My time is now up: John Cena’s ideal opponent before he retires

From the thunderous boos of the hostile ECW crowd in 2005 to the greatest cheers from children in today’s audience, John Cena got it all during his long career run in WWE.

John Cena is undeniably a remarkable wrestler and entertainer, and as time flies, his time will be over just like any other wrestler or athlete. A year ago, on Money in the Bank Premium Live Event, the same event that he officially announced his future retirement match, mentioned his potential last match without mentioning a specific date or place.

WrestleMania is the perfect final destination for Cena’s WWE in-ring career as this was also the event that most legendary wrestlers choose to have their retirement match. Wrestlers such as Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, and The Undertaker.

Regardless of his opponent, this will truly be considered as one of the most memorable moments in professional wrestling as someone like John Cena will forever be etched in the heart of everyone. Here are his potential opponents in his retirement match at WrestleMania 41.

Solo Sikoa

John Cena vs Solo Sikoa at Crown Jewel 2023

The “new” Tribal Chief is on top of my list since he was the last opponent that John Cena faced in a devastating loss before making his appearance at 2024 Money in the Bank PLE.  Solo was also a good opponent since he’s still new to WWE, and it would be a brilliant way to solidify his status as the new Tribal Chief if he defeated Cena in a highly anticipated match at WrestleMania.

If WWE decides to continue Solo’s feud with John Cena, then there’s no problem anymore from building a feud from scratch since the feud has been established already. Although, Solo’s bigger beef with Roman Reigns as the new heir is something that he should mind considering that he took the throne by the commandment of a higher-up from The Bloodline. If it’s The Rock, then it will lead to a massive build-up to WrestleMania 41 with Roman Reigns.

On the other hand, all that Solo Sikoa needs is to beat the “real” Tribal Chief Roman Reigns first in an epic one-on-one match as this will add to the depth of The Bloodline storyline that keeps the viewers glued in their screens. On a personal note, Solo Sikoa does not fit to be an heir of the Island of Relevancy. It can only be decided between two behemoths namely Roman Reigns or The Rock.

CM Punk

CM Punk vs John Cena for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank 2011

I am always amazed by the chemistry of John Cena and CM Punk, whether on microphone or inside the ring. The Summer of CM Punk storyline was great in 2011, where CM Punk being the “rebel” against WWE by confronting the “Franchise Player”. Their last memorable match happened in 2013 where they created an excellent match on an episode of Raw which determines the number one contender for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 29.

Despite being real-life friends, this will be an ideal last feud for John Cena before he truly retires as this will be a legendary run. With CM Punk setting his eyes for the World Heavyweight Championship by letting Drew McIntyre failing his cash-in, the same night where he won the Men’s Money in the Bank ladder match, a title vs career situation will be perfect for a retiring 16-time WWE Champion.

Bron Breakker

One of my favorite Bron Breakker highlights in a single match

A great way to boost Bron’s status in the main roster is to put John Cena in a humiliating loss at WrestleMania 41 with his beast-like character. He might be taunted as the next big thing following “The Next Big Thing” Brock Lesnar, he will remain stagnant if he will not be facing John Cena in a huge match. Baron Corbin putting over Kurt Angle in Angle’s retirement match did not actually help him at all, same goes to any new WWE wrestler in facing John Cena if it was not booked right.

The in-ring prowess of Bron Breakker is undoubtedly terrifying that everyone who goes in his path or comes close to him will be pulverized, especially by his spear. His athletic ability shows that he is the future of professional wrestling, and his skills will be timeless too. He proved this during his time in NXT where he became NXT Champion, but his main roster debut was lackluster by involving more on squash matches. Since Raw will be transferring to Netflix and one of their highlights will be focusing on Bron Breakker, then having him beat John Cena will push him to the moon.


Gunther defends his Intercontinental Title in this 5-star classic by Wrestling Observer

Alright I get it, you probably think that I have great bias towards the Ring General especially if you’re an avid reader here at and come across my columns, but you’re wrong. Gunther is also a perfect contender for John Cena. Sadly though, he is not the Intercontinental Champion right now, which somewhat makes a great reason for a career vs title match stipulation. If the IC title is on the line, then this will give John Cena an opportunity to grab the championship that he never held at least once in his career.

Regardless of gold, Gunther vs John Cena is considered a dream match for at least many fans. With Gunther’s powerful chops and Cena’s world-famous 5 moves of doom, it is just pure cinema. There’s a catch here though because either Gunther beats or even faces John Cena anytime before Cena’s in-ring career ends, Gunther’s push will never end. He will always be there at the top of the food chain, looking for an opportunity to grab accolades and championships.

Randy Orton

Take a look on how “vicious” Randy Orton was during these times

Another great feud that John Cena encountered was with The Viper. As we admit, we truly hate Randy Orton’s character during the late 2000’s when he was bald yet vicious – a brilliant look and feel for a top heel with a distinct character. Both John Cena and Randy Orton also hold impressive title win records so it will be a great opportunity to clash with each other for one last time.

Upon keen observations to past episodes of SmackDown, it seems like Randy is eyeing on the WWE title, an emerging threat to his former Legacy stablemate Cody Rhodes without noticing it. If Randy fully turns his back on Cody, challenge him for the WWE title, and take it away from him, then this will be a great opportunity for John Cena’s final chase for the WWE title and beat Ric Flair’s record and become 18x WWE Champion. A title vs career match is also an ideal stipulation for this one.


Whoever opponent of his or WWE Creative’s choice for one last run, WWE must ensure that every effort will be poured out in executing it. If there is something that WWE should avoid, is about going similar to Kurt Angle’s retirement match against Baron Corbin. Regardless of if it was Angle’s choice or not, Corbin should’ve been booked consistently as a top wrestler until this time, but WWE and Vince McMahon failed to execute that well. Cena’s time might be up, but his legacy in WWE and in the entire professional wrestling industry will play a big part in the history of wrestling and in building the future generation of aspiring wrestlers.


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