WWE Hell in a Cell 2013: Best Challengers for John Cena After World Title Win

David BixenspanFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2013

John Cena
John CenaWWE.com

John Cena loses one belt, leaves for two months.

John Cena returns, immediately wins the other belt.

Boy, some people are going to love that, aren’t they? Yes, last night at Hell in a Cell, John Cena defeated Alberto Del Rio to win the World Heavyweight Championship. It was a pretty simple match consisting almost entirely of Del Rio working over Cena’s injured arm, leading to some reversals and the Attitude Adjustment for the finish. This is Cena’s 14th world title in total, with 11 WWE Championships and three World Heavyweight Championships.

I guess this is sort of a return to the status quo, but not exactly. For now, barring WWE hot-shotting a unification match, since Cena never got a rematch after losing the WWE Championship, it looks like Randy Orton is the real champion in the main event storyline regarding The Authority’s nefarious plans. Since that’s highly unlikely, let’s take a look at who else is available right now.

Obviously, Del Rio is going to get a rematch pretty soon, since that’s how WWE works. Unless WWE orchestrated this solely for Cena to get a big moment in his return, then he’s probably going to be dispatched fairly easily, though potentially their feud could last a few more matches. Unlike in their previous matches together, they didn’t have very good chemistry at Hell in a Cell, so I hope they iron that out if they continue to be programmed together.

Looking elsewhere, Daniel Bryan is best kept away from Orton for now with way their series has gone. If he was slotted against Cena as a new challenger for that title, at the very least they’d likely have another great match together. Their SummerSlam main event was one of the best WWE matches this year, and a rematch would make whatever PPV event it was on a must-see. Unfortunately for Bryan, he’d just lose another major title shot, especially since Cena never got his win back after their first match, and WWE usually has everyone trade wins.

Damien Sandow is waiting in the wings with his Money in the Bank contract. Still, with the way he’s been booked lately, rarely winning and never over major opponents, it’s unlikely he’ll be booked in a key spot, main eventing a house-show tour, without successfully cashing in Money in the Bank first. Before, his comedy gimmick got in the way. Now that he doesn’t get any promo time, it’s…well, that he doesn’t get any promo time and can’t beat any upper-level stars.

One thing that’s good about Cena as champion is that with the unique way fans react to him, you can book him against more babyfaces than you could with other babyface champions. With most babyfaces, you’d only want to put him in babyface matches very occasionally. Since Cena is going to get mixed reactions at best no matter what, it opens up his options more than it would with someone like Daniel Bryan as champion.

With that in mind, I suppose CM Punk could also challenge him, but that depends on who’s challenging for Orton’s title. Punk may be in line there, now that he’s ostensibly blown off his storyline with Paul Heyman and Orton needs a new challenger. Alternatively, since Big Show is the obvious next opponent for Orton based on how the storylines have fallen into place, he could end up with Cena after Del Rio loses his rematch. It’s been two years since Cena and Punk have faced off as babyfaces (and eight months since their last match together in general), so it would be a relatively fresh matchup, too.

That’s just scratching the surface: Kane is back and not playing well with other babyfaces, having beaten up The Miz at Hell in a Cell (unless that was just because The Miz is awful). Ryback will be freed up for a new feud after he gets some nice wins, though he just feuded with Cena for a few PPVs earlier this year. Whenever Christian and Mark Henry return from their injuries, they could also be good challengers for Cena, though again, Henry had a recent program with Cena, though he was a heel at the time.

What does everyone else think? Who do you want Cena to face? Let us know in the comments.

David Bixenspan has been Bleacher Report's WWE Team Leader and a contracted columnist since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @davidbix and check out his wrestling podcasts at LLTPod.com.