It's been known for quite awhile that John Cena would be missing significant time on WWE programming at the end of 2016. That time has come after failing to capture his 16th WWE World title at WWE No Mercy. Now, Cena will be mostly absent from WWE until the very end of 2016 or until early 2017. There is a chance he'll wrestle at WWE Survivor Series, but that's all we're going to see of him for the rest of the year.
In the past, this would have been a devastating loss to the WWE roster. While it is still a big hit, there is an entirely new generation leading the charge on WWE programming, which has allowed John Cena to begin focusing on outside projects as well as WWE. Recently, he did an interview with ESPN to clear the air about the balance he is created between focusing on WWE and outside projects, which you can read below.
"Every single day that I don't have an outside obligation, I will fulfill any commitment that I have to WWE. And I will attach this quote with it that every outside obligation I have is to expand the brand of WWE and there has never been a superstar to say that before."
On the one hand, John Cena's ties to WWE allow him to gain exposure for the company whenever he does an outside project, including the two months he's currently taking off to film the second season of American Grit. It also allows his matches and feuds in WWE to be more special since they are becoming a rarity. The only issue is the more time Cena takes away from WWE television makes him less important to the product.
That fact will allow WWE officials to lighten up on Cena's onscreen persona, especially if he's filming big movie roles or taking on other full-time gigs that would take priority over WWE. In that regard, Cena would be in a good position to do things that the WWE Universe have always wondered about. For example, the idea of Cena turning heel has been brought up so many times, but now it may be a realistic possibility.
A recent report is claiming that WWE officials are talking about finally pulling the trigger on a John Cena heel turn. Nothing is official, but they're said to be discussing the idea more seriously than they have in a few years. The logic behind the idea is Cena is in the right position, it would help build the next generation of faces for WWE, and his heel turn would be so historic that it could be the shot in the arm the WWE product needs.
It is being reported that John Cena will pick up right where he left off when he returns to WWE television in a few months. Cena's quest to become the 16-time WWE World Champion will bring him right back into the feud with AJ Styles. However, AJ is a heel himself, so that feud would likely conclude on the Road to Wrestlemania and a potential heel turn would happen on the way to or as a result of Wrestlemania 33.
As of this writing, the expectation for John Cena heading into Wrestlemania 33 is the long awaited match with The Undertaker on the grandest stage of them all, which could very well be the final match of the latter's wrestling career. If Cena turning heel is a plausible option for WWE officials, ending the career of the most respected WWE Superstar of all time is the greatest opportunity for his character change.
[Image by WWE]