Is he or isn’t he – that is the question.
After appearing at WrestleMania 32 in a spot with The Rock to fend off the Wyatt Family, John Cena was MIA at Raw the following night in Dallas. While the 15-time world champion announced he had been cleared to wrestle before the big event last weekend, he may not be able to come back to the ring on a full-time basis yet.
The moment with The Rock, whom he headlined WrestleMania with on two occasions, was a moment that will be remembered, and a moment that may have further buried Bray Wyatt as a main event star. While it would appear WWE is on a path to a new direction, one that may or may not include The Authority, Cena is a key component that could help cement Roman Reigns as either a fan favorite or as the heel champion he needs to be.
With the main roster coming together – with veterans returning from injury – and the addition of newly signed stars and wrestlers moving from the NXT roster to the main roster, this could be the best array of talent the company has ever assembled. Yes, it still needs Cena to become the arc between new and old.
But his status may still be in limbo. So might his position in the company.
While the product for the most part seemed a bit stale since the Royal Rumble, the company has found gold in the work from Dean Ambrose, Brock Lesnar, Kevin Owens, AJ Styles and Chris Jericho. There should be a build in that success. Now that Styles is the No. 1 contender to the WWE World Title, fans will have a chance to cheer the new prodigal son to victory and hopefully a title reign.
If the plan is still in place for Reigns to be the company’s face, that may not happen any time soon.
When Cena returns, will WWE be quick to put him in the world title picture? Will he assume the same role as before with the United States Title? Does he have the patience to continue to put other young superstars over? Would fighting for the cause – the company that has made him millions – become his new goal?
As Cena has said in interviews last week, he is in a purgatory of sorts. He needs to be a teacher, a mentor to the new roster. He is too “old” to be cool and too seasoned not to lend his knowledge to those who will succeed after him. It’s a position all wrestlers face at one time or another. And if Shane McMahon becomes further entrenched in the driver’s seat of the company, where will he stand upon his return to full-time action?
Since WWE is getting behind a Chris Jericho push of sorts, where he is proving once again he is one of the best ever, maybe it will be Cena who does the same – with someone like Samoa Joe or helps to mold Reigns as the fans gradually accept him – Finally.
But for now, Cena is a man in no man’s land. And once he returns to the ring, faces an opponent and garners love and hate from the fans, none of us really know how he will be used to promote further development of the roster or WWE programming.
Of all the superstars who have been on the injured reserve list, Cena may be affected more than anyone. For once, he is not the bell cow needed to solidify everything. It seems once and for all, WWE is moving away from a Cena-dominated program.
Finally, the company is beginning a post-Cena era and hopes it can succeed without losing its focus on the future, not the past.