Levin: John Cena’s True Value To WWE Lies In His Past, Present, And Future

From start to finish, Cena will continue to help mold WWE until he hangs up his cargo shorts, writes David Levin.

What is left for John Cena to accomplish in the wrestling business? He’s a 15-time world champion, the biggest moneymaker WWE has ever had on its roster, and the mainstream superhero who has cache and is dating a hot model/wrestler (Nikki Bella). It’s hard to imagine Cena, who only has one more title run to tie Ric Flair for the most world titles in wrestling history, wrestling more than a handful of years before he hangs up his cargo shorts.

For the longest time, we all wondered out loud what would happen to WWE if Cena walked away or was injured for an extended period of time. At the end of last year and until Memorial Day, we all found out the answer to that question: the company survived. Wrestlers stood up and came forward. AJ Styles happened. Kevin Owens happened. The Miz and Chris Jericho happened.

WWE did just fine, despite plummeting television ratings and a world champion in Roman Reigns that no one wanted. Now, we all ask not what will happen when Cena leaves, rather how long before he moves onto television and movies on a full-time basis.

WWE is in the best place it can be right now. Styles, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins are white hot. Owens is a bad ass on his own. Jericho and Miz are must see television and there is now a supporting cast called the mid card which looks as strong as it ever has. Despite the lack of ratings and pay-per-view events sounding like funerals at times, things appear to be on the upswing.

Maybe everyone should channel their inner Aaron Rodgers and “relax” a bit.

After the current feud with Styles, what happens to Cena? Who is the next in line to face The Face that runs the place? How will this current program with Styles shape him for the remainder of the year? Does it put him in position to challenge the performer with the big gold belt? How have plans changed from a Reigns-Cena confrontation to a Cena-mystery man confrontation? Is there still hope for a Cena-Undertaker Legends Match at WrestleMania 33?

I know I’m asking a lot of questions, but Cena isn’t just any wrestler. If Sting was the “Franchise” of WCW, then he is the “Franchise” of WWE.

If Styles is right and he had joined WWE 15 years ago and Sting signed with the company after WCW was bought by the McMahon family, how would this landscape look right now? Part of Cena’s success has to be explained by what didn’t happen when it should have happened.

Undertaker may never get back in the ring. Kane is almost at the end of his career. Triple H is running NXT behind the scenes. Chris Jericho could bolt for a tour bus at any time. Cena keeps going in this new “Attitude” of WWE. When he does finally retire, there are plenty of bodies to fill the void he leaves. Deciding which one completes the circle is the hard part.

For now, Cena is every bit as important to the success and failure of this company as the other mid card and main event starts. Only when he hangs it up for good will we fully understand his value in WWE and the business he has helped to mold the last 12 years.

While one more title run is expected in the near future, it cannot be that far off. Cena may not be around much longer, but while he is on the roster, we can all enjoy what he means to this company—the one helped mold it as much as any wrestler in any generation. Cena may never be duplicated, no matter how hard WWE has tried in the past, is trying now, or will try in the not too distant future.

David Levin
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David Levin
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