Let me propose a hypothetical scenario: What if next week during a WWE RAW event, John Cena were to suffer a serious leg injury that required six months of rehabilitation?
Is there a WWE superstar who is truly ready to fill John Cena’s shoes? After all, Cena has been the face of the company for nearly the last decade.
But unlike with past WWE rosters, the WWE currently is suffering from a serious lack of mega-stars. Without John Cena carrying the weight, the WWE would be in serious trouble.
This is a very peculiar situation. When it comes to WWE legends, history tells us they grow in pairs.
The 1980s gave us Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage; arguably two of the most popular performers in wrestling history.
The next generation brought the fans Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, who in turn poured more heart into the business they cherished than any other men who came before them.
After that was Steve Austin and The Rock, who proved this week are still two of the most viable names in WWE history.
That brings us to the current generation. Alongside John Cena, who do we have? Does he have a counterpart? In 10 years when we look back at this era of The WWE, will John Cena stand alone?
Without a doubt the answer is yes. There is not one wrestler in The WWE who has been on Cena’s level for the last eight years.
Of course one could make great arguments for a number of people, but the fact that a case needs to be made for these wrestlers, almost proves that none of them are currently worthy of standing at the top of the mountain.
I am not talking about guys like Triple H or The Undertaker. Those two are workhorses who are legends beyond what most men could dream of.
But neither one of them are the face of the company. They are the backbone, and that is a completely different discussion for another time and place.
For what it is worth, I am not the biggest John Cena fan in the world.
For a long time I found myself in denial of his popularity and was eagerly waiting the quote-unquote next big thing in WWE. A few years back I began to realize what a force John Cena really was.
I did not want to believe that Cena, jean shorts and all, was on the same level as my childhood idol Hulk Hogan.
But when you attend a WWE event live, you can see it in the faces of thousands of kids. To them, John Cena is the WWE.
He is a larger-than-life force who stands up to evil at all costs.
When you sit back and look at the WWE objectively, you can only come up with one conclusion. John Cena is the same model number as Hulk Hogan.
What makes John Cena’s popularity unique is the fact that he has yet to have a counterpart.
Randy Orton maybe the closest thing to an equal, but with Orton being relegated to the Wrestlemania mid-card, it makes me wonder what his future really holds.
I tend to think that we have already seen the height of Orton’s popularity, and doubt that he’ll ever be a mainstream media success such as Cena.
The Miz is the one guy who has everyone’s ears perked lately. His charisma is currently unmatched, and his future is looking very bright.
The one thing that scares me is how underwhelming the WrestleMania main event with Cena was. Everyone knew The Rock was going to interfere at some point, which ultimately took away from the match.
On paper, it should have been great, but it wasn’t.
Of course the WWE is full of young talent with a ton of potential. But by the time the likes of John Morrison or Cody Rhodes get their real shots at stardom, it will be far too late to stand as generational counterparts to Cena.
As of now Cena stands alone, and I don’t think that is a good situation for the WWE. Right now is the time for a breakout star to take the wrestling world by storm, and give Cena a run for his money.
The one thing I do know is that John Cena will continue to carry the WWE on his shoulders for years to come, and there are millions of wrestling fans under the age of 13 who have absolutely no problem with it.
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