Cena's move to the mid-card is a rare happening
For those that like to boo John Cena every time he steps into a WWE ring, might be happy now a days that he’s falling out of the top spot, and into a more of the mid-card position. But he needs to be given a lot of credit, as there hasn’t been much of a track record of top guys willing to step down into mid-card after having the main event spotlight shine on them for so long. If you look back to the 1970’s and early 1980’s guys like Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund would disappear after they lost the title. Even though Bruno would come back it was still often as a Main Event guys working with the likes of Rowdy Roddy Piper and Macho Man, Randy Savage. Pedro Morales is an example of someone who settled into the mid-card after his WWE Title regin, but he hardly had the run that Cena did as the Top guy.
Then there were the Hulk Hogans, Ric Flairs, and Macho Mans. Vince tried to bring Hogan back and gradually have him work as a mid-card guy in 1993,. but Hogan used his creative control to squash anything that would have put him there, so he went to WCW where he could have a fresh start as a top guy in that promotion. Flair also left WWE when he realized that he wouldn’t be the main focus on WWE TV anymore in 1993. Although WCW eventually forced him into the mid-card, he was never happy there, and was always fighting for political power to get back in the Main Event. Savage left WWE in ‘94 too because of the youth movement and enjoyed new life in WCW.
More main eventers would find a way out as we headed in the late 1990’s with Bret being screwed out of his top spot, and HBK being forced to retire due to his back injury. The top 2 guys in the Attitude Era would also never see mid-card as Austin took his ball and went home when they asked him to lose to Lesnar, and then his career was cut short due to injury anyway. And Rock left to pursue movies. Even Triple H got out when he was on top, and now as CEO, even when he loses, he still loses as a main event guy, like what will probably happen at WrestleMania with Sting. So Cena is the first guy in a long time to be the guy, but not leave because of injury or to pursue another career, or just leave... no, he’s willing to stay and move out of the way for guys like Roman Reigns, but still work with WWE talent like Rusev. Say whatever you want about Cena, but it takes guts to let the spotlight move away from you, but still go out to the ring and give it your all night after night. As today’s fans become pickier and pickier and think they should have the say, perhaps it’s best Cena gets out of the way but still proves that he is one of the all-time greats.