Yeah, you are right that before the Rock he wasn't coming of a huge loss, but he damn sure was talking about how that match was so important and that he couldn't afford to lose and yet he lost. But he didn't lost credibility. Actually, he did a very good promo afterwards which may have raised his like-ability to other people. They could've easily pushed this match a few months back so Cena could get a few wins back.
Who knows, Rock may be the biggest star, but Brock Lesnar is the biggest PPV draw in the world, and that is still WWE's main business. That certainly makes Brock a different kind of guy, maybe no icon in pro wrestling, but certainly a bigger star in the whole picture.
I never said they should stop making Cena a drawing card and push him down the card. I mean, why not have Orton or Sheamus or Punk or maybe another guy beat Lesnar clean to make him a star that is equal on the level of a guy like John Cena, a guy that transcends the pro wrestling world. Just like Austin and Rock in the Attitude Era. Why settle for 1 star if you can have 2 stars? And let's be honest. Did Cena really needed the win to elevate his star appeal? He'll probably be on this level for the rest of his wrestling career, which is pretty damn great.
Yes, CM Punk has no drawing power. TV audience declines almost everytime he is on TV, which is a shame, because I like the guy, but he doesn't click with the casual audience. Yes, he did top John Cena in merchandise sales last year, but for 1 month. CM Punk is in no way the kind of draw that John Cena is.
Actually WWE has way more PPV audience than UFC has, if you consider it on a worldwide basis. WWE is in almost every country, UFC not.
The fact that people regard UFC as a real sport is a factor, but without stars, the UFC is also nothing. Both WWE and UFC thrive on the creation of stars. When they have a lot of stars, they do great business, if not, business declines, which is the case for WWE for several years, while UFC also has steadily been declining in the last 2 years.
It's not really the fake vs real, but the number of stars, which should be easy for WWE since they can script the whole thing, UFC doesn't have that ability, yet they have more stars.
I remember reading a story about MNF that they wanted to go off Monday in the Attitude Era, because Raw was doing so great. Obviously the fake vs real wasn't a factor back then.