With CM Punk set to defend his WWE Championship against Ryback at TLC (Tables, Ladders and Chairs match) and then against The Rock at Royal Rumble, John Cena doesn't appear to figure into the WWE title plans in the near future. If I had my way, though, his drought without the belt would stretch well beyond the road to WrestleMania.
Cena has not held the WWE Championship since dropping it at Hell in a Cell last year and while he has been in the title hunt many times over the past several months, there is no real reason for him to regain the strap.
Things have felt fresh in the WWE over the past year despite the fact that the WWE Championship hasn't changed once, and that says a lot.
With all of that said, Cena is still the unquestioned top guy in the company and Vince McMahon can't put the title on him at any time if he feels it's necessary.
Some fans tend to exaggerate the WWE's issues and like to claim that poor ratings will cripple the company, but things are just fine and there's no reason to transition the belt to Cena based on panic.
Here are the top seven reasons why the leader of the Cenation should continue to be without championship gold for the foreseeable future.
I totally understand the argument for putting the WWE Championship on the biggest star in the company, but eventually new stars need to be groomed and giving them the title is one way to do that.
Cena is unbelievably over and no matter how long he goes without winning the belt or how many matches he loses, there simply isn't anything that is going to change that.
CM Punk, on the other hand, is the No. 2 guy in the WWE, but he's still settling into his top heel role.
It wouldn't make sense to take the title off him now, especially in favor of a guy who has already held for a record 10 times and accumulated over 1,000 days with the WWE's top prize in his possession.
The old way of doing things in professional wrestling was anchoring the title to the top star in the business and then forgetting about it. That's why the likes of Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund and Hulk Hogan all had title reigns exceeding 1,000 days in length.
The WWE Championship is now more useful as a tool for creating and furthering new stars, though, and giving it back to Cena would retard the progress of other deserving titleholders.
If there's one thing that I can't stand in professional wrestling, it's monotony. Realizing that something works and going back to that well a couple times is perfectly understandable, but doing it 11 times is a bit much.
John Cena is a 10-time WWE Champion and, while I'm not trying to downgrade his accomplishments or suggest he doesn't deserve the accolades, enough is enough.
The WWE Championship was passed around like a hot potato during the Attitude Era because of the amount of talent that was on the roster, but none of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, The Undertaker, Mick Foley or anyone else had double-digit runs with the title.
Cena has and even though he has been without it for a significant amount of time, it doesn't mean that he is owed an 11th reign.
We've pretty much seen everything that Cena can possibly do with the WWE Championship, so what's the point of seeing him repeat what he has already done?
I'm not naive enough to believe that he'll never be WWE Champion again, but it shouldn't be in the company's immediate plans. CM Punk's one-year reign has been special because it's different, and giving Cena the strap would be anything but different.
Nobody really knows for sure what is going to happen at WrestleMania XXIX, but the WWE has an incredible amount of options at its disposal. Putting the WWE Championship on John Cena ahead of the biggest show of the year would severely limit the possibilities, however.
Without the title, though, Cena will be available to fight essentially anyone on the roster and anyone Vince McMahon decides to bring in.
If Cena is champion, then he'll probably go against CM Punk, which is something we've seen on multiple occasions.
Without the title, however, a rematch with The Rock is in play, another bout with Brock Lesnar isn't out of the question and even a potentially massive encounter against The Undertaker and his 20-0 undefeated streak could take place.
Cena could still technically face one of those guys with the belt in his possession, but wins over The Rock and Lesnar would be obvious, and a match with Taker wouldn't need the title involved at all. It would be a waste when the WWE Championship could be used to make another contest seem more important.
Cena is a guy who can make a match a must-see affair based on his name alone and there's no need to complicate matters with the WWE Championship.
The saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," has been around for ages, but it still applies to this day, particularly in professional wrestling.
CM Punk has been WWE Champion for over a year and is likely to own the sixth-longest reign in WWE history if he defeats Ryback at TLC, however, the title picture is still interesting and there is no reason to throw John Cena into the equation.
