While Daniel Bryan's recent neck surgery may make Vince McMahon and his team of writers panic and think they need to have John Cena plastered all over Raw more than ever right now, what the company truly needs to do is take the focus off of him and concentrate on newer stars.
There are persuading arguments for continuing to place the spotlight on Cena: He's still a big name, he's still the consummate company man, WWE has struggled to come up with a suitable replacement for him, etc.
These are valid points, but really, the company only creates more problems for itself by focusing so much on him.
For one thing, he has been plagued by various muscle tears and injuries over the last few years to be truly reliable. His habit of rushing back to action early—he was barely out for two months following serious surgery to repair a torn triceps last year—hasn't helped matters, either.
Throw in his age—he's 37—and you have to wonder just how much longer he will be able to keep going in the ring.
Inevitably, due to all the physical problems, he's not really the wrestler he once was, either. Oh, he's not awful or anything, but you can tell he's being far more cautious than he used to be. And rightly so.
His bouts against Bray Wyatt over the past few months have been fine but not great. The same holds true for his matches with Randy Orton earlier in the year. (Just check out the irate and borderline disastrous reaction from the fans in attendance throughout the pair’s infamous match at the Royal Rumble event in January.)
At a time when WWE is filled with guys like Bryan, Cesaro, Brock Lesnar and The Shield wrestling up a storm on television and pay-per-view, Cena's inability to hang with them in the ring is more glaring than ever.
It's simply not smart of the McMahons to continue to build the company around him.
Besides, if WWE is ever going to get over guys like Cesaro and Roman Reigns as Cena's replacements, then they're going to need plenty of airtime and regular main event spots.
The company needs to stop pushing Cena so strongly, too, for everyone’s sake.
Newcomer Wyatt has been aided by his feud against Cena, but not as much as he could have been had WWE not been so paranoid about protecting the former WWE champion.
Come on, was there any good reason for Wyatt to lose clean at WrestleMania XXX, other than the company just didn’t want its top star to come up short on the biggest event of the year?
Sooner or later—hopefully sooner—management will have to prepare for a future without Cena in it. He can’t go on forever.
(Unless the WWE production team happens to pour all its money and resources into devising a "Hologram Cena," who will be able to main event shows until the end of time. But I shouldn't be giving the company any ideas.)
And come on, does anyone really want to see the 12 Rounds star running to the ring at the age of 45 still wearing the same awful jorts, the same gaudy T-shirts and telling the same sophomoric jokes that are so dreadfully unfunny Adam Sandler may as well have come up with them?
I doubt even Cena, who seems to have a great deal of personal and professional pride despite what people may think, wants to see that. I think he would be more than happy to walk away when the time is right, but WWE has been so inept at finding a replacement for him, it’s just not on the cards.
Let’s hope the company can rectify this and build for a future where it doesn't absolutely have to have him around.
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