WWE still has a card it can play when booking John Cena at WrestleMania 34.
No, it’s not a match with The Undertaker. It’s not part of the WWE World Title, either. Cena should do what he does best – defend America. It is the staring role he is meant to have now that his career is closer to an end than it is a rising action. There is no wrestler on the current roster who does more to represent the red, white, and blue than the 16-time world champion.
Right now, Jinder Mahal doesn’t have a dance partner for New Orleans. That could all change after the WWE Fastlane pay-per-view. Mahal’s anti-American stance is enough for Cena to stick around Tuesday nights a little longer. And just like his multiple programs with Rusev, Cena would have the support of WWE’s fan base defending the country he loves.
Cena’s run at the WWE World Title doesn’t do anything to help the company as it moves toward April 8. While there may still be a plan for him to capture a 17th world title, it should not come at the expense of AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura – a match wrestling fans have wanted since the company inked Nakamura to an NXT contract.
Cena’s role in WWE is tricky to predict since he is considered a part-time wrestler and there are plenty of outside influences on his career. Movies, impending marriage, television, Make-A-Wish and other endeavors keep him busy. And just like he preached about other former WWE stars, holding a title hostage while they pursued fame and fortune would further chap the fan base that loves to hate him on a weekly basis.
Mahal, a former world champion, is the perfect opponent for a man looking for a cause to fight for.
There are other options for Cena, but none make as much sense. There should be more clarity once the Fastlane pay-per-view comes to a close and the company can pick up the pieces of what should be a very weak event. The potential of a Sami Zayn swerve and Kevin Owens becoming a babyface is worth watching.
We know Bobby Roode and Randy Orton will battle for the United States Title, the company isn’t going to slam the door on this feud, given the fans want to see the current champion gloriously turn his back and become the heel he more prone to play on screen. Orton – like Cena – is a man without a real place in the company despite how popular he remains.
Something has to come out of the addition of both Dolph Ziggler and Barron Corbin to “Six Pack” challenge for the WWE World Title. Styles should still win the event and head to WrestleMania 34 as planned.
The other alternative to Cena’s path to glory – which I hope isn’t a consideration – is a triple threat match with Styles and Nakamura for the title at WrestleMania 34. Adding Cena to the potential match of the year discredits the importance of the former NJPW stars coming face to face.
WWE took a lot of heat for putting the company title on Mahal to begin with. The decision was based on money and the Indian market the company invaded. It worked and whether fans like it or not, the Modern Day Maharajah was a solid heel title holder. He was every bit a throw back to the days of The Iron Sheik and Ivan Koloff – minus the Singh Brothers at his side.
Like in many situations before, WWE has done a good job of backing itself into a corner where there is an urgency to make things right. Solid booking takes care of this, but that’s not always the case. Having John Cena move over to Tuesday nights is a real boon for a brand that is clearly inferior to its Monday night big brother. The company must decide how to use Cena’s presence effectively.
Cena has accomplished everything possible in this business with the exception of winning a 17th world title. That might come in time. For now, have him take a Sting-like approach to WrestleMania 34. Fans will get behind him defending the company and America. It ends any speculation he will soon wear company gold and most of all, it makes him relevant as the road to New Orleans with each passing step.