Punk's detractors continue to point sub-par ratings as a reason to take the title away from him, but it's a senseless argument. The WWE has no actual competition like it did during the Monday Night Wars, so ratings are very much blown out of proportion.
The WWE is still healthy financially, merchandise is flying off the shelves and pay-per-view buys are consistently up from last year, so there is nothing that suggests Punk has been a poor champion.
It's not outside the realm of possibility that the ratings would see an uptick if Cena were to win the belt, but that shouldn't be the only consideration. Punk has had great feuds throughout the year and his current one with Ryback is fantastic due, in part, to The Shield's involvement.
I highly doubt that the angles would be as compelling if Cena held the title, especially since he has already faced essentially everyone. I care more about entertainment value than insignificant statistics, so I'll take Punk as WWE Champion over Cena any day of the week.
I'm certainly not the biggest John Cena fan around, but I can still manage to see how valuable he is to the WWE. From a storyline standpoint, however, he is much more valuable when he's chasing the WWE Championship than when he actually has it.
The thrill of the chase is a great thing in WWE, but once that chase is over, especially for a guy like Cena, things get stale quickly.
Cena hasn't had the title in over a year and I have found myself to be much more interested in him because of it. He overcame a tough loss to The Rock by beating Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules, he had a program with John Laurinaitis and he has faced CM Punk on a number of occasions as well.
The fact that Cena has been unable to pry the title away from Punk has been compelling because we aren't used to seeing Cena come up short as fans.
Seeing Cena with the WWE Championship may seem fitting, but that doesn't make it interesting or exciting. I love it when the diabolical heel has the title and the fan favorite has to go through hell and high water to get it.
That has been the case for Cena and I would prefer to see the chase continue. I can tolerate Cena in his current state because he isn't constantly winning, but that would change the second he wins the belt.
Regardless of whether or not John Cena is WWE Champion, and regardless of whether we like it or not, he is always the main attraction. More often than not he headlines events not matter what his status is with the title, and even when he doesn't, he is still part of one of the biggest matches on the card.
There are a couple of different ways to look at it, but I choose to believe that Cena being without the WWE Championship breeds deeper and more interesting pay-per-view cards.
Cena being without the belt is a catch-22 in that he steals the spotlight from whoever is in possession of it, but he also essentially accounts for a second main event.
Cena has almost always been in the final match of the card over the past year, and many are bitter about that since it relegated CM Punk to a lesser role despite the fact that he has been the WWE Champion.
It's definitely a tough situation, but I'll take two huge matches over one any day of the week, and if that means the WWE Championship has to go on second to last at some pay-per-views, then so be it.
Cena is the biggest name in the business and he makes every match he competes in seem like a big deal, so separating him from the WWE Championship makes perfect sense from a booking perspective.
John Cena will be WWE Champion again one day. He's the obvious face of the WWE just like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was during his era and Hulk Hogan was during his era.
Both of those guys received title runs well past their primes, and since Cena is only 35 years of age, he has plenty of time left to recapture the gold.
It shouldn't happen for quite some time, but keeping the belt off of him even longer is going to make it more special when he does regain it.
Even though I may not be a Cena fan, I can appreciate a great moment in wrestling regardless of who is involved in it. Cena has already been away from the WWE Championship for over a year, so why not stretch it to two or three years.
That may seem unfathomable, but most fans would have scoffed if I told them a year ago that Cena would go a full calendar year without being WWE Champion. The WWE has held off for this long, so it's worth extending even further.
Cena hasn't experienced a lot of adversity throughout his WWE career aside from a couple injuries. The past year has actually been his biggest rough patch from a storyline perspective and it has been refreshing.
Cena is a 10-time WWE Champion, so when he would drop the title only to get it back a couple months later, it meant nothing.
One of the most popular stars in the history of the business regaining the biggest prize in wrestling after a couple years without it would certainly be a sight to behold, however.