John Cena has been a mainstay of WWE's main event scene for nearly eight years now, but with blossoming superstars such as Antonio Cesaro and Dolph Ziggler emerging, the company need to start preparing for when Cena eventually hangs up his boots.
At the age of 35, Cena's retirement is hardly nigh, but WWE's reliance on Cena for ratings—prioritising him over title matches was the theme in 2012—indicates new stars must be pushed to step in should Cena ever suffer an injury or take time off from the ring.
WWE has done a suitable enough job in building main-eventers such as Sheamus, CM Punk, Ryback and Alberto Del Rio in recent times, but as of right now, Cena's shadow still hangs over all four.
In relation to building the next face of a generation, it could indeed be when Cena next vacates the ring for a prolonged spell that we witness the birth of a new icon.
Here, I'll examine the most likely candidates to reign in the next five to 10 years, with the long-term future in mind as opposed to ranking current stars most likely to further step up in Cena's absence.