this lukewarm for his 'moment'? I know Cena has split crowds, but he was way over when he wrestled JBL. And do you agree with Meltzer this week that the fans have given in on Bryan or could we see the backlash fire up again in a huge way as they head to San Francisco (where Bryan was Mr. Giants) and then Chicago for Extreme Rules?
I think the fans now know and have accepted Bryan's demotion at this point because obviously going against it went nowhere. Like the song says, when I fight authority, authority always wins. Even if the Reigns thing flops in May and they suddenly decide to go back to Bryan again, the time to pull the trigger was now and it'll be just as doomed to failure as Reigns was. I'd post the Meltzer piece here because it's seriously one of the best things he's written, but that of course would be bad. It's easily found, however. I think f4wonline.com even has a cheap signup special right now where you can get in for $3.99 instead of the usual $10.
Anyway, as to the first question, Cena wasn't splitting anything when he won the title, he was a monster babyface with pretty much 100% support. The split crowd thing didn't start until a couple of years into his title reign and it's become kind of a revisionist history that people didn't like him. I was fully on-board the Cena train when it happened, make no mistake. This year's show might be one of the weakest main events ever, aside from Shawn-Diesel in 95 (and really Big D was pretty lukewarm then) or Taker-Sid in 97. I really can't think of any babyface on this level of cooled off besides Nash, and especially not one where the attempt was being made to turn him into a tippy top guy. Maybe Lex Luger in 94? But even then there was intrigue about who would win.