16 Time World Champion. Royal Rumble Winner. Mr. Money in the Bank. WrestleMania Main Eventer. Undisputed ‘Top Guy’ for over a decade. It may appear that John Cena has done it all in WWE, but wait…there’s more.
Cena may be closer to the end of his all-time career than the beginning, Father Time is undefeated in Pro Wrestling after all, but he’s shown time and time again recently that he still has plenty left to give. His Match quality is still high, he hasn’t lost a step during promos, and his storylines continue to feel like a big deal simply because he’s part of it. So what do we do with the precious time we have with the face that runs the place while he’s still on top? Here are my picks;
5) Braun Strowman – Never Give Up
Inevitably on these lists is ‘the guy that needs to be put over’ – and I’ll take Braun Strowman. Early in the career of another unstoppable WWE monster, Brock Lesnar once beat Hulk Hogan so badly he could no longer continue, forcing the referee to call for the bell. It was shocking for long time WWF/E Fans, who could not believe after 20 years HulkaMania couldn’t run wild and prevail. No one had ever seen Hulk Hogan’s body give up, unable to overcome the challenge. Refusing to quit, never giving up? Sound familiar?
Fans have often discussed whether John Cena will ever tap out again, ultimately giving up. But what if Strowman didn’t have to make Cena’s spirit quit, but much like Hogan – his body simply can’t withstand anymore. If Braun Strowman can be the man to make Cena show his mortality in a way we’ve never seen before it would launch him to even new heights, while protecting Cena’s undying commitment to never surrendering. Cena has already shown he’s willing to be dominated for the right opponent and the right story *cough SummerSlam 14 cough* – and Braun Strowman is the right guy at the right time to get the same rub.
4) The Rock – Thrice in a Lifetime
A polarizing program to say the least, you can’t deny The Rock vs John Cena brought eyes and excitement to WWE. It took very little of the typical Michael Cole propaganda for fans to feel like this was a big deal, and the year long program provided great memories along the way. There’s definitely a case to be made that we didn’t need the rematch, but it was pretty textbook for Cena to get the win back over the extremely part-time legend. But now that we’re tied, I believe the rubber match for the coveted 3rd victory would be a fun way to utilize Cena, give a big fight feel to something non-Title, and a perfect way for The Rock’s in-ring career to officially end.
3) Hulk Hogan – When Worlds Collide
They’ll be compared to one another forever, debated about, and synonymous with their respective eras. No one had embodied the ‘do the right thing’ spirit of a top WWE babyface more than Hulk Hogan, until perhaps John Cena. With little to no ‘dirt’ on Cena outside the ring, a record number of granted Wishes, and an unmatched commitment to the company, you could make the case John Cena didn’t follow in Hulk Hogan’s footsteps, he redefined the role. To be fair, Hogan has had a long list of medical issues, and last reported he was unable to clear most Wrestling physical protocols. But – he’s also talked about working All In, wanting one more match with Vince McMahon, and retiring at WrestleMana. If the immortal one does indeed have it in him, Cena is the perfect Quarterback to carry the load and get them through it. It would be a symbolic moment that would feel like 2 worlds colliding. With all due respect to the Rock, he was never ‘the guy’ the way Stone Cold Steve Austin, or John Cena were. If it can happen, let’s watch history. Brother.
2) The Undertaker – This Time I’m Ready for ya
One of the most entertaining and intriguing stories going into WrestleMania 34 was whether or not John Cena would finally get a chance to take on the Undertaker on the grandest stage of em all. Personal attacks, name calling, anything was on the table to provoke the Deadman. As a ticket holder, the Undertaker’s return was my favorite part of attending WM34, and was truly a segment you can only get from this character in this company. The match itself was what it needed to be after the disaster the year before – short, full of the hits, and a way to make Undertaker look like his match with Reigns was the exception, not his new standard. But much like The Rock, now Cena has been defeated by a legend, and may want his rematch. The idea of these 2 legends telling a story knowing both will take part could be all time WWE kayfabe. And if it were to be a double Retirement Match, the stakes and emotions will be sky high. And who better to retire the other than the legend across the ring? No tricks, no games, let’s settle this.
- CM Punk – The Grandest Finale
Perhaps the man that will go down as John Cena’s WWE Arch Nemesis, we haven’t seen CM Punk in over 4 years in the squared circle. Punk was Cena’s foil in every way; they didn’t look alike, speak the same, or play by the same rules in life. Everything about John Cena was straight laced, everything from Punk was straight edged but gritty. They were destined to be enemies, and were capable of magic together. During the Summer of Punk Cena embodied the company so Punk could physically take out his frustrations instead of simply having to shout them. Well now CM Punk has a whole new list of complaints about the Federation, and I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to make Cena the posterboy for standing up for the decision makers who have treated him so well. If WWE could ever make the offer that would make Punk thing twice about a return, wouldn’t beating John Cena in the Main Event of WrestleMania be high on the list? Shouldn’t these 2 men who defined their era finish the story? Couldn’t you see Punk wanting that win…
#1A – Title 17
So I have a 1 and 1A – sue me. The reason I didn’t give this a ‘technical’ spot in the top 5 is the opponent is almost irrelevant for me. Whomever gets to walk in as Champion for John Cena’s 17th big night I’m sure will be a fantastic opponent who will help put on a Match of the Year candidate. But I couldn’t let this list come and go without mentioning that yes – John Cena most certainly needs to win his record breaking 17th World Championship. The word ‘deserving’ is almost always eye roll educing in Wrestling, but yes, John Cena deserves to be the king of the mountain when it comes to Champions.
Regardless if we get 1, or none of the matches I’ve listed above, there are still many cool things for Mr Hustle Loyalty and Respect to do in this company. Memories to be made, Matches to be wowed at, Legacies to define. John Cena is an all-timers all-timer, the best representative WWE will ever have, and someone who can make anything feel like a big deal just by showing up. No matter what is to come for John Cena, I can’t wait to see it. Oh, the irony.
I’m Jason Moltov