John Cena has recently proclaimed himself as 'The Face that Runs the Place' after almost 15 years at the helm of WWE.
Cena made his debut on an episode of SmackDown back ion 2002 in what was a gutsy appearance as he stepped up to Kurt Angle in an open challenge. Cena has since become the biggest star of the company's PG Era and has recently been likened to The Rock and Hulk Hogan in the 1980s and '90s.
Much like The Rock, Cena has begun to dip his toes into acting during his time away from WWE and has more recently begun filming a reality TV series as well as being offered more presenting work.
Cena has recently talked about becoming a part-time Superstar and pursuing avenues outside of WWE for the first time in more than a decade. After becoming a 15-time World Champion it seems that the only thing Cena has left to achieve is to equal Ric Flair's record and become a 16-time World Champion.
Many people have questioned whether or not Cena deserves to equal the record, but given the fact that this could all happen in the coming months when Cena returns to the company at Survivor Series, it would be interesting to see if this was Cena's last feud.
There are many candidates who could step up for Cena's last match, many who are already established, and many who deserve the accreditation that a victory over Cena would bring them.
The following is a list of 15 of the biggest stars that could step up to finally retire the legend that is John Cena.
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15 Randy Orton
John Cena and Randy Orton are the two biggest faces of the PG Era. Both men have collided in a WWE ring more times than any two other Superstars in the history of the company and have managed to stay on top throughout.
Both men have stepped off the pedal more recently and have instead taken their place on the mid-card as a way of helping other stars become much bigger before they leave. Given the history the duo have made together, it would be a fantastic way for both Cena and Orton to bow out if they decided to have a farewell match together. Much like when Trish Stratus took on Lita back in 2006, it would be an emotional and compelling match between the two good friends and bitter enemies.
14 Bray Wyatt
The patriarch of The Wyatt Family has failed to become the Superstar WWE we were hoping he would. He and John Cena had some fantastic matches at the beginning of 2014 and even had a standout match at WrestleMania XXX, which John Cena would win despite support for Bray Wyatt.
That match was supposed to be Wyatt's arrival on WWE's radar but instead, WWE refused to push him as much as they could have and decided to allow him to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania 31 the following year. This loss hit Bray hard and even though he still calls himself 'The New Face of Fear' none of the WWE Universe believe it. For Wyatt, a win over John Cena in his final match could be a way for Bray to pull back some of the prestige that he deserves, and it could push his career forward.
13 Big Cass
At some point, WWE wants to push Big Cass away from Enzo Amore so that he can become one of the breakout stars in WWE in the coming years. This means that they need to begin planting the seeds as soon as possible and recent rumours seem to point towards a big match for the main roster new-comer.
WWE look likely to set up Big Cass vs. Brock Lesnar at some point down the line but John Cena could easily be on his radar first. Cass could go into a match with The Beast Incarnate feeling much more confident if he has already defeated John Cena in his final match. Cass has an incredibly bright future and if WWE played it correctly he could become one of their biggest stars.
12 Brock Lesnar
The Beast Incarnate and John Cena have a storied history. The last time they collided Cena hardly walked away after an incredible 16 German Suplex' were delivered from The Beast. Lesnar also took away Cena's WWE World Heavyweight Championship in that match at SummerSlam in 2014, a match that was brutally entertaining.
It took Cena a long time to recover from the beating and it would easily be believable if Cena faced Lesnar once again, but this time he was unable to get back up and continue. Lesnar could defeat Cena once again, but this time the 15-time World Champion could put his career on the line. Given that Cena hasn't been able to beat Brock recently, when he fails once again, he can walk away from WWE and Lesnar will continue his campaign of carnage.
11 Kurt Angle
The former WWE Superstar has made a name for himself in TNA since he departed from the company almost a decade ago and is now looking forward to his own retirement. And as many wrestling fans would agree, Kurt Angle's final wrestling match needs to take place inside of a WWE ring.
Angle was one of the best technical wrestlers to ever set foot in WWE and given that Cena made his debut against 'The Wrestling Machine' back in 2002, it would be almost poetic if the company allowed Kurt Angle to return for a final match with Cena next year. It would probably be Angle's last wrestling match as well and it would be incredible for both men to be given the opportunity to wrestle in their final matches against each other.
10 Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe has become a huge name in wrestling all over the world and since he has joined WWE he has ensured that his stranglehold on the world of wrestling has continued. Joe has already held the NXT Championship in his short time with the company and has already had many stand-out matches.
WWE are just waiting for the opportunity to bring Samoa Joe up to the main roster and a storyline with Cena could be the perfect reason. Kevin Owens' career on the main roster was given a huge boost when he defeated Cena in his first match and Joe could easily be given the same chance. If Joe's first match on the main roster happens to be Cena's last, this could launch Joe into WWE Superstardom.
9 Shinsuke Nakamura
The Japanese sensation has already proved that he is going to be one to watch in the coming months. Nakamura became NXT Champion at NXT: TakeOver Back to Brooklyn and looks set to be the leader of the NXT brand for the next few months.
