It’s been more than a decade since the last time we saw a John Cena heel turn. But the signs just might be there, including his promo on Tuesday night at SmackDown Live, but probably his ongoing Twitter feud with Roman Reigns as well.
Although Cena is less polarizing in the present as he was in previous years, there have still been calls for him to change his character and probably take on a villainous role. And while it’s far from sure if that’s the route WWE wants to take, there may have been signs of a villainous turn in Cena’s promo on the final SmackDown Live episode of 2016.
Speaking in front of a typically passionate Chicago crowd, Cena’s return promo had a far more aggressive and serious tenor than his usual wisecrack-filled spiels, as he announced that he was “sick of that New Era B.S.,” and that fans should recognize that they’re living in the “My Time is Now Era,” a reference to the title of his self-performed ring theme. A report from Forbes enumerated the signs of a possible John Cena heel turn in the making, and cited those quotes as among the “money lines” that gave John’s promo away as a heelish one.
“This was one of the two money lines that pretty much made this a de facto heel promo. Cena, trying to hold on to what’s left of his generation, seemingly at the expense of others. If you were to read a transcript with elements of the final paragraph if this promo without knowing who said it, John Cena would be the last person who would come to mind.”
Then there’s the ongoing Roman Reigns vs. John Cena feud on Twitter, which, for starters, is interesting because both men perform on different brands – Reigns on RAW, Cena on SmackDown. On Thursday evening, Reigns admitted on Twitter that he was laughing in the ring when in-ring rival Kevin Owens boasted about his merchandise royalties to the fans, all while having Roman in a headlock. This prompted a response from Cena, who tweeted on Thursday a video of himself lifting weights at the Georgia Tech football team’s training facility, with the following remarks,
“While @WWERomanReigns was making fun of what people earn I was at @GeorgiaTechFB to #EarnTheDay #Recognize”
Four hours later, Reigns fired back on Twitter, saying that Cena has “no clue (about) what (was) going on” during his house show match against Owens.
Does this ongoing war of words on Twitter with someone from a different brand spell “John Cena heel turn” in big, bold letters? Cageside Seats wrote that Cena’s new character since returning from hiatus does point to an edgier direction, but not necessarily one that has him as a bad guy.
“Cena and WWE are definitely giving the audience something to think about by portraying him as an aging champ who’s come back to show all these guys who think they can be the biggest star in WWE – like AJ Styles, or Reigns – that he’s not done yet.”
As for Roman Reigns, Cageside Seats added that Cena having a bone to pick with the WWE Universal Champion may be a sign of desperation on WWE’s end as it keeps trying to push Reigns as the next “face of the company” – a merchandise-selling babyface hero in the vein of Cena, Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, and others before him.
It would certainly be interesting to see a John Cena heel turn in 2017, due to the fact that it’s been a very long while since he’s had one. But even with his year-ending SmackDown Live promo and his Twitter beef with Roman Reigns, nothing is sure, and knowing WWE Creative, anything can happen as the company prepares for its first shows of the new year.
[Featured Image by WWE]