John Cena... Reluctant Face of the WWE?
Happy Black Friday ladies and gentlemen of TJRWrestling.com, and a belated Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers (or as I call it second Thanksgiving, seeing as I celebrate both Canadian and American Thanksgiving). The holiday has me thinking about what exactly I’m thankful for as it relates to the WWE, and surprisingly there are a few things that I am very thankful for. For instance I’m thankful for WWE NXT, the most consistently watchable 40-45 minutes of WWE programming a week. I’m also thankful for The Shield, without whom I’d certainly be unable to muster up the resolve to watch 3 hours of Monday Night Raw each week. I’m thankful for CM Punk and Daniel Bryan who without fail make me feel like they’re giving me everything they have every time they step into the arena, that I got to see The World’s Strongest Tag Team (Mark Henry and Big E Langston) at least once, and for AJ Lee because she’s AJ Lee (and totally adorable). Finally I’m thankful for the John Cena vs. Randy Orton possible Championship Unification TLC match at the TLC Pay-Per-View.
Why am I thankful for that match? There are a few reasons why actually. Firstly, if (and that’s a BIG IF) the titles are unified, there will be one less title floating around the WWE narrative, which is a comforting notion. Secondly, the match has the potential to supply an interesting narrative for John Cena (which are few and far between at this point), which truly does have me excited. By the end of the TLC PPV, we could see John Cena become a reluctant beneficiary of Triple H & Stephanie’s Authority.
Now the pessimist in me says not to get my hopes up, that the titles won’t be unified at TLC, and that the best I could hope for is a screwy finish where the two wrestlers either walk out with the championships they entered with or swap titles. While I do see this as being the most realistic outcome given the WWE’s recent track record, I am holding out hope that the WWE opts with a more interesting angle to take coming out of TLC.
When Triple H made the decision to declare Randy Orton as “The Face Of The WWE”, it was with John Cena heading off to have surgery. With arguably the company’s biggest draw on the IR, Triple H spent the next few months working diligently to keep the WWE Title off of Daniel Bryan and on Randy Orton. That said there have been more than a few moments where it seemed as though Triple H and his wife weren’t exactly happy or impressed by their chosen face of the WWE. Not to say that they regretted the choice, but at the very least they recognized that Randy wasn’t their first choice for the face of the company.
Then somewhat miraculously, John Cena returned early from his injury and was gifted a World Heavyweight Championship match against Alberto Del Rio, which he won with little resistance. Then after he successfully defended the title at Survivor Series, he was seen in Triple H and Stephanie’s office, where they seemed concerned about his health and were making sure he was going to be good to go for the next night’s Raw. Everything lead to John Cena facing off with Randy to close Survivor Series, and opening the next night’s Raw by challenging Randy to a match with both the World and WWE Titles on the line.
Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’m hoping that at the end of TLC, Triple H is raising John Cena’s hand, and declaring him the WWE’s World Heavyweight Champion, WWE Champion, and more importantly, the Face of the WWE. Imagine how interesting a storyline where the heel Authority choose the babyface John Cena as the face of the WWE, a distinction he has no choice in accepting. Going forward Triple H and Stephanie, use their many resources including The Shield, Kane, etc to do all they can to keep the WWE Title around John Cena’s waist, and stack the odds in his favor, despite his protesting the unfairly fortuitous treatment.
That storyline would cause Cena to question himself at every turn because he would need to reconcile his desire to be the Champ with the fact that no matter how much he pleads, or how much he fights against them, The Authority WANTS him to be Champion and will stop at nothing to protect their investment. The Raw before a big PPV title defense, his opponent is booked in a 3 on 1 handicap match vs. The Shield to soften him up for John, while John is given the night off. John can disagree with the match all he wants, but it’s happening because he doesn’t have the power to change it and Triple H doesn’t want to change the match that they’ve already advertised to the WWE Universe. During title defenses, whenever John seems like he’s in trouble, The Authority will make the call to screw the challenger, without the consent of John Cena of course. John Cena will be furious, but it won’t matter to Triple H, because he knows John won’t give up the title and tarnish the company that he loves.
The act of acknowledging that John Cena is the company’s golden boy within the narrative would be a big step for the John Cena character, because while John is a company man through and through, unlike the people that run the company, John Cena has a moral compass that would have him object to the decisions being made on his behalf. Being the reluctant face of the WWE, the guy that Triple H and Stephanie have hand-picked to be their Champion and reap the benefits that come along with the WWE’s Authority being behind him, would cause John Cena to for the first time question the authenticity of everything he accomplishes and whether he truly has the will power and the ability that he thinks he does. The only way to shake the confidence of the unflappable John Cena character is to hand him everything he ever wanted, and not allow him to earn it.
It would certainly be an interesting and unique dynamic; almost a bizzarro offshoot of Austin vs. McMahon from the attitude era, where in this case the hero is fighting against a villain that actually wants the hero to succeed with as little resistance as possible. It would be the most conflicted we’ve ever seen the John Cena character be, and more importantly it would likely be the most compelling a John Cena storyline has been since the first match between he and The Rock at Wrestlemania 28 in Miami. The question is does the WWE’s creative team see the potential narrative I have just laid out just begging them to be pushed, and do they have the creative juice to not only implement, but also sustain it for an extended period of time? We’ll know for certain after TLC, but in the spirit of the holiday season, I will remain hopeful that they have something good up their sleeves (despite having no reason to).
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think! Would John Cena as the reluctant face of the WWE intrigue you? Do you believe that handing John Cena the world on a silver platter is the only way to break his unrelenting resolve and confidence? What do you think is going to come from the potential Title Unifying TLC Match between John Cena and Randy Orton?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying I am truly thankful to be part of TJR, and for any and everyone who visits the site. Without you guys I wouldn’t have a practical use for the hours a week I spend watching the WWE! Have a great weekend everybody!