John Cena: Five potential WrestleMania 34 opponents
As the WrestleMania card takes shape the face of WWE is still without a clear opponent. What options do WWE have for Cena?
In the wake of Elimination Chamber, the WrestleMania card is starting to take a more solid shape. We have Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar as our headline match. Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle are on a collision course with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, and Alexa Bliss will get ready for Asuka. But WWE’s leading man is still without a match.
John Cena’s efforts to get himself a big match at WrestleMania have been a pretty compelling story for a character as storied as the 16-time champ is. Of course, we all know that Cena will have a match at WrestleMania barring injury, but the only question is against who.
For months the rumor doing the rounds was that we would finally get Cena against The Undertaker at Mania, Cena even acknowledged that on Raw this week, but it doesn’t look like it is happening. Despite the poor quality of the match last year, the final scene of Undertaker leaving his outfit in the ring and descending into the bowels of the stadium was too perfect, and subsequent hip replacement surgery should surely mean the end of the road for the Dead Man.
Another obvious dream match would be against Indy icon Samoa Joe but the monster heel is currently sidelined with injury and a doubt to make it back in time for Mania. All of which leaves Cena in an intriguing limbo as we race towards the biggest show of the year.
So, who are the potential candidates to take on John Cena at WrestleMania 34?
Cena’s clean win over AJ Styles on Tuesday won him a place in the Fastlane main event for the WWE Championship, the winner of which will face Shinsuke Nakamura at Mania.
Cena-Nakamura was a match that just a few years ago would surely never happen, but as soon as the Japanese star signed with WWE fans immediately imagined the match happening. WWE gave us that match on SmackDown Live in August, with Nakamura winning in 13 minutes, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make fans giddy at the idea of it happening again.
Of course, this comes with the problem that Nakamura is wildly popular, especially with the type of fan that pays through the teeth for a WrestleMania ticket. And while him dethroning Cena to win his first WWE Championship would be a huge moment, Cena rarely loses at WrestleMania. He has only lost to The Rock and Batista in singles competition at Mania, and him beating Nakamura could spark a riot.
There is also the fact that Cena’s next championship will break Ric Flair’s “record” of 16 championships. Do WWE really want to do that at Fastlane in a six-way? I’m not so sure.
Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn
So if they want to line Cena up against a heel without a title on the line, then the leaders of the “Yep Movement” would be ideal candidates. Either of Kevin Owens or Sami Zayn could carry Cena to a strong match, and both can cut promos with him to build the program in the intervening weeks.
The pair are nominally feuding with Shane McMahon but the angle has been winding on for months now and is cooling off considerably, add in the fact that we have already had Shane vs Owens in a Hell in a Cell match and you have to ask what is left to accomplish with this angle. Sure, they could have a match at Mania, but it isn’t going to top Shane’s Hell in a Cell leap.
Putting them up against Cena would certainly keep the pair in the spotlight and reward their hard work over the last year.
I know, I know, “Cena vs Orton, how original”, but the two long-term rivals have never had a singles match at WrestleMania, and it seems odd not to put this together when both are at loose ends so close to the show.
While the match won’t be as good or as popular as it would have been three years ago, giving these two big names a match, perhaps even with the US Title on the line, would be one of those ‘WrestleMania moments’ Vince McMahon loves creating.
Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas
Cena’s most popular period in recent WWE history was his US Open Challenge. It was used to give wrestlers down the card a spotlight, and was the launching point for Kevin Owens. A similar deal could be struck by Cena having a WrestleMania open challenge and using it to introduce Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas to the main roster.
Almas is the current NXT champion and has been an excellent heel putting on excellent matches for a long time now. He and Johnny Gargano received NXT’s first ever five-star match rating from Dave Meltzer for their efforts at the last Takeover event, and he will be main eventing Takeover on WrestleMania weekend. While that seems like the time for him to drop the title, even if he is still champion it could be a terrific stage for Almas to debut and would really set him up well for his main roster career if he were to put John Cena out of action for a while.
While Cena seems set on SmackDown Live for now, Elias is a rising star on Raw without a clear WrestleMania match either. Currently feuding with Braun Strowman, it is tough to see that stretching all the way to Mania.
Elias has crossed paths with Cena in recent weeks and would thrive on the stage with a character like Cena to poke fun at.
If WWE wanted to put him against a wrestler of the future then they could do a lot worse than Elias. After all, we need to hear 75,000 people walk with Elias!
Who do you think Cena should face at WrestleMania 34? Vote below!