Right now in the WWE, there is a 35-year-old superstar with personal issues going on in his life, an incredible work schedule, very mixed reactions from fans and a character that seems to be hitting a dead end creatively.
This superstar's name is John Cena and he is one that I don't like to make a big deal about very often. Enough people do way too much of a job of that for me as it is. This is a realistic look at John Cena's place in WWE right now and why, despite him being the face of the company, he needs some time off.
First off, his age is concerning. Cena celebrates his 10-year anniversary in WWE in just five short weeks, so hitting your mid-30s is expected, especially given all that Cena has done over the years. Still, assuming that we won't be seeing Cena pull a Ric Flair and wrestle to an incredibly old age, we are easily at the halfway point for John Cena's career. Triple H is a part-time wrestler at age 42, as is The Rock at age 40, so Cena and his drive to compete could keep him in WWE for another five to eight years realistically.
Cena's body is not unbreakable in the least bit. It was Cena who was a long-time WWE Champion before suffering a tear of the pectoral muscle nearly five years ago. Cena is also nearly four years removed from surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck. Few superstars in wrestling have been indestructible. That includes Cena.
For Cena, his times of hiatus have either been short-lived or to cover up filming for a movie. Why is it that Cena cannot just have some time off to rest? I give him every bit of credit that he deserves for his work ethic, but the key to longevity is pacing yourself. John Cena can lose all of this tomorrow like Edge did. Thankfully, Edge avoided life-altering injuries and avoided being relegated to a wheelchair. Let's try to see if Cena can do the same thing, please.
John Cena is also dealing with personal issues involving his marriage, and a very public series of updates regarding a potential divorce. Cena married his wife, Elizabeth Huberdeau, in July 2009. I won't bother getting into any details that have been featured on gossip sites like TMZ. The fact is that it is a personal matter between Cena and his family. Too often, a death in the family or a significant change in personal issues can impact a professional athlete's work ethic and the way that they operate in their job. Cena doesn't seem distracted just yet, but time could bring that out in him.
There is also the storyline aspect to this idea. Cena had to try very hard to stay relevant and also stay safe over the course of the last year in hyping up the WrestleMania clash with The Rock. Since that night, Cena has lost to The Great One, gotten beaten down by Brock Lesnar and embarrassed by John Laurinaitis. Cena is already a 12-time world champion in his career, among the greatest of all time. How much longer can they keep him out of world title matches and have him main event pay-per-views against the likes of Big Show and Kane?
The anti-Cena fans are still out in full force, especially when it is Cena who takes the spotlight away from the world title picture involving such stars as Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. Those two put on a fantastic match at Over the Limit, but the focus of the company's reaction still steers toward the face of the company in Cena. Instead of having CM Punk, the WWE Champion, open up the 10 p.m. time slot on RAW, why can't he make it into the main event consistently?
Time away will help boost Punk and others, while Cena can take some time off to heal emotionally and physically. This also gives a major boost to a heel who takes him out, likely a guy like Big Show or Lord Tensai. The biggest heel reactions in the company need to stop being given to Vickie Guerrero and John Laurinaitis, two non-wrestling members of the roster. A Cena hiatus makes his return that much more special. Was there a person in Madison Square Garden that was not cheering for John Cena upon his return in the Royal Rumble a few years ago?
It sounds like a bad business move, but Cena merchandise will still sell even without the leader of the Cenation around. It did when he made movies and when he was injured. Cena can continue the media blitz that he does, but won't have to worry about the constant travel across the country and over to other continents. The workload can be taken away from him and his return can come at a major event, perhaps SummerSlam. His first official match in his return could be slated for the following pay-per-view, Night of Champions, which takes place in Cena's hometown of Boston.
As this country takes a breather with the Memorial Day holiday weekend, it wouldn't be the worst thing for John Cena to take a little bit of time off, refresh his batteries, take care of his personal life and return to doing the job that he loves.