The nature of John Cena’s relationship with the WWE Universe is conflicting, either Cena’s fans love for his awe-inspiring moral code, or they loathe him for his transition from a foul-mouthed badass to a cheesy character.
While WWE could’ve handled Cena’s rise to the pinnacle of the company much better by utilising smart booking strategies rather than consistently pushing him down the fans throats, they have to be commended for creating a worldwide star in a post attitude era.
The word more apt to describe Cena’s role in the company is “megastar,” and that title has been earned through highest merchandise sales, selling out arenas across the world and being a perfect global ambassador for the company.
Therefore, it would not be inaccurate to assume that everytime Cena steps through that curtain, business is about to pick up.
However, with the worldwide fame Cena has gained over the years, WWE knew that one day their brightest star would have to retire from in-ring competition, and that prediction is proving to be true, as Cena has become a part-time superstar in the company.
With WWE trying tirelessly to get another superstar to fill Cena’s role, it is safe to say that no other wrestler right now can eclipse the name, Cena.
Still, when the day does come when Cena finally lays his wrestling career to rest, how will his legendary tenure as a WWE wrestler conclude?
#1 Destroyed, damaged and demolished
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Cena, Finn Balor vs. Cena, Braun Srowman vs. Cena was all dream programmes given away on television in an uneventful manner.
WWE has been running through Cena’s dream matches more times than Micheal Cole yells “THE BIG DOG.”
However, those unusual decisions have valid reasoning behind it, and that is the fact that Cena is transitioning from a WWE megastar to a Hollywood superstar.
Moreover, the fact of the matter remains, the more successful Cena’s acting career becomes, the more time he spends away from the company.
The day will come when Cena cant juggle both and has to step away from the world of professional wrestling.
Therefore, that day should see Cena left brutalized in the ring by a new hungry star that can benefit from Cena’s star rub.
With the introduction of NXT in the world of WWE, the company has a plethora wrestlers who have worked their entire career’s to make it to Vince McMahon’s empire, and the majority of those stars are waiting for that moment to break the glass ceiling.
Superstars such as Balor, Drew McIntyre, Bobby Roode and even Andrade “Cien” Almas would launch their careers into the stratosphere by able to call themselves the man that retired Cena.
However, there is one star on WWE’s main roster that can indeed become the central player in the company if WWE gives him the privilege of taking Cena out, and that man is Samoa Joe.
There is something about Joe that is truly rare in the modern era of wrestling, as his character motivations, in-ring ability, and jaw-dropping promos represent a fighter that is truly badass.
Cena vs. Joe is a programme that is long overdue, and by booking this match has Cena’s last, can launch Joe’s career in the company.
#2 A legendary Career vs An Immortal Legacy
A match between The Undertaker and Cena could’ve sold out any pay-per-view at any venue around the world ten years ago, as witnessing two of the most celebrated superstars from two distinct generations squaring off in the prime of their careers would’ve surely broken any star rating system.
However, observing a watered down version of the Undertaker versus a less than enthusiastic Cena in a match that felt unnecessary is hugely disappointing.
Moreover, while the in-ring work of those two icons has naturally deteriorated over time, the narrative WWE built was one of the laziest attempts by McMahon’s creative team to garner excitement for one of the last dream matches left in this industry.
However, through all that disappointment, WWE did leave a door open for a truly magnificent build to a rematch down the road, and this rematch could be the perfect way to conclude both Cena’s and Undertaker’s in-ring careers.
While most would suggest this match should be a career vs. career match, that would make no sense, as one of these icons careers is already over.
The narrative of Cena putting his career on the line is a story a wrestling enthusiast can buy into, while Undertaker is at a point in his career where he deserves to retire, as he has given everything he could to this business for the last 30 years.
Therefore, this match could be Cena fighting to keep his dream as a professional wrestler alive while Undertaker is striving to cement himself as the most excellent performer in the history of WrestleMania.
Thus making this high octane drama a career vs. legacy match. Therefore, if Cena loses he leaves the company without becoming a 17-time Wolrd Champion and if the Undertaker losses he adds another strike to his loss column at WrestleMania.
Clear stakes, high drama, two legendary wrestlers, WWE has one of the best retirement stories to send Cena off with an emotional bang.
#3 The Legend Killer returns
Randy Orton vs. Cena is a rivalry that WWE would like to claim ranks in wrestling history as one the very best.
However, WWE’s fantasy is far from the truth, as reality has shown the WWE Universe a feud that was overdone, uninteresting and repetitive.
But, how is that possible when these two veterans have fought each other in high stake matches?
The reason is simple, every time these two faced each other they have produced magic inside the ring, but its WWE’s poor storytelling that didn’t allow fans to invest thoroughly.
However, the last time these ruthless aggression era stars could clash, WWE should incorporate the very best in storytelling, in-ring work and nostalgia to give fans a true classic, and this could be a fitting ending to Cena’s career.
However, for this narrative to succeed WWE must get its antagonist spot on, and the only way for Orton to go forward as a ruthless heel in this angle is to have a substantial reason for targeting Cena, and the only way to reach that reason is to bring back “the legend killer.”
