There is concern within the WWE as oft-injured superstar John Cena’s merchandise sales have reportedly dropped in the past year without anybody else being able to fill the void, according to Daily Wrestling News.
With Cena’s sales dropping, the report mentions that WWE’s hope was that the now former WWE World Heavyweight champion Roman Reigns would be able to step up. However, WWE is afraid that Reigns isn’t “connecting with fans like they want” and that has led to his merchandise sales “coming nowhere near where they need to be to make up for the loss with Cena.”
In the last year, the former 15-time WWE champion Cena has mostly been out of the main event picture. Before taking a two-month hiatus from WWE in late 2015, Cena spent most of the year as WWE United States champion, fending off weekly challengers that wanted to defeat him for his championship. Cena’s lone WWE World Heavyweight championship match in 2015 came against Seth Rollins at SummerSlam.
With Cena not firmly entrenched in the main event picture, the report elaborates that WWE feels Cena may have lost some popularity with younger portion of the audience. In past years, the constant belief has been that Cena’s overwhelming popularity with kids is the reason the WWE has kept him as a good guy (face) and never turned their “cash cow” to the dark side.
Cena has previously admitted that there were plans for him to turn heel. Most recently, Cena spoke to Chris Jericho for a WWE Network special podcast, where he discussed nearly turning heel.
“It was discussed briefly, with the program with The Rock. I got new theme music, got new gear made. It’s not like I am not ready for it. I am just trying to do my job the best I can. If it happened, I thought it would be great. It would be great for me to be able to do that, but it is so rewarding to me to go out there and be inspirational. If they stay it’s time I just hope that they have someone ready to replace my role on the show and it was truly what’s best for everybody.”
Now, that could change at some point as the 38-year-old Cena could eventually turn into a villain, per the report. However, that is far from confirmed and Cena is still nursing the shoulder surgery that sidelined him for a reported six to nine months. There have been some rumblings that Cena may be able to return ahead of schedule to face The Undertaker — his rumored opponent for Wrestlemania 32 before the injury — as planned.
It remains to be seen if Cena can perform another miraculous recovery, but his merchandise sales have taken a hit. Daily Wrestling News’ report further divulges that Cena’s decreasing sales have been the reason for more sales on WWEShop.comrecently. They are reportedly “overstocked on his designs” and are looking to clear their inventory with the sales. There are currently 36 different t-shirt designs in the John Cena section of the shopping website — which includes his official WWE shirts, Tapout shirts, and more.
Despite the decrease, Cena remains WWE’s top, uncontested merchandise seller. There have been performers in the past that have matched or exceeded Cena’s merchandise sales, such as CM Punk. But the leader of the “Cenation” has still remained as WWE’s most marketable performer for the past decade.
WWE is reportedly hoping that Reigns — who is rumored to face Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight champion at Wrestlemania 32 — can capitalize during Cena’s absence. The hope is that Reigns will be able to solidify himself as a top player in the company for years to come as there is a lack of viable options when Cena is away from WWE.
[Featured Image via WWE]