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WWSD Blog 2.1: John Cena's Path to Wrestlemania XXIX

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So, in the last instalment of this blog I looked at what I would do with Brock Lesnar leading up to the Royal Rumble 2013 in order to lead to next year's proposed Wrestlemania XXIX main event against The Rock. The next instalment may seem a little out of place, seeing as it will be about John Cena, who is not involved in the match itself, but hopefully my reasoning for including him in this mini-series will become clear by the end!!

Cena’s Path
Cena is in limbo at the moment. He lost to The Rock in the “biggest match of all time” having been so confident that he wouldn’t, and now he’s being kicked around Raw by Brock Lesnar. The match with Lesnar at Extreme Rules is must win for him if he is going to get back to being top dog in the WWE. When he therefore doesn’t win the match, it leaves him all at sea, his confidence lower than it ever has been and leaving him really staring into the abyss of accepting that he just isn’t as good as he used to be.

However, before Extreme Rules, there is (supposedly, although not much has been made of it which could mean it is no longer going to happen!) the small business of the 2012 Draft to deal with, and this is where I’d shake things up a little bit – John Cena goes to Smackdown! I know I may get a few snorts of derision for ever suggesting such a thing, but I actually think it could be a good change in many ways, even if it was just for a year. Smackdown is rapidly going down in quality and in the ratings, and desperately needs a shot in the arm if it is going to maintain credibility – Cena could do that. With Lesnar, Punk and Orton (goes to Raw as another draft pick) as well as Jericho, The Rock and HHH when they’re around, Raw has a wealth of big name stars so it doesn’t need Cena to be attractive every week whereas Smackdown does. It offers up new feuds, and allows new people to step up over on Raw which again would liven things up. Storyline wise as well, it could also be played up as a “demotion”, which could be a good way to make this happen even if the draft doesn't take place until later on in the year - Laurinaitis thinks it would be better to have Orton on Raw and Cena on Smackdown, so he makes the swap because he has that kind of power. Either way, for the sake of my storyline, Cena ends up on Smackdown, Orton on Raw!!!

So, having been moved to Smackdown and losing to Lesnar at Extreme Rules, John Cena is at an all time low. He’s lost two high profile matches in a row, his position as the face of the WWE has been questioned and now he’s stuck on the second rate show for at least a year. Most people would throw in the towel. Most people would turn their back on the fans, say how it hasn’t gotten him anywhere and how he needs to start doing things for himself. But this is John Cena we’re talking about, and he’s not most people. He sucks it up and he gets on with it. He faces up to the challenges life throws at him and he never backs down. Like it or not (we won’t go into that now!), that is his character, and I genuinely believe that this character can work given the right context.

Cena comes out first Smackdown after Extreme Rules, and publicly states that he’s never been so low in the WWE. He just can’t seem to catch a break at the moment, but that doesn’t mean he’ll give up. He’s too much of a man to give up, and he will never stop believing that he will get back on top because he knows he can do it again. He thought he was untouchable at the top; he may have lost focus because of that, but one thing for damn certain is that he is going to learn from that, get bigger, badder, better, faster, stronger and he will earn his way back to the top again. Instantly people will say “prove it”, and people will once again have some form of investment in Cena. It will keep him as the same honourable, respect-driven, role-model character but actually make it something new. Fans hate that character because with Cena it’s formulaic, and he never goes down far enough to make coming back up a big deal. At the end of the day all faces are like Cena. The reason we cheer for faces is because they fight the good fight and they earn their way from the bottom to the top. Hell, that’s even why we cheered Cena in the first place all those years ago when he first reached the summit! The reason people have stopped cheering him now is because he hasn’t fallen from the top for essentially seven years. “You’re still at the top – great, change the record.” He needs to be knocked off the pedestal, because it will make it all the sweeter when he climbs back onto it again.

This could go several ways, but the way I’d like to see it is for him to go into a feud with Cody Rhodes off the back of Extreme Rules. Cody comes out and says that if John thinks it’s going to be an easy ride back to the top then he is dead wrong. He may think Smackdown is the minor leagues, but that doesn’t mean that there is a lack of talent on Smackdown and he’s going to show him that. Leads to a match at Over The Limit, which Rhodes wins, maybe in a dirty fashion just to continue the feud on to our next PPV. We continue on with the “you’re finished with” feud until No Way Out, where again Rhodes and Cena face off, but again Rhodes wins, and this time cleanly, with no disputable calls or anything like that. He is just the better man. A great way to put Rhodes over as a main-eventer and can lead to him going into a World Heavyweight Title Feud, and a great way to sink Cena further.

Cena comes out after being beaten by Cody and says that maybe he underestimated Smackdown. Maybe this was going to be harder than he thought, and maybe he’s going to have to work even harder to get back to being number one in the WWE. This starts him in a feud for the Intercontinental Title – first of all having to earn a title shot, and then winning it (probably from the Big Show) at a PPV. Gives the Intercontinental Title a bit more prestige and gives Cena a believable reason to win his first IC belt.

With the Intercontinental Title around his waist, John Cena is starting to feel confident again. He defends the belt a few times, and starts building up some wins under his belt, reigning for a couple of months and being a fighting champion, also giving him a way to feature on the Night of Champions PPV being held in Boston. Shortly after this though, Cena gets booked in a triple threat title defence in which he loses his title by not being pinned. The winner is a “sneaky, cowardly heel” – possibly Christian if he’s not being better utilised elsewhere – who wins the contractually obliged rematch by cheating, putting that heel character over as well as keeping momentum with Cena who never technically got pinned to lose his title.

Survivor Series arrives, and in the run up Cena is chosen to be on a team for a traditional 10 man elimination tag team match, not as team captain, but as a team player for someone else who is above him in the pecking order (doesn’t really matter who). In the match Cena does very well – he is a valuable asset for his team and a lot of credit has to go to him for the eventual win. He doesn’t bitch and complain that he is not a team leader, he just gets on with helping the team – maybe even sacrificing himself and getting eliminated so that his team leader can pick up the win, not him. It earns his team leader’s respect, and they share a handshake to enhance Cena’s legitimacy – “I respect you for the effort you’ve put in thus far, so should the fans”. The first indication that maybe Cena is on his way back to the main event.

After Survivor Series a new No. 1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Title needs to be found, and John Cena throws his name into the hat for consideration. A No. 1 Contender, Fatal Four Way Ladder match is announced for TLC, featuring Kofi Kingston, Alberto Del Rio, Daniel Bryan and John Cena. There’s back and forth banter as to who’s going to win, but when we get to the PPV John Cena is the man who climbs the ladder and retrieves the contract for a title match at the Royal Rumble. He plays it up as the biggest moment of his year, gets very emotional and sells the fact that this is his ticket back on top.

This once again leaves us at the Royal Rumble, so once again it’s time to jump to another path, this time the path of the Great One himself.....

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