John Cena is once again a man on a mission. The 16-time world wrestling champion is a man without a dance partner at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. Like many other WWE superstars, he is building a case to be part of the main event – facing Shinsuke Nakamura for the right to headline the “show of shows” on April 8.
The story of Cena is one that has been told many times over – as the man who has been the glue of this company for years is to reinvent himself as a man on a mission. This year is no exception as he lost in Sunday’s Elimination Chamber match, only to appear on Monday Night Raw and tease a potential match with Undertaker, to moving over to Tuesday night’s SmackDown Live event. Cena beat WWE World Champion AJ Styles in the main event, giving him a spot in the “Six-pack Challenge” main event at Fastlane with the winner claiming gold and facing Nakamura.
If you are an ardent Cena fan, you like the storyline. You cannot get enough of your hero constantly working to be the best in the business, to remain on the top of the mountain. If you are a fan of WWE’s new plan – to promote other stars and capitalize on the success of Nakamura, Styles and others, then the speech Cena is offering is boring and unentertaining.
One thing that Cena still does more than any other WWE superstar is move merchandise and continues to be the most popular face of Vince McMahon’s brand. At some point, that will stop as Cena has his hands in many cookie jars. Is this the swan song of his career? Does this finally end in a confrontation with The Undertaker in less than six weeks?
This storyline, although intriguing, could still backfire on the company. Undertaker retired in the center of the ring following his loss to Roman Reigns in Orlando last year. Fans have not heard from the “Dead Man” which begs the question – was the unofficial ceremony and tribute to one of the all-time greats for not? How will fans perceive Undertaker coming back for one more match now that everyone has excepted he is not part of the company that made him a legend?
If Cena were to win at Fastlane and win the WWE Title, facing Nakamura, what does that do for Styles? The match between Nakamura and Styles has been the confrontation we all have talked about since WWE signed the International star. It’s like Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat or The Rock and Steve Austin. Does another opponent for the “King of Strong Style” have as much interest? Other than Finn Balor, I don’t see another WWE superstar who can excite the crowd regarding another matchup.
WrestleMania 34 already features a solid card. Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Asuka taking aim at either the Raw or SmackDown Women’s Title. A chance to see Bayley and Sasha Banks renew their rivalry. Seth Rollins and possibly The Miz for the Intercontinental Title. Bobby Roode and Randy Orton battling over the United States Title.
Of course, there will be more matches added as time draws near, which could include a Kevin Owens-Sami Zayn reprisal of their feud.
For now, however, Cena’s path is the most interesting because the subplot and cliffhanger is in play here. Let’s just hope it does not engulf the weeks leading up to April 8. Cena has hijacked pay-per-view events and storylines before. This is not a time for that to happen, despite how intriguing it may be.
You can follow David M. Levin on Twitter @DM719907