WWE superstar John Cena returns to the ring in tonight’s WWE SmackDown Live, and the signs are that Cena is ushering in a new age on the WWE network. As any wrestling fan knows, Cena’s movie and television commitments have limited his appearances on SmackDown over the past couple of years. Cena returned to the ring at the 2017 Royal Rumble, where a fantastic match with AJ Styles saw him equal Ric Flair’s record of 16 championship titles.
Cena has long been proclaimed as “the face who runs the place” on SmackDown, so it was easy to assume that Cena’s latest return would see him eclipse Flair’s record. The reality has been very different. Setting aside Cena’s tag team appearance at WrestleMania 33, we have seen Cena suffer a string of defeats.
When Cena returned to SmackDown, on August 1 to face Shinsuke Nakamura, few expected Nakamura to win the right to challenge Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship at this weekend’s SummerSlam PPV. Having lost to Nakamura, Cena will now face Baron Corbin at SummerSlam. As reported on the official WWE website, a feud is brewing between Cena and Corbin, and it seems that the WWE is using Cena to provide a push to emerging stars.
As reported by Blasting News, tonight’s SmackDown Live will see Cena taking on WWE Champion Jinder Mahal in a non-title match, just five-days before SummerSlam.
Is This Death Of John Cena’s WWE Career Or Simply A New Age?
After the retirement of The Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, Cena is arguably the WWE’s biggest draw. With so many huge WWE names either retired or very infrequent competitors, it makes sense to use Cena to boost the profile of emerging stars. If Sportskeeda is to be believed, Cena’s “free agent” status affords him the opportunity to appear on both SmackDown and Monday Night Raw.
They report that Cena is advertised to face Samoa Joe, another newcomer, on the September 4 episode of Monday Night Raw, and that all of Cena’s appearances between SummerSlam and the No Mercy PPV are on Raw. If those claims prove to be true, we can expect Cena to face Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, and Roman Reigns, all of whom are being pushed by the WWE.
Interestingly, Give Me Sport was predicting a John Cena vs. Samoa Joe feud before the Samoan even joined the main roster. It makes sense for the WWE to use Cena in this way. If you want to push relatively new talent, there is no better way than to pitch them against the biggest names in wrestling. It seems that John Cena may be ushering in a new age in WWE wrestling. Fasten your seatbelts, things are about to get interesting.
[Featured Image by WWE]