Over the past 13 years, WWE has had one constant in their company, a guy that they could count on no matter what to lead them into the next chapter of their existence; that constant is John Cena. The 15 time WWE World Heavyweight Champion has appeared on 11 WrestleMania cards, wrestling every year since his WrestleMania debut in 2004. Why does any of this matter? Well Cena is missing his first Wrestlemania since becoming a mega star in the world of wrestling due to a shoulder injury, that has sidelined him since December.
The injury recovery, which required surgery to repair, was one of two periods of time that Cena had to miss time in the past six months; the first being personal vacation to film a reality television show. While the casual fan might not notice it, hardcore WWE fans must admit that the television product is actually worse without Cena.
Before you click out of this article, and read the “Top 12 Reasons John Cena Isn’t An All Time Great”, just think about Cena’s Summer series against Kevin Owens. In fact, think about Cena’s run as the United States Champion last year, where he was posting some of the best matches of his career. Most of the success that Cena had during that run was due to working with mid-card Superstars, or new fresh faces in the company.
The influx of new talent has certainly been kind to John Cena, and with even more stars being called up from NXT, there are endless opportunities for the leader of “Cenation” to hop right back into the scene in WWE. That’s why today we are going to be looking at the top 12 ideas for Cena when he comes back. As always leave your comments below, and share this with a friend to see if they have any different ideas than us.
12. Feud With Roman Reigns
Let’s knock the most predictable one out of the way first, Cena could just show up during the Reigns/Triple H match at WrestleMania 32. Truthfully this is the most WWE-esque choice of all listed here today, but it is completely possible considering their track record. Obviously Cena could cost Reigns the match, although since Cena can’t come back until July, this would only be planting the seeds.
This could build up to a “passing the torch” angle and set it up for WrestleMania 33 in Orlando. Cena could repeatedly sabotage Reigns’ matches, saying he’s not ready to let some other guy come in and take his spot. Then he puts Reigns over.
Hopefully this wouldn’t be reminiscent of when Ultimate Warrior was passed the torch from Hulk Hogan, only to have it thrown back at the Hulkster less than a year later.
11. Total Divas Storyline
It was recently revealed on Total Divas that Nikki Bella previously had a fling with Dolph Ziggler, prior to her relationship with John Cena. Bella and Cena’s status as a couple hasn’t even been acknowledged on WWE programming, but if it were, this would set up a great angle for Ziggler to receive a push to the main event.
Obviously the storyline would consist of the traditional love triangle angle that has been played out a dozen times before, but this time there would be an element of truth to it. For crying out loud, there is a show that is documenting two of the main players in this potential storyline, meaning all of that footage is fair game to use on Raw.
10. United States Championship…Again
Cena had a pretty good run right? Sure, he only held the United States Championship for five or so months, but man did it provide for some great matches. Cena proved that the Title isn’t what makes the guy, but rather it’s the Superstar that makes the Title. In his crusade in the mid-card, Cena was able to make guys like Zack Ryder, Stardust, Neville, Sami Zayn, and Cesaro look like Superstars.
Keep in mind that if Cena wasn’t holding the mid-card strap, none of these guys would have locked up with the face of the company. The thought of Cena holding the United States Title, or even the Intercontinental for that matter, would only benefit all of us in the long run.
9. Hosting The Global Cruiserweight Tournament
Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but wouldn’t it be cool if Cena used his new found hosting ability (Cena just filmed a reality show for Fox) to be the face of the upcoming Global Cruiserweight Tournament. The Tournament is only ten weeks long, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for him to host while recovering, and it also would associate good wrestling with his name.
Despite what people may think, Cena is a draw, and if his name is attached to something, it will pull in more viewers. Moreover, if the show is a success, it subconsciously makes viewers associate good things with Cena’s presence. This could in turn be worked into his character.
8. Plant the Seeds on post-WrestleMania RAW
The biggest Raw of the year needs some surprises, so WWE should probably drop their biggest star into the card somewhere – either in the beginning or the end of the show. Specifically it’s hard to say where he could fit in, as the WWE is usually shaken up after WrestleMania every year. Regardless of where he shows up, his return would receive an enormous pop, even if he comes out to just deliver a promo. He could direct that promo at one of the big winners at WrestleMania and plant the seeds for when he comes back.
