#4 Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins is already a star. A former member of The Shield and the first NXT Champion, Rollins was also the first person in history to cash-in his Money In The Bank contract during a Wrestlemania main-event – Rollins has had a storied history with John Cena including their title vs title match at SummerSlam 2015 which Cena lost after Jon Stewart hit him with the steel chair. Rollins also broke Cena’s nose on the road to SummerSlam which left John Cena out of action.
Cena vs Rollins has already taken place before but Rollins will still be in the contention to be the one to retire Cena. Rollins is one of the most popular Superstars WWE have right now and has the potential to be a red hot babyface as well as a smarmy heel. Cena and Rollins have already shown us that they have great chemistry in the ring so the match itself will be one for the ages.
WWE has also shown that they have a lot of faith in the former member of the Shield, and that might play a part in him getting to be the one to actually retire the Leader of the Cenation.
#3 CM Punk
This one has the least chance of happening but wouldn’t it be the perfect choice for every smark out there? CM Punk has repeatedly said that he never intends to return to WWE in the ring. However, he was not exactly successful in MMA and lost on his UFC debut against Mickey Gall. Punk tapped out in under 30 seconds and even though he entered the Octagon again, it was to another losing effort. It has been clear for quite some time that the 37 year-old doesn’t have much of a future in MMA even though he reportedly wants another UFC fight.
Even though Punk has said he’ll never return and he has been very outspoken about WWE which went as far as him being involved in a lawsuit filed by WWE doctor Chris Amann, there’s no doubt that Punk and WWE could do phenomenal business if he returned. He has already put aside a lot of his differences with the company and joined WWE Backstage, where his segments are extremely popular. We all know that Vince McMahon is capable of putting personal issues aside for business.
We all remember Punk and Cena’s history together. Punk’s famous pipebomb promo had some really scathing things about John Cena and their match at Money In The Bank 2011 with CM Punk threatening to leave WWE with the belt if he won (kayfabe). Punk retiring Cena could be an option that WWE could explore – this all depends on if CM Punk re-signs with WWE in an in-ring capacity.
#2 Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns probably has the most chance of being John Cena’s opponent – a decision hardcore WWE fans might have vehemently disagreed with a couple of years ago. Roman has been relentlessly pushed by WWE in the last couple of years in the face of increasing fan backlash. In a way it will be apt, the most polarizing Superstar in WWE history being retired by the most polarising Superstar of the New Era polarizing Superstar in WWE history being retired by the most polarising Superstar of the New Era.
Undoubtedly, ‘The face that runs the place’ vs ‘the guy’ will be a huge match even though the live crowd will be split through the middle. But, isn’t that the beauty of Cena matches? The match will have a unique atmosphere and will deliver in the ring.
No matter what the internet wrestling community may choose to believe, Roman has come forward in leaps and bounds inside the ring over the last few years and Cena is good enough to work with Reigns to make it believable. With his struggle with Leukemia, fans have forgiven a lot of the issues that existed with Roman's earlier push, and this might well be the match to make.
#1 Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn has the potential to be the biggest babyface of the New Era. There’s something very Daniel Bryan-esque about him. Zayn is one of the purest babyfaces you’ll ever come across and he has the potential, talent, and connection to be Cena’s successor. He has also shown his ability to be a natural heel when the time calls for it, and has been one of the more cowardly heels, using the help of multiple Superstars to get exactly what he wants. WWE has not always seen him as the biggest star, and that has been obvious, but it has felt like that impression is changing slowly.
Zayn has shown the WWE Universe what he’s capable of when he has a good storyline and a good opponent. He’s also an extremely talented in-ring performer and will definitely be able to take Cena’s place as WWE’s go-to babyface if he receives the proper booking. He’s as polished outside the ring as he is inside it and should also be able to take Cena’s non-WWE responsibilities in his stride.
Cena vs Zayn could easily be a babyface vs babyface match, or it could even have Zayn show his heelish nature along the way. However, the match could be even more intense if Cena shows a few heelish tendencies – resulting from his jealousy of Zayn, who he sees as a younger version of himself (and a better wrestler).
Whether this will ever happen or not remains up in the air, but if it does, it has the potential to be one of the best matches of all time. All Zayn needs is a proper push.
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