That being said, WWE needs to find a reason to bring Nakamura up to the main roster and instead of allowing Cena to be retired by a star who is established, this could be an exciting way for Nakamura to make an impact. Cena has spent the last few years attempting to put over up-and-coming stars and his bow out could be the perfect time for him to put over a star who could be just as big as him some day. Nakamura going over on Cena in his retirement match would be a huge step for Nakamura.
8 Triple H
The King of Kings himself Triple H has also had a fair few run-ins with John Cena. One of which saw Cena defend the WWE Championship against the Cerebral Assassin at WrestleMania 22, when Cena would force The Game to tap-out in what is considered to be Cena's "arrival" match.
The Authority also faced Team Cena at Survivor Series in 2014, a match which allowed Cena to retain his job in WWE after his team won. There is a lot of hatred between Triple H and John Cena that WWE haven't completely explored and a final match between the duo would definitely be a headliner. Of course, it is more likely that John Cena would retire The Game, but in WWE, anything could happen and watching Triple H retire Cena would please a lot of people.
7 The Rock
Honestly, there isn't a single person within the WWE Universe that would want to see 'Thrice in a Lifetime,' but if The Rock was available then WWE would definitely allow this match to go ahead. And why not? Fans would tune in anyway simply due to the nature of the match and the names involved.
The Rock and Cena competed in the main event of two consecutive WrestleMania events and had two highly impressive matches. This feud was then apparently put to an end earlier this year when Cena returned at WrestleMania to help The Rock fight off The Wyatt Family. The duo could easily pick up where they left off three years ago with the face of the Attitude Era taking out the face of the PG Era, and everybody already knows that Vince would definitely love the idea.
6 Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho has become a delight to watch in WWE over the past few years and since his heel turn on AJ Styles, Y2J has only got more and more exciting to watch. Jericho consistently reinvents his character in order to keep things fresh and to keep himself relevant with the WWE Universe.
Jericho and Cena have had a storied history over the past few years but as much as the WWE Universe would love Jericho to continue the run he is currently on, it is highly unlikely that Jericho will stay with the company heading into 2017. Jericho often leaves WWE to tour with Fozzy each year and it seems that his time away would mean that a feud with Cena would be short lived. Of course, that one final, epic match down the road where Jericho retires Cena would be fantastic.
5 Roman Reigns
The Big Dog needs something to get his teeth into. After his suspension in the build up to Battleground, Reigns has continued to fail when it comes to being over with the WWE Universe. This is likely not to change anytime soon, especially with WWE continuing to push Reigns as a babyface.
The fans have the same kind of love/hate relationship with John Cena and if Roman was the one to finally retire Cena for good then the fans could potentially begin to support the former Shield member. Right now, Roman has been forced back into the mid-card in an attempt to allow him to climb from the bottom all over again, but this scenario seems much more adaptable for Reigns.
4 Kevin Owens
The former Intercontinental Champion and current Universal Champion was given an incredible debut match back in 2015 when he defeated John Cena and began what was an epic feud between the two Superstars. Owen proved that he had what it takes to match Cena in the ring and on the mic and has since gone on to much bigger things in WWE.
Owens and Cena are currently on two different brands but if Cena decided to have his final match on one of WWE's mixed brand shows then Owens could easily step up. He is cocky enough to take on the match and has already proved that he has what it takes to win against Cena. It would be an interesting match-up that would show just how far Owens has progressed in the past few years while solidifying Owens as the new top star of WWE.
3 Seth Rollins
The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion has become one of the cockiest stars of the current era. Cena and Rollins had many run-ins when he was a member of The Shield and this animosity has only continued since his rise to the top on his own.
Rollins sensationally broke Cena's nose in mid-2015 and also took the United States Championship from him at SummerSlam to make history by being the first person to hold the WWE and U.S. Championship at the same time. While Cena won the title back at the first opportunity, it seems that Rollins could gain a lot by being the person to retire John Cena. It would push his cocky character forward a lot further and the duo would definitely put on one hell of a match!
2 Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan had to be included in this list after recent rumours suggested that the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion could actually be cleared to wrestle with WWE again. While these are currently just rumours, it would be a definite ticket-seller if Bryan and Cena collided once more.
SummerSlam 2013 saw Daniel Bryan defeat John Cena for the WWE Championship before Randy Orton cashed in and took the title away merely minutes later. This time, there would be no Randy Orton and Cena wouldn't be injured. It would be the perfect opportunity for both men to show what they are really made of for the very last time as Bryan would help send Cena off with a great wrestling match.
1 AJ Styles
It's hard to talk about any John Cena match without including AJ Styles in the conversation. Over the past few months both men have put on some outstanding matches and recent rumours suggest that when Cena returns to the company he will be picking up where he left off with Styles.
By then Styles could be WWE World Champion and Cena could go on to face The Club member and finally, win his 16th World title from Styles. Styles could then fight for the title once again in what would be Cena's final match with Styles taking back the title if he wins and Cena vacating it if he wins. It would be the appropriate end to a rivalry that WWE would never be able to recreate. Cena vs. Styles has proven to be the best rivalry of 2016 so far and it's unlikely anything will top this two by year's end.
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