John Cena had been a polarising figure in WWE during his time at the top of the promotion but now says things are in place that he could make his much clamoured-for heel turn, and it’s all down to Roman Reigns.
Cena ascended to the top of the WWE tree at WrestleMania 21 when he defeated JBL for his first WWE Championship. Beloved then by the WWE audience, he got one of the most rapturous receptions in Raw history when he was announced as the red brand’s number one draft pick that summer.
By the end of 2005 however, things had changed and some fans were already letting the distaste for Cena be heard. But this didn’t derail the one time Dr of Thuganomics as WrestleMania main event after WrestleMania main event saw Cena conquer some of WWE’s most iconic names. At times it seemed like ‘Big Match John’ really was ‘Super Cena’ after all.
One thing Cena definitively never did during his time at the top was turn heel. Even when demonic characters such as Kane and Bray Wyatt implored Cena to give in to his most villainous desires, he never did. Cena was Cena, like it or lump it.
Cena explained that it’s only now possible to consider it because WWE now has a definitive star that sits at the head of the table:
“I think this is the beginning to showcase the fact that it’s possible. As WWE invests and builds its roster, it has a wealth of talent and truly has many anchors to the ship now. Certainly Roman being a very, very marketable and definitive star.”
“I think the reason for me not to explore that side is because WWE didn’t feel confident they had any alternative. And I respect that business choice, I really do. But now with them really laying their foundation for the future, setting up life for the next decade or so, maybe… maybe. I don’t know.”
John Cena elaborated on how he thinks the pandemic era has helped Reigns no end in discovering who he is as a character that has allowed him to hit such heady heights of unmistakable superstardom.
“I think this time has allowed performers like Roman Reigns to un-obstructively mold his character. If you send him from city to city, there may be some audiences that don’t care what he has to say, and just want to boo or cheer him. But without that [obstruction], Reigns has absolutely needed this time, and in it, he has developed his personality, his character.”
“Reigns has found out who he is. So, now, when he goes back to live audiences, they are not confused. He spent this 15-month block to define who he is. And he’s the one who could benefit the most from it. On the other hand, established performers like myself would have had a difficult time with no audiences.”
If recent reports are to be believed then Cena and Reigns could be on a collision course very soon. The two men are rumoured to be WWE’s favoured option for this year’s SummerSlam main event.