Most would say Orton’s iconic legend killer gimmick could only work when he was rookie taking out established veterans, and now that Orton is a legend himself the return of this role would be unnecessary.
However, after WWE retired “the legend killer” and debuted Orton’s “voices” gimmick, his career has gotten more uninteresting every year.
Therefore, this change would not only make a truly spectacular retirement narrative for Cena; it would rejuvenate Orton’s career.
After Orton has been a babyface for many years now his reason for returning as the legend killer can be based on one driving factor that has been critical in his career downfall, his low success rate.
Orton can blame the downhill slope he has been experiencing on veterans because while he was giving younger talent like Jinder Mahal, Roode and Rusev the spotlight to make a name for themselves other legends were selfishly residing at the top of the card, especially veterans such as Cena. This driving force could lead to an exceptional narrative between Cena and Orton.
WWE can use Cena once again to bring Orton to his elite heel level he has fallen from, as Orton ending Cena’s career would make him the most dangerous heel in the company.
Therefore, this decision can allow Orton to give a colossal star rub to a young white hot babyface down the road. This way Cena can give back to the business and retire against his greatest rival in a truly riveting story.
#4 The last hunt for championship gold
Will he or won’t he? The question of whether Cena would surpass the Nature Boy Ric Flair’s 16 World Title reigns has been a hotly debated topic for the last few years.
Many feel that Cena does not deserve the right to even tie Flair with 16 Wolrd Title reigns, as most of Cena’s reigns have been short, uneventful affairs.
While other Cenation fanatics rebel in Cena’s favour, saying that WWE needs to cement Cena as one of the last true megastars in professional wrestling.
Whether Cena does achieve this enormous feat in his career or WWE leaves one accolade missing from his resume, it could make one of the most significant retirement narratives in WWE history if done to perfection.
When Cena dethroned AJ Styles at the 2017 Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Cena once again received a mix reaction from WWE’s demanding fanbase.
However, even though Cena won his 16th World Title in one of the greatest matches in WWE history, the build to that moment felt artificial, rather than an iconic moment that made fans emotionally invest.
Therefore, this is a narrative WWE cannot rush, as it might ruin the emotional arc this storyline has to earn. As the build of this narrative needs a critical theme for it to succeed, desperation.
If WWE wants, to be honest, there is nothing left for Cena to do in WWE, besides break Flair’s record. Thus, Cena’s desperation to do so before he entirely heads into Hollywood can be the driving force behind this historical narrative.
WWE can have Cena lose number one contender matches, win the Money in the Bank but fail to cash it in successfully, be the last man eliminated from the Royal Rumble and lose his last chance inside the Elimination Chamber. Therefore, when Cena does succeed and stand across the WWE champion at Wrestlemania, fans would not be on the edge of their seats but standing on their feet.
#5 The way down
Cena’s struggle story to get onto the Wrestlemania 34 match card was an excellent narrative done wrong, as the company expected fans to buy into the notion that Cena’s invincibility is suddenly non-existent.
Even though Cena lost multiple matches to mid-card talent, breakout stars and glorified main eventers, WWE’s abrupt booking of his last run left little to be desired and caught many wrestling aficionados off guard
While WWE wanted to present Cena at his lowest of lows, implying he is not the man that he once was, a little losing streak is the worst way to illustrate that idea.
If WWE analysed the character of Cena before booking him as the ‘lovable’ loser, they would’ve found out that they can go deeper and darker into his frustrations, failures and regret when booking him as a man that has nothing to lose.
Beyond all that brightly coloured merchandise, WWE can reveal to the world a man that has given up, believes he is disrespected and feels betrayed because the most significant Cena retirement storyline WWE can do, is a fully-fledged heel turn.
Ah, the infamous Cena heel turn, that the WWE Universe has demanded for the last ten years which may seem unnecessary at this point, but Cena’s career has to lead him to this.
After his shocking loss to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania, it would be foolish to have Cena return as a happy go lucky babyface.
Instead, WWE should push aside the cheap pop for character development, as Cena more than any other character has the true validation to turn on the fans, the wrestlers and even himself.
As for 15 years Cena has walked down the ramp and soaked in the disrespect, he has had his most exceptional work inside the squared circle still criticised, and he has seen most of his original fans betray him, this is a man that has seen his three core values insulted, disregarded and degraded.
WWE pulling the trigger on a Cena heel turn at this point his career might be perfect, and it can lead to other incorporated narratives being elevated and legitimised by Cena’s newly profound aggression.
Whether Cena is pursuing the WWE Title as an unruly heel, going after the Undertaker, or squashing fan-favourite superstars, WWE can turn this significant development into a massive storyline that can prove to be successful for the company.
This heel turn is not meant for fans to start liking Cena once again or for Cena to rejuvenate his career.
This retirement narrative is about a man who has been pushed too far, a man who has had his moral code insulted time and time again, and most importantly this is a man that knows his time is up in the company.
However, his time is now to leave a lasting impact that can shake the world of professional wrestling.
soruce : sportskeeda.com