John Cena has been at the top of the professional wrestling world for more than one-and-a-half decades. He’s a 16-time world champion, main-evented 5 WrestleManias, won 2 Royal Rumbles and he’s a role model outside the ring. Cena has done more 'Make A Wish' visits than anyone else in history and is transitioning into television and movies. Cena is irreplaceable in more ways than WWE can even think of. When casual fans think of WWE, they still think of John Cena.
When Cena finally retires, WWE have to be very careful with who gets the honor. This person has to be talented enough and have enough of a connection with the crowd to be bestowed with the spot of being Cena’s ‘heir’. WWE have to be careful that this person will be able to carry the immense pressure on their shoulders.
A number of names come to mind from WWE’s current roster so let’s take a look at the possibilities.
#7 Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens made his main roster debut by taking out John Cena. He beat Cena clean in their first PPV match against each other and with WWE pushing Owens as one of the top heels of the New Era, Owens will be one of the top contenders to be John Cena’s last opponent with Owens possibly turning into a tweener following his match with Cena – Owens should never go full babyface, an anti-establishment tweener is a better fit for his style.
The former WWE Universal Champion and Cena can tear the house down on their night and the match will be one fit for the retirement of a legend like John Cena. Owens has the potential to be one of the faces of WWE – fans believe that he’s a once in a generation talent – and retiring Cena would help Owens break through the stratosphere and remain as one of the top names in WWE.
#6 Finn Balor
Finn Balor has achieved a whole lot in a very short period of time. Balor held the longest NXT Championship reign ever, before he was overtaken by Adam Cole, and became the first WWE Superstar in history to win a WWE World Championship on their PPV debut when he defeated Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam 2016.
Even though Balor had to relinquish the title the next night due to the injury, Finn Balor was still an enormous star. He may not have had the best run once he returned, but by going back to NXT, he once again established himself as a top Superstar. Balor will definitely be in the running to retire John Cena – especially if he’s a heel at the time. Balor’s retiring Cena would push Finn to Superstardom overnight and we all know how much faith Triple H has in Balor – Balor is definitely a Triple H guy.
The former Bullet Club leader and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion definitely has the pedigree to be Cena’s last opponent.
#5 Shinsuke Nakamura
The former NXT Champion definitely has the pedigree to be John Cena’s last opponent. Shinsuke Nakamura has impressed since WWE debut, and although he has not quite lived up to his potential, his matches have always been more than entertaining. He’s one of the top performers in the world, an internationally traveled veteran with boatloads of charisma and he’s slowly but surely introducing himself to WWE’s casual audience – and retiring Cena would instantly cement Nakamura as a big deal even to casual fans who may not be fully aware of his history.
Realistically though, Nakamura has very little chance of this spot but this match would be huge – the face of Japanese wrestling vs the face of WWE.