On next week’s episode of SmackDownLive, arguably the greatest WWE superstar in history John Cena will be making his return to the WWE. After months of filming and mainstream commitments, the 16-time world champion will be coming home. But this won’t be just a normal return; it come's with a twist. John Cena will be returning as a free agent.
The concept has not entirely been explained by the WWE, leading to several queries. Does this mean the leader of the Cenation will be on RAW and SmackDown every single week? Does this also mean he’s eligible for both brand’s PPVs?
This is perhaps the most interesting angle John Cena has been a part of in recent memory, the free agent status puts him above the status quo, giving him a role that nobody else on the roster has. It could be a stroke of genius, or it could be a disaster, we’ll find out.
Here are 5 interesting ways the WWE can perfectly book John Cena’s free agent role.
#5 Potential for big matchups on RAW
After spending the latter part of 2016 and the first half of 2017 having 5* feuds with SmackDown stars, it’s only fair that John Cena uses the 2nd half of 2017 to shed some limelight on Monday Night Raw. No one better represents a big game player than John Cena; his aura has the power to turn average feuds into main events.
Since the draft, there are now several Superstars that John Cena hasn’t engaged with. Names like Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns spring to mind. These are all potential matchups that could headline several pay-per-views.
This free agent status gives Cena the freedom to enter a programme with anyone the fans want, and his weighting in the wrestling business means he can turn pretenders into legitimate contenders for the throne.
Also read: 5 remaining dream matches for John Cena
#4 Opening segment for both shows
As we’re in the midst of a never-ending ratings crisis, both RAW and SmackDown need a substantial boost. Star power is lacking, and the WWE’s only crossover star left on the bill must do double duty to buck the trend.
As a free agent allowed to appear on both brands, John Cena should be in the opening segment on both SmackDown and Raw. The buzz of having the 16-time world champion open the shows would boost ratings and give both shows a sense of importance again. Nobody is a greater draw than Cena today, and his presence alone validates either show he appears on.
#3 Afford him title opportunities every week
Whether we all want to accept it or not, John Cena is the biggest star the WWE has today. He’s the man that garners the most mainstream attention and the largest buzz on social media. Everything he does is widely reported, so now it's time the WWE used the 40-year old free agent correctly.
Vince McMahon has often said it’s not the title that makes the man, it's the man that makes the title, and he’s right. For the current title holders in the WWE to be remembered as great champions, they need engaging contests that validate their reigns.
Their title reigns need to be made memorable through their title defences of it; this is where John Cena comes in. The 16-time world champion is the best candidate to help WWE elevate their champions. On both shows Cena could be used as the measuring stick to help the WWE Universe understand how much officials are currently invested in their belt holders, turning them into the stars they were meant to be.
#2 Hold open challenges on RAW & SDLive
When the best in the game announced, he’s returning to the squared circle, every single person interested in wrestling perks up. For as long he wears those outdated jorts, he will be the measuring stick for the wrestling industry.
The 40-year old’s US open challenges in 2015 were some of the most enthralling matches we’ve seen on WWE television this decade. Not only did the fans get to see their favourite underappreciated superstars, they saw them in bouts with the most-watched wrestler in the business. It not only gave them a run on TV, but it also allowed Vince McMahon to see the potential of those underused talents fully. Now the Cenation leader needs to bring that back to both shows as there are a plethora of superstars waiting to be utilised.
#1 Overall WWE Champion
Many of the dirtsheets are predicting that the American hero John Cena will be facing off against the Modern Day Maharaja Jinder Mahal in the near future. Whether that is to happen before or after Summerslam is unsure, but the feud looks pretty set in stone. When that occurs, the 16-time world champion will be a favourite to go over, and if he does, it will benefit the WWE as a whole.
Whilst being Universal Champion, the Beast has appeared on a handful RAWs since Wrestlemania. Why? Because he’s rarer than a part-time talent, he’s Brock Lesnar. He’s a champion that fights on PPVs that suit him and appears on shows that he’s paid for.
Now if John Cena were able to reclaim the WWE title, he would be a crossover champion who could perform on both shows, thus negating the never apparent Brock Lesnar. The title win could even set up an eventual Champion vs. Champion match at Clash of Champions between the two world title holders. How’s that for a ratings boost.
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