With WWE’s roster everchanging, the list of potential opponents is just as fresh as it was the last time Cena appeared. So, let’s look at five potential opponents for John Cena as he returns to WWE.
Ezekiel vs. John Cena is a match that writes itself, and quite frankly, the WWE Universe deserve to see this match.
Their history spans back as far as WrestleMania 35, when John Cena came out as the Doctor of Thuganomics and verbally berated Ezekiel’s ‘older brother,’ Elias.
Having embarrassed a member of Ezekiel’s family at the Showcase of Immortals, it would only be right for Ezekiel to be seeking retribution, and what better stage to stick up for your older brother than at Summerslam?
If a match isn’t to be, then the bare minimum WWE can do is an interaction between the two, as Ezekiel having to convince people he isn’t Elias will never get old.
4. Carmelo Hayes
Turning our attention now to someone that John Cena has never shared a ring with, Carmelo Hayes.
Akin to Ezekiel, the seeds for a Cena and Hayes interaction have already been planted. In Hayes’ second NXT match ever, he confronted Adam Cole and stated he had the “ruthless aggression” needed to compete against him.
Paying homage to the infamous John Cena debut promo in 2002 against Kurt Angle, Hayes has spent the past year proving himself in NXT 2.0 as one of WWE’s finest stars for the future, and what better way to test himself than against the originator of the “Ruthless Aggression” line.
With Raw and SmackDown Superstars starting to visit NXT 2.0 more often, it wouldn’t be a ridiculous idea to think John Cena could be one of the few to visit WWE’s developmental system, 20 years since graduating from it.
3. Drew McIntyre
Now to fantasy book a match that could seriously main event any WWE Premium Live Event, and what better time to have that match than at SummerSlam, or even Clash at the Castle, in the UK?
To date Drew McIntyre and John Cena have managed to avoid each other during their respective WWE careers, but it could be time to change all that.
When John Cena was at the pinnacle of WWE, McIntyre was never at the level to face the ‘Face of the WWE,’ and just as he finally fulfilled his prophecy as “The Chosen One”, it was at a time Cena began to move away from the company.
Given this, the pair have never shared the ring one-on-one, and with McIntyre being framed as WWE’s top babyface, what better to pass the torch from WWE’s past to WWE’s present.
2. Bron Breakker
Back to NXT 2.0, and with Bron Breakker standing atop the brand, what better way to establish this star to the WWE Universe than against John Cena.
There are parallels to Cena and Breakker’s careers, with Cena’s start in OVW and Breakker’s in NXT 2.0 being reminiscent of each other. On top of this, Breakker is almost a regen of John Cena, in the sense that he is positioned as a likeable, athletic, marketable babyface.
Obviously, Breakker has years of work to do to reach the level of John Cena, but having already shared the ring with the likes of Dolph Ziggler, Ciampa, Bobby Roode and Gunther, and with John Cena being at a point in his career where he is here to put people over, what better chance then to solidify a future star in Bron Breakker than now.
The number one choice for John Cena’s opponent, and the most realistic of all, is the United States Champion, Theory.
Theory vs. John Cena has been teased for weeks now, with the 16-time World Champion stating he wants to give Theory an Attitude Adjustment, while Theory persistently mocks Mr Hustle, Loyalty and Respect in return.
Theory is WWE’s next up-and-coming megastar, and at such a young age, his early career is a weird combination of John Cena’s and Randy Orton’s, with his charisma, physique and success being a perfect combination of the two.
A match at SummerSlam seems inevitable, and WWE is clearly very high on Theory. Given everything he has done in the past several months, the best way to establish Theory as a legitimate United States Champion would be to have him face off with one of the best United States Champions of all time.
Theory will be a WWE World Champion before we know it, and the next step to that is by defeating John Cena at the Biggest Party of the Summer.