Have we said goodbye to John Cena?
John Cena has been the mainstay of the WWE for the last decade. In fact, it is hard to think of a more consistent performer and brand leader than John Cena through this time. If you didn't see WWE No Mercy on Sunday night you may not have seen Cena lose to Roman Reigns in what can only be described as an attempt to pass the torch from "The Face That Runs The Place" to "The Big Dog".
Cena, after his loss to Reigns, paused in the ring, ensuring that the crowd understood that this was not a regular night, ensuring that the crowd and fans who were present had seen a defining moment in his and Reigns' career.
That moment signified his departure from the WWE main event scene. With one emphatic gesture, where he sat hunched in the corner of the ring emotionally and physically spent, he paused and waited for the crowd to realise what they were witnessing.
He ascended to the top of the ramp slowly and deliberately, not the usual euphoric Superman image that we are all accustomed to witnessing but the silhouette of a beaten man. Reaching the top, he paused, gathered himself once more, turned and saluted the crowd - a show of respect and thanks to the fans who have followed him diligently.
Whilst I am sure that we will see John Cena in the WWE again, I believe that this may be limited to WrestleMania and SummerSlam appearances now. Given his burgeoning movie and TV career outside of the WWE and the financial rewards that would dwarf his income from Wrestling, Cena may be transforming into the very part-time Superstar, he stood against in the height of his career. But I believe it is only fitting to quote the man himself, "I can do this part time better than you could ever do it full time".
Cena followed up his loss to Reigns with an appearance on Raw Talk, where when asked what his thoughts were on the events of the evening he said that he felt that a "weight had been taken off his shoulders". That through the last month he had seen Reigns grow into an athlete that could take his mantle as "The Man" and run with it.
Whilst I am sure that a lot of this mantra was scripted to give Reigns the biggest push possible, it was fitting to see Cena put over a talent like Reigns, similar to how Kurt Angle sold for him on his first bout on televised TV for the WWE. The fact that in Reigns the WWE have a star that they are hell-bent on being the next John Cena may have made the decision for John to slowly walk away from the WWE far easier.
One of the issues that has arisen with the likes of The Rock over the last few years is that his success as a Hollywood entity has restricted his ability to work dates for the WWE. One, because his schedule will not allow it; and two, down to the movie studios stipulating that he cannot wrestle due to the risk or impact and/or the implications to given schedules if he cant act or has to recuperate from injuries received in a WWE ring.
Ultimately if this is the beginning of the end for John Cena, his position in the history of the company has been solidified twice over, and you can bet your house, children and life on him garnering a Hall of Fame induction, and it would be the shortest odds bet you will ever make.
Would we as fans who have been privileged to witness his work in the ring begrudge him a happy ending to his wrestling career along with fiance Nikki Bella? I think not. John Cena, we salute you!