WWE Reborn: John Cena's Potential Heel Turn and 7 Other Thoughts
WWE has seen a year of epic proportions so far.
The year started with abject state of things with no possible solution in sight for the woes of WWE programming.
Every new thing WWE had tried had fallen flat on its face. Sudden retirement of Edge, and inactivity of Undertaker, Triple H further deepened the grave.
Nine months later here we stand, and it seems that an era has changed within such a little span.
Well, the era has actually changed.
We were talking about how WWE should create its future in January. Today we are a part of that future.
What we have today is a complete turnaround of things. From a time when character turns did no good, we have to come a time where Mark Henry and R-Truth are two of the flagship heels of the company.
From the time when John Cena and Randy Orton were the only legitimate main event faces, we have reached a stage where CM Punk and Sheamus threaten to overhaul Cena and Orton in their respective kingdoms.
Poor Pay-Per-Views, lacklustre short term storylines, immaterial Raw and SmackDown episodes have all become a past to great extent.
Today we are actually waiting for the next Raw, and next SmackDown.
To this situation in few simple words...
1. WWE Has Born Again, in Spirit and in Flesh
As I said in the first slide, we have a whole new era unfolding in front of our eyes. It is no longer about the ratings and merchandise. Today we are witnessing a rebirth of the content and of the programming.
WWE used one simple trick. They used social media and a clever blend of reality and key-fabe to usher in the new era. They successfully utilized the Internet to defy Internet.
While embracing the reality era, they went back to the classic story telling. Instead of taking a few weeks to finish the story, they took a few weeks to introduce the story. At every PPV, the story took one step forward. They introduced new characters when needed.
At least in story line, the new regime has assumed the reigns of WWE and the power struggle between two guards has ensued chaos.
What we are witnessing today is an eternal game of chess in the wrestling ring.
Somebody is the immobile king, who is pulling the strings rather silently. The queen, the knights and rooks are all floundering and waging their swaggers rather than instincts. In such a game even a pawn has a purpose, and WWE is actually letting it have one.
During all this mayhem, new characters have been born and have breathed fresh life in WWE.
I am talking about a range of people when I say that. Sheamus, Mark Henry, R-Truth, Cody Rhodes, Ziggler and Swagger, Airboom, Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett and Christian all have played their parts excellently.
However, above them all three individuals have carried this torch through. John Cena, Triple H and CM Punk in ascending order have paved the way to this moment. They played their role to perfection and in doing so made CM Punk the new flagship star of Raw.
With CM Punk, Triple H, Sheamus and a hoard of others behind them, we are seeing the new body of WWE.
Within that body lives a new soul, a rather vibrant one. It has every ingredient that has made pro wrestling so endearing to generations of fans. Those ingredients are the fundamental elements of pro wrestling. Let us discuss them next…
2. The Heart of Pro Wrestling Is Beating Again
It will be a foolish question to ask, "how does the heart of pro wrestling beat? Where is that stupid heart, if it exists?" It’s a ridiculous question, isn’t it?
Well I have an answer for this question.
The heart of pro wrestling is its audience. It beats with the dropped jaws, wide eyes and acute anticipation. The experience of pro wrestling becomes surreal when a goose bump follows the moment.
Lately, we are seeing hot crowds at many events. The opening segments of Raw are proving to be some of the liveliest segments in recent history.
It is a valid question to ask why it is so. Well, it is so because WWE has some elements back in its spirit. The level of emotion, intensity and mystery has gone up tremendously.
Wrestlers are taking pride in what they do and WWE is taking efforts to give them scope. Things have started to matter, and the stakes have become higher. When a wrestler clearly feels it, we are bound to reflect that emotion.
Coming to the mystery and intensity, it is no secret that the recent story is rich in both these elements. The Hell in a Cell and subsequent Raw has simply amplified these two aspects.
Do not expect WWE to reveal any substantial detail on coming Raw or at Vengeance. Of course we will see a major turn in coming two months. We will see new characters and twists.
However it will be in November when the big things will happen.
3. Survivor Series Will See Things Taking a Definitive Turn
If the indications are true, then this survivor series matters a lot to the WWE. It appears to be extremely important in several respects.
First of all, it will see the return of the Rock. Secondly, it will see one of the most epic main events of all time. Then it is sure to kick-start the story lines for Royal Rumble and ultimately for the WrestleMania 28.
If we compare it to the daily soaps, then Survivor series marks the end of season one of this saga. What we would witness at the Survivor Series will be akin to what we usually see in season finales. If we compare it to the movies, then survivor series is the proverbial “intermission.”
Considering that WWE is raising the stakes so high for Survivor Series, it simply means one thing (i.e. the curtain will be raised from the mystery).
At the Survivor Series we will discover which king is trying to sabotage Triple H from his throne. From what could be seen at the moment, it is certain that at the Survivor Series we will see the future in its definite shape. The masks will fall down and the real faces will come forward.
At the Survivor Series the battle lines will be drawn for the last time. The swaggers that are wandering aimlessly will find their enemies and exact directions. The two sides of the civil war in WWE will be defined as we start our road to WrestleMