For many, many, many years, wrestling fans have been calling for WWE legend John Cena to turn heel. Yet, for much of the late 2000s and throughout the 2010s, it never made sense. For one, Cena’s merchandise sales and drawing abilities at houseshows provided the WWE revenue streams that they could not match with other wrestlers. Secondly, if Cena turns heel, who replaces him as a babyface, especially during the 2010s? Cena tried putting over Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, but management thought otherwise. Roman Reigns as a babyface just couldn’t stick during the 2010s, so hence why the WWE was hesitant to turn Cena heel.
2023 is much, much different. WWE has not just one, but two competent babyfaces in Cody Rhodes and the emerging LA Knight.
Furthermore for 2023, John Cena isn’t as popular in the WWE as he once was. I’d argue that the WWE brand and stars like Roman Reigns, as a heel now, have finally eclipsed his star power. In addition, I’d argue we’ve seen older Cena too much in the WWE doing matches and appearances here and there. What made the Rock’s appearance on Smackdown a few weeks ago so special is that we haven’t seen the Rock for several years.
John Cena’s movie career is well established, and so hence turning him heel on WWE television wouldn’t hurt his acting brand. In fact, it would enhance it because many of his TV/Movie characters aren’t exactly high on morals. Trust me, Peacemaker Season 2 will do just fine if John Cena returns to being a heel on WWE television.
In summary about John Cena:
(1) LA Knight and Cody Rhodes are solid babyfaces
(2) John Cena’s babyface character peaked long ago, he’s over-exposed, needs a change.
(3) Cena is respected in Hollywood, any changes to his WWE character won’t affect it
If you watched WWE Smackdown last night on FOX, you witnessed LA Knight come to the aid of John Cena who was in the middle of a beatdown from Solo Sikoa & Jimmy Uso. Cena was talking about his contract and lacking a partner to take on Solo/Jimmy at WWE Fastlane and was then confronted by the duo. Cena was overwhelmed and before they could put Cena through the announcer’s table, LA Knight makes his return from COVID-19 and saves the day. Then, he signs Cena’s Fastlane contract to make it John Cena/LA Knight vs. Jimmy Uso/Solo Sikoa. That’s a hell of a match booked right there.
But this match presents MAJOR opportunity…
If WWE seriously wants to push LA Knight as a major babyface act, he needs something to put him over the top. What makes a great Main Eventer isn’t so much the booking, but the climb.
Going back to late 1998 and early 1999, the Rock was the WWE champion. Back then, there were actual questions about the Rock winning the WWE title with just 2 years on the roster. Yes, he was perceived as being very talented, but was he ready for Main Event status particularly co-headlining with a red hot “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. What did the WWE do? They made the Rock feud with Mick Foley, first, and through a series of matches, it toughened up the Rock to make him a HIGHLY credible opponent for Steve Austin by Wrestlemania 15. They blew the doors off the arena for that “Match of the Year” candidate.
Go back to the previous year… Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) was a growing superstar, yet he really didn’t score any major wins despite starting a cool storyline and feud with the New World Order. Then, you had the extensive feud with “Macho Man” Randy Savage that spanned multiple Pay Per Views. Their feud was intense and personal, and often, you tuned into WCW’s Pay Per Views to see their match rather than the lousy “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan main event. DDP was a made man after that Randy Savage feud.
I could argue the same thing about Triple H needing some quality wins during early 2000 to solidify him as WWE Champion before getting into an extensive feud with the Rock. Who was Triple H’s hard fought opponent? Well, it was Mick Foley once again.
Who put Steve Austin on the map during 1996-1997 through an extensive feud? Bret “the Hitman” Hart.
If you’re going to get to the next level, you need a big star who is willing to work with you on a series of matches. First of all, working with a top level talent gets attention anyway, but learning from them inside the ring present valuable experience. They’ve been there, and done that in many big arenas and in front of many big crowds. They can teach you how to connect with fans and improvise as needed. Secondly, an extensive rivalry gives people something to look forward to on future events. I couldn’t wait to see what Rock and Foley were going to give us next during early 1999, for example. Damn Super Bowl match and that brutal Royal Rumble match! But lastly, the outcome favors the rising talent in most cases.