7. Mr. Money In The Bank
A report was literally just put out by The Wrestling Observer that Cena may actually miss more time than expected, due to his shoulder injury. The publication is saying that the former World Champion may be out as long as July of this year, barely making it back for SummerSlam.
If Cena hasn’t proven that anything else, he has proven that he is a maniac when it comes to rehab for injury, with the Superstar consistently returning to the ring faster than predicted. With that being said, it isn’t unreasonable to think that Cena couldn’t make it back in time for Money in the Bank.
Somehow The Authority could fake everyone out by having Cena replace someone who was “attacked” before the match, putting Cena into a situation where he could jump right back into the main event picture. He doesn’t even have to win the match for this strategy to be effective.
6. Repackaged Look
Younger readers may not remember this, but in 2003 when The Rock returned as “Hollywood” Rock, it was awesome. Obviously Rocky was established at that point, but he returned as an entirely new character. The Rock was slimmer, more defined, had different attire, and most importantly he had a new entrance. When the helicopter spotlight, and the images of Los Angeles flashed on screen, no one knew who was coming out; that suspense built up excitement.
With that in mind, Cena could use this opportunity to freshen up his character a bit, and that doesn’t mean just changing the color of his shirt. WWE could really have Cena appeal to older fans by switching things up, and that doesn’t even mean he needs to go heel. Speaking of going heel…
5. Finally Turning Heel
For all intents and purposes, John Cena is the modern day Hulk Hogan – besides having a sex tape released, but that is a different article, for a different day. Both men dominated their respective decade(s) in main events, merchandise sold, and money made. An interesting fact that most people don’t think about, is that Hogan waited 19 years before turning heel in WCW in 1996; Cena is coming up on 18 years in the business as an active wrestler.
It seems that Cena’s time is now (no pun intended) to finally make the switch from good guy, to worst guy in the company. There is no denying that the last year has brought an added edge to WWE programming, and Cena could be the Superstar to tip the scales in favor of the TV-14 rating we all want back.
4. Cena Tag Team Run
When is the last time we saw Cena in a legitimate tag team? Bull Buchanon? Rodney Mack??? In either case, both of those guys were “heaters” or enforcers for Cena, helping the rookie win matches in his attempts to attain gold in his early WWE Days. Truthfully the 15 time World Champion has never been in a legitimate tag team in his career.
Two cool ways that WWE could capitalize on this would be to either have Cena join up with another Superstar to enter the tag team division, or have Cena win the Tag Team Titles alone. So before you revolt, think about this idea; if Cena wins alone, he could rotate his tag team partner from week to week, giving new Superstars a chance to shine. Imagine the Open Challenge idea, but with someone going over with Cena, instead of being squashed by him. Not a bad idea right?
3. Superman vs. Deadman
It was heavily rumored this year that the main event of WrestleMania 32 would be The Undertaker’s retirement match, leaving his legacy solidified in Dallas, Texas. Early reports indicated that John Cena was going to be the man to send Taker off into the sunset, but injuries got in the way of that. With that being said, Cena could interfere in The Undertaker’s match against Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 32, and cost The Deadman the victory.
This series of actions could set up another year long feud for Cena, sort of like he had with The Rock, except this time with The Undertaker. The stakes would be higher, as the final match between the two would take place at WrestleMania 33, and would be for Taker’s career. You guys can fantasy book the ending if you want.
2. Leader Of The Bullet Club
Way back in January of this year, we published an article called “Top 12 Ideas for the Rumored Balor Club/Bullet Club in WWE”, where we outlined a plethora of ways that the world famous group could enter the WWE. One of those ideas was to have John Cena revealed as the ultimate leader of the club.
Sure there are some logistical problems that we would have to figure out, but it could easily be Cena’s nWo moment. It could literally play out as if Cena were coming out for the first time in forever to save a fan favorite, only to drop the “FU” not the Attitude Adjustment to an unsuspecting Superstar. It could spark a new Attitude Era…
1. Face Of TNA vs. Face Of WWE
John Cena is definitely the face of the WWE, and it isn’t unreasonable to call AJ Styles the former face of TNA. In a lot of ways, a match up between these two megastars would be a dream match that wrestling fans have waited a decade to see. If it is booked the right way, it would allow the WWE to keep Cena out of the main event picture, while elevating Styles to a main event status. Additionally, Cena always raises his game when working with a new person, and Styles has the skills to make this feud an instant classic.