He may be a part-timer now, but John Cena is still the undisputed star of WWE. At this point in his career, he has nothing to prove. When he shows up, it’s for special events and to put over some young athlete, who is instantly catapulted to the main event by their involvement with him.
Though Cena’s schedule is incredibly packed with all his movie and TV commitments, he has made it clear his WWE days are nowhere near over. When he finally does return, we have some ideas about who he should work with (and the huge benefits they'd get from association with Cena).
10 BRAUN STROWMAN
We don’t know why, but the WWE powers that be seem reluctant to give Braun Strowman a full championship push. His size is unmatched and the crowd loves him, so perhaps working with John Cena will give him that extra something.
He doesn’t necessarily have to be the heel in this feud, he can just be a guy who’s tired of being overlooked and goes after the biggest name he can to prove his worth. He is a little weak on the mic, but working with Cena will help that. Watching these two collide would be fun.
One of the most exciting stars on SmackDown had everything going his way until injury sidelined him. The fastest way to get that momentum back would be to pair Ali opposite John Cena. Considering how drastically different their styles are, this would be a fascinating series of matches.
We all know Cena makes every opponent better, so it would be nice to see him pull a little more character out of Ali. Sure, he’s a good guy who wants to help people, but what else is going on with him? If not a feud, maybe a tag team.
8 BUDDY MURPHY
Since moving on from 205 Live, Buddy Murphy hasn’t gotten to truly showcase everything he’s capable of. He’s a great heel and could really catch fire as someone who sees Cena as a shortcut to the top.
Even if producers don’t feel Murphy is ready to get the win, he could shine in a match where he pushes the champ to his limits, before Cena finally gets a gutsy win. It’s a situation where Murphy wins even in defeat. It would also show they actually take the cruiserweights seriously.
7 FINN BALOR
A few months ago, John Cena and Finn Balor were part of a multi-man match to be No. 1 contender for the Universal Championship. Balor ended up winning and we got a quick glimpse at what could be a great series between the two.
What makes this so appealing is that it could be the “pass the torch” moment WWE wanted from Cena’s match with Roman Reigns. Balor’s popularity would create an electric atmosphere for the fans, not to mention the fact that the matches would obviously be amazing.
If there’s someone in WWE right now who’s the closest to John Cena’s body type and ability, it would be EC3. Though WWE is inexplicably ignoring it, he is a former world champion with an established fan following. His time in TNA also proved he can handle being in the spotlight for big matches.
We could see the tables being turned; a situation where Cena actually calls out EC3 for something he tweeted about the 16 time champ. Add in Drake Maverick as EC3’s manager and this would be hilariously entertaining.
5 ALEISTER BLACK
For weeks Aleister Black has been airing vignettes on SmackDown, where he begs someone to pick a fight with him. Who better to answer the call than WWE’s very own superhero? The company has stalled all the post-WrestleMania momentum Black had from putting on two amazing back-to-back tag team matches.
He could very quickly regain some ground by feuding with Cena. We’re not sure where they’re going with Black’s character, but maybe he sees Cena as a threat. His martial arts background paired with Cena’s power and creativity would produce a match of the year.
4 DREW MCINTYRE
John Cena has faced a lot of bad guys over the years, but we’re not sure he’s gone up against someone as dangerous as the Scottish Psychopath. There’s no question his time as Shane McMahon’s sidekick has weakened Drew McIntyre, so he needs a big moment to get back some of his credibility.
Having him come out on Monday Night Raw and destroy John Cena would instantly make him one of WWE’s most feared superstars again. McIntyre has made it clear he wants to be champion, and he doesn’t care who he has to go through or what he has to do to get there.
Some time ago, John Cena showed up on SmackDown to call out someone for a fight. To the delight of fans, The Man Becky Lynch answered. This led to a mixed tag match where the two fought Andrade and Zelina Vega. Just like that, Cena put over three stars in one match.
The two men had great chemistry in the ring and we’d like to see Andrade get a full-fledged rivalry with Cena. Not to mention, Vega can go toe to toe with him on the mic and keep things interesting.
2 VELVETEEN DREAM
Nobody loves the spotlight more than Velveteen Dream, and there’s no bigger spotlight in WWE than the one John Cena’s in. When the Dream finally makes his way to the main roster, what better way to debut than by challenging the company’s No. 1 superstar?
Cena nearly broke wrestling Twitter when he said Velveteen Dream was the young star he most wanted to have a match with. If he’s at the tail end of his career, seems like we should honor his request.
1 NIA JAX
Listen, hear us out. We know John Cena would never fight a woman, but Nia Jax doesn’t care about that. She was the highlight of the Royal Rumble and is obviously not afraid of any challenge, so why not have her boldly step up to The Face That Runs The Place?
This wouldn’t be a full feud with a series of matches. Maybe Jax just throws Cena around the ring a few times, which leads to them becoming tag team partners? This would also help her get back in the main event when she returns from injury.