Didn’t we just have this argument about Cody Rhodes getting the Brock Lesnar rub? All of you BABIES were CRYING hard about Cody not winning at Wrestlemania 39… As it turns out, the WWE was 100% right because the Bloodline brand not only expanded further after Wrestlemania, but Cody’s star GREW thanks to his feud with Brock Lesnar. Did you enjoy that SummerSlam 2023 match against Lesnar where freakin’ Lesnar shook his hand afterward? Cody now has a cheap loss to Roman and winning a 2 out of 3 series with Brock Lesnar under his belt. Now, Cody is stronger than ever.
LA Knight could strongly benefit from an extensive series of matches with John Cena. A heel John Cena, that is.
Stage is perfectly set at WWE Fastlane. Surely, Cena and LA Knight seem to overwhelm Jimmy Uso with a new tag team partner and Solo Sikoa, who is still learning the business. One would figure that odds favor Cena/Knight… And just as it appears that LA Knight and John Cena has the upper hand, BOOM, Cena turns on LA Knight to cause Jimmy & Solo to win the match. Hell, have John Cena join the Bloodline if you dare. Why not? He could play that Macho Man role from 1997 within the NWO, who could help elevate talents as Macho did for DDP.
And then for the rest of 2023, it’s John Cena vs. LA Knight for multiple Pay Per Views…
But THINK of the promos that they could cut against each other on WWE Smackdown… Don’t let that great mic work go to waste! They’d shred each other and it would be fantastic.
Then, once LA Knight has dispatched of John Cena, Cena could then switch to the RAW brand for early 2024 and challenge Cody Rhodes. Have a feud or maybe just one match, with it being close to Wrestlemania, and Cody gets a great win under his belt.
Honestly, I sense that a heel turn by John Cena at WWE Fastlane is going to happen. It seems too obvious to have LA Knight and John Cena teaming up. Continued kudos to the WWE Creative Team if they successfully pull that off and then helps make LA Knight into a star.
What LA Knight doesn’t have are big wins, great matches, and big name opponents that he’s overcome. He still has the “NXT Stench”, the “Royal Rumble 2023 Stench”, and the “Impact Stench” on him. While his character has made strides, he just doesn’t have the in-ring resume to match it. He needs a big opponent to work with and to learn from, and John Cena is that guy.
Everything thinks that John Cena is an egomaniac because a few midcard wrestlers, who have NOT done anything since, didn’t get any favors from John Cena. Well, John Cena is top dog and he doesn’t need to be generous to talent unworthy of the top spot. Sorry, but I saw him put over CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and AJ Styles 100% clean along with letting Brock Lesnar MURDER him at SummerSlam 2014. I’m pretty sure that all 4 of those guys highly benefitted from defeating Cena… You can give me your Bray Wyatt stuff all you want, but their match at Wrestlemania sucked. Good wrestlers can put enthusiasm into a match that they are going to lose.
John Cena is one of the most generous Main Eventers that the WWE has ever seen. Go look at his 2015 when he’s making everybody look like a star while he was United States champion. What about those matches with Kevin Owens? Owens joins the WWE roster that year and Cena instantly takes a liking to him. Seriously, folks, as good as an in-ring worker and talker that KO is, he’s been riding the momentum given to him by John Cena 8 years ago. Cena made Owens a household name in the WWE instantly.
The wrestlers who speak out on John Cena haven’t done a damn thing outside of the WWE, which proves the point that Cena can spot good talent to work with. Pretty sure that Punk, Bryan, Styles, and Owens are quite happy with their experience with John Cena.
With Cena as a heel, there’s SO MUCH to work with… If you watched Total Divas/Bellas, John Cena is a bit quirky in real life than the character he portrays in the WWE. Cena was a great heel in Ohio Valley Wrestling before he joined the WWE and I’d argue Cena’s heel work during 2003 was amazing on the WWE Smackdown brand. Again, he’s a professional actor now and has played many heelish roles.
The timing is FINALLY right… Many of you pushed for John Cena to be turned, but never had a babyface back-up solution. WWE has 2 of them with Cody Rhodes and LA Knight, and maybe Roman Reigns is finally ready to flip to the babyface side again with a new attitude and experience as a top guy? Jey Uso is still doing great on the RAW brand. Lots of younger superstars are on the rise and WWE now has Endeavor money to market wrestlers like never before. MJF will join the WWE during 2024-2025, I predict, along with other AEW stars wanting to escape that sinking ship.
And I think it is going to happen at WWE Fastlane, if not on a following show or a re-match. Then, we’ll be GOLD with a John Cena(heel) vs. LA Knight feud. Milk it for many months, too.
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