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John Cena and WWE’s “New Era”

Ever since WrestleMania 32 wrapped up WWE have been pushing this idea that they are in a “new era”. They went so far as to tell us that


Ever since WrestleMania 32 wrapped up WWE have been pushing this idea that they are in a “new era”. They went so far as to tell us that was the case about 5,000 times on this week’s RAW, and while this “new era” has so far been a lot of fun and given opportunities to new wrestlers it has all come without the presence of very established stars, most notably John Cena. Cena, who has been out since January with a shoulder injury, left a void in RAW’s 3 hours that has been filled by the likes of Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, Apollo Crews and Enzo & Big Cass. While not all of the new faces have been met positively (sorry Roman) the overall response has been very good, even if the ratings are still down. The “internet fans” are complaining a lot less and just personally the 3 hours seems to flow more easily than it did in the past. But with John Cena’s return billed for 30th May that could all change. John Cena is a draw for WWE. Barring “The Summer Of Punk” and Daniel Bryan’s run John Cena has been the king of WWE for a decade. He sells the most merchandise, he does the most Make-A-Wish visits. He is the undisputed face of the franchise. Which means when he returns he is going to get screen time again, and a lot of it. So how does this mesh in with WWE’s current plans? The new stars have thrived with the extra screen time, the Womens division has taken off and they’ve even expanded the tag team division – all thanks to the absence of “Big Match John”, but some of that will have to go now to make room for Cena. Roman Reigns’ omnipresence will have to take a back seat, which could be a good thing for the embattled Champion. Cena’s return will, according to Vince McMahon, be shortly followed by Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt – further pressuring the “new era” to make way for the establishment. While Rollins and Wyatt certainly fit the mold of “new era” stars they will also pull TV time away from Baron Corbin, The Vaudevillains and Emma. While a Brand Split has been theorised a lot recently, especially with the impending Stephanie & Shane McMahon feud, it would leave each roster very thin were another injury bug to go through the locker room. So just how can WWE fit Cena into the “new era”? It’s unlikely he goes right into the main event, not with Roman Reigns’ tenure as champion so tenuous and unpopular. He’s never held the Intercontinental belt, so he could jump into that scene but it’s probably the best thing WWE have going right now with The Miz, Cesaro, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn working the crowd into a frenzy. Maybe he comes back and goes after the US title once again. WWE let the belt slide straight back into nothingness when he lost it so maybe they redo the open challenge, which was one of the most universally liked things Cena has ever done. Whichever direction it is they go in Cena’s return will be controversial. It will inevitably include him beating some of the newer talent, leading to more “LOLCENAWINS” and burial calls, and it will shine a light on Roman Reigns’ poor reactions. While Cena gets a loud “John Cena Sucks!” at his entrance most of it is in jest and he is still mostly cheered during his matches. The same can not be said for Reigns. Personally I’ve never been a fan of Cena’s, but I am very interested to see if WWE stay committed to the “new era” when he returns.


Toby Durant

A passionate and opinionated writer, I am currently the NFL editor for RealSport. However, I also contribute to F1, WWE, Football, and other sections of the site, and I have covered the NFL International Series for RealSport and previously contributed to SB Nation.

 

I also have 10 years playing and coaching experience in American football, starting at the University of Nottingham and including a stint as defensive coordinator at Oxford Brookes University. I may be a Patriots fan but all aspects of the sport interest me, from guard play to special teams.

John Cena and WWE’s “New Era”

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