Full Predictions for John Cena's World Title Reign
John Cena can once again proclaim "the champ is here," after he won the world title from Alberto Del Rio in his first match back from injury.
His third reign as world champ has already seen him suffer and prevail, but what will come next?
Looking back at his history with major championships, particularly the World Heavyweight Championship, one can see patterns to help answer the biggest questions about this latest reign.
How long will Cena stay champion? Who will beat him and how?
The following predictions address those questions and others.
Cena Will Boost Interest in SmackDown
John Cena can't turn SmackDown into Raw or Raw into Monday Night Football in terms of ratings, but there's no argument about his star power.
His devoted fanbase, decked out in Cena wristbands and T-shirts, will have an added reason to watch WWE on Friday nights. The World Heavyweight Championship, even after the end of the brand split, has been featured more than the WWE title on SmackDown.
Cena's stepping in as champ will pull in additional viewers.
How big of a pull he will have remains to be seen, but going from Alberto Del Rio to Cena as the show's main champion is a way to increase the buzz. Cena has about five million more Twitter followers than Del Rio, which is just one indication of the chasm between them in terms of popularity.
His Reign Won't Last Until 2014
Edge ended Cena's WWE Championship reign at 42 days.
The path to John Cena's 14 world championships has been built with short reigns.
Aside from his 280-day and 380-day runs as champ, Cena's time atop the mountain has been mostly short. Since 2009, he was either the world heavyweight champion or WWE champion for as brief as 21, 20 and 14 days.
In fact, the average time frame for his reigns from 2009-2013 is 56 days. WWE clearly likes the drama of him winning and losing the title.
That's why he is quickly approaching Ric Flair's record numbers after just a decade of service. That's also why it's a safe bet that he won't last until Royal Rumble with the big gold belt.
His Injured Arm Will Continue to Be Major Storyline
As his form of kryptonite and a means to create empathy with the audience, Cena's recently recovered arm will remain a central plot point in this world title reign.
The buildup to his title win against Alberto Del Rio at Hell in a Cell, as well as his first title defense the very next night, centered around Cena surviving despite his enemies attacking his arm. Expect this to continue.
It's not as if he will be allowed to rest the recently repaired limb. His enemies will be zeroing in on that weakness in backstage attacks, unsanctioned brawls and any title defenses in the near future.
The injury angle is an arc that extends beyond a single foe and may lead to him losing the championship.
Damien Sandow Will Eventually Win the Title from Him
Damien Sandow fans will have to be patient. His failed cash-in attempt is not likely to be his last go at Cena and the World Heavyweight Championship.
It's hard to imagine Alberto Del Rio winning the title back, as he's been champ for the majority of 2013. The line for challengers beyond him isn't long.
Ryback has fallen down the card, and guys like Dolph Ziggler's and The Miz's babyface status, not to mention a number of recent losses, makes them unlikely candidates as well.
Enter Sandow, who is sure to be angry about coming up short against Cena.
His loss was likely meant to be a way to begin a push toward becoming champ. It creates a catalyst for a Sandow vs. Cena feud, and if Mick Foley is right, it will be the beginning of the era of Sandow.
Cena will have to lose the title at some point, and losing it to someone in need of getting put over makes the most sense, even if WWE would have been better off having that happen during Sandow's cash-in.
His Loss Will Come with an Asterisk
Cena loses his title in a Fatal 4-Way match.
When Cena eventually gives way to the next world champ, his history says it will be in a match where he will face multiple opponents or be the victim of outside inference.
In 2009, his first World Heavyweight Championship reign ended in an Elimination Chamber match. That same year, he lost the title to Edge thanks to Big Show chokeslamming him into a spotlight.
Extenuating circumstances often can explain his previous title losses. Vince McMahon ordered him to defend it right after winning the Elimination Chamber. In two other losses, Cena had to defend the title in a Triple Threat match at Hell in a Cell 2011 and in a Fatal 4-Way bout, which he did at the pay-per-view of the same name in 2010.
Whether Damien Sandow, Alberto Del Rio or someone else dethrones Cena, bet on it being in a similar situation—one that does little to damage Cena's Superman aura.