Hey guys, it’s been a while hasn’t it? The story that seems to be dominating the wrestling world at the minute is the news that John Cena is legitimately injured, and will legitimately be taking some time off TV to recuperate. The rumour is 4-6 months, which means he should be back just in time for Wrestlemania season – look for him to be a surprise entrant and a contender to win the Royal Rumble. I think this is a great thing for the company, and I’ve detailed why below.
Now let me just make this clear; I’m not a complete John Cena hater. I have the utmost respect for John Cena the man. His passion for the wrestling business shines through in his real life interviews, and his dedication to the WWE and his fans have earned my respect. That he has completed more appearances for the Make-A-Wish foundation than anybody else, no matter how much I tune out when it’s brought up on TV, is nothing to laugh at. And it makes it all the more remarkable to think that he has been doing it for nearly 10 years. When I look at John Cena the man I see someone who worked his ass off to reach the top of the company he loves, and deserves his spot there.
When I look at John Cena the character however, there is a lot left to be desired. He is nowhere near the top of the list for in-ring workers – even in the company today. His promos a lot of the time are cheesy, and do more to put himself over than his opponent. He is stale, having portrayed the same character for most of his 11 years on the WWE’s main card, and his repetition of the same shtick for so long has worn out the patience of a lot of the WWE Universe. However, serious-Cena is one of the best talkers around – possibly ever. And his connection with the live crowd is undeniable – the kids really do look at him as their real life superhero. Since he is the only person on the status to have properly achieved that status, nobody can deny that he has been able to captivate a generation of wrestling fans.
So as someone who has as many upsides as Cena undeniably does for the WWE, why could it be so beneficial that he will be gone for the rest of 2013?
The Next Generation
Cena’s absence will force the WWE to create their next top star. They will be looking for the next face of the company – and rumour has it that they have told the roster exactly that. This is their time to show that they can step up and become the next face of the WWE. Let’s face it, Cena is 36. With every year that passes he will become another year past his prime, which he should have been in 2 or 3 years ago. Whenever you get to that stage you need to start thinking about the future. The short time answer you would assume is Daniel Bryan – 4 years Cena’s junior. Even the WWE Champion Randy Orton, 1 year older than Bryan can plug the possible gap for a few years. However, I think that this could be a trial period for one group of hungry young superstars in particular to show that they belong in the main event. I am of course talking about The Shield. Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns are 27, 27 and 28 respectively, so if they can reach the main event and stay there until Cena’s age that’s the next 10 years sorted. There’s also arguments to be made for the likes of Bray Wyatt (26), Cody Rhodes (28), Big E Langston (27), Drew McIntyre (yes, seriously (28)), and even Adrian Neville (if you don’t know who this is look him up (27)). Looking at that list, the future is very bright for the WWE. And now, with Cena gone, this is the chance to test some of them out.
There are a lot of feuds out there that we either haven’t seen for a long time, haven’t seen in their current form (ie the faces now were heels and vice versa), or we haven’t seen them at all. The feud can be bitter, the promos can be fantastic, the matches can be top class – but if we’ve seen it all before the excitement, the fan interest won’t be there. That’s part of the reason CM Punk’s “Pipe Bomb” promo back in 2011 caught so many people’s attention – it was different. It meant that we saw someone different take the main event by storm, announce themselves in such an unusually realistic way and cement their position for the rest of their career. Nobody needs to see the “underdog” John Cena “overcome the odds” pulling off a remarkable victory over the Big Shows, the Mark Henrys, hell even the Great Khalis anymore. Now, with arguably the stalest superstar since Hulk Hogan now missing from the WWE’s landscape for the foreseeable future, WWE programming itself will start to feel fresh again. Let’s face it; John Cena as WWE Champion is not something that will ever feel “new” again – he has held the belt more times than anybody else, and on the list of most days as champion he is 4th. I’ve said it to Matt several times before, John Cena doesn’t need the WWE Championship anymore. This is Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan’s chance to prove that. Those two, along with CM Punk and any new stars that are created, have the chance to show that WWE doesn’t need Cena to be the champion to be the face of the company. And with the WWE always giving their prized belt a lot of focus, it would pave the way for some new storied to become the focal point of the show alongside Cena, instead of being overshadowed by him. That I’m sure, would come as a welcome relief to fans everywhere.
Unfortunately for all the Cena mega-haters out there, he will come back. With the timeline being 4-6 months until he comes back (incidentally, the same diagnosis was given to another main event talent recently in Sheamus), we can probably expect him to return in the Royal Rumble. And from the time he returns right up until Wrestlemania, I doubt you’ll hear many boos. Look at the reaction he got at the Royal Rumble 2008, returning to win on that occasion. The boos, if there were any, were completely stifled by the ecstatic fans welcoming back their hero. Even those who usually boo Cena would probably cheer him on his return – WWE fans tend to recognise when someone puts in as much effort as Cena has, and sympathises with them when that hard work is disrupted by injury. As a result, on his return he will likely get a thunderous ovation. Add in the fact that it will be Wrestlemania season, and that it will be the freshest the Cena character has been for about 6 years, hopefully the cementation of Daniel Bryan as the top face in the company, and there is no real reason to boo him until he gets boring again. We’re seeing rumoured matches already being discussed for Wrestlemania 30 – I read one report today that claimed The Undertaker had agreed to wrestle Brock Lesnar – so let me add one more possibility to the mix. Daniel Bryan vs John Cena. It wouldn’t have to be for the WWE Championship, but it probably would be. I could easily envisage those two having a Wrestlemania rivalry akin to the Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock trilogy. They will be the two biggest faces in the company by that point, and in a year or two; if WWE books the next few months properly; it may be possible to turn Cena heel. Just imagine that for a moment: a face Daniel Bryan beating a heel John Cena for the WWE Championship at, say, Wrestlemania 32. That single victory would put Bryan in the exact position on the card that John Cena is now if he wasn’t already there, only with a lot more support.
Now that has given me an idea for another column. But I think we’ll wrap this up here. 1300+ words about a single man getting injured – who knew it was possible? I hope nobody thinks I went off in tangents while I was making my points, for me this was quite relevant.
Do you agree with me? Will Daniel Bryan be able to take over the John Cena role? Who will be the future star of World Wrestling Entertainment? Let me know in the comments below, or alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, please share this with as many wrestling fans as you know. If you have a blog, you will probably understand why. If not, just know that it means so much to know that others are reading your work. So please do it. Pretty please. Thanks.