John Cena is starting to show up in the news more following what WWE is calling his “successful” surgery. While no details have been given on his likely return, most industry journalists are expecting a minimum of six months before the “Doctor of Thuganomics” can return to the ring.
When he does, it will be time to give the 15-time champion one more run with the title. That may seem unlikely now that WWE seems to be picking up steam with its characterization of Roman Reigns, but it’s hard to imagine they would forgo a chance to give him one more chance with the belt before losing it at WrestleMania 33.
Here’s how plans for John Cena could — and probably should — shake out.
If he’s out on a six-month window, then you’re looking at John Cena to return in time for SummerSlam, one of the company’s larger PPV spectaculars.
This would be a great opportunity to take the belt off whomever has it at the time, preferably a heel.
With WWE in a precarious position following one injury after another — Cageside Seats reported earlier this week that all the champions heading out of WrestleMania 31 are now injured, John Cena included — having the strap on a transitional champion could be a safe bet for the company as it bets on Cena’s return.
At the same time, whoever that transitional champion is would have to be formidable enough to get a John Cena victory over with fans. Part-timer Brock Lesnar and monster heel Braun Strowman are a couple of performers who immediately come to mind, and with Lesnar destroying John Cena at the 2014 SummerSlam, it would be a good chance at redemption for him to get the clean victory.
The only problem is that Brock Lesnar has become something of a face in spite of himself, and it could be difficult getting fan reaction in Cena’s corner against such an opponent.
Even though John Cena continues to put on some of the best matches in the company, and he has been responsible for a couple of the most interesting storylines of the last year and a half — namely his program with Kevin Owens and the U.S. Championship Open Challenge — he still gets 50/50 reaction when it comes to cheers and boos.
That’s what makes Braun Strowman such an interesting fit. Bray Wyatt could decide to turn his creation loose on the singles division and step into the role of puppet master for a while.
This would have Wyatt “leading” Strowman to the world title, which would likely garner tons of fan heat since he’s not the most talented star between the ropes. Strowman “injuring” Roman Reigns would also be a great way of getting Reigns out of the picture for a while without losing his momentum.
Having John Cena come back in to end a Strowman reign of terror and set up an inevitable Wyatt-Strowman matchup when the big man loses, would give Cena a historic opportunity to match Ric Flair’s number of world title runs while adding depth to the Strowman character and setting up a hard-hitting grudge match.
This hypothetical 16th title run for John Cena could also come with an Open Challenge of its own, where fans get some pretty interesting returns before either Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, or Dean Ambrose are able to take the belt from him at WrestleMania 33.
But what do you think, readers?
Do you think that John Cena has contributed enough to the WWE and professional wrestling to deserve a 16-time World Champion designation, or would putting the belt on him again kill any momentum for Roman Reigns or other WWE new blood? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image of John Cena via Flickr Creative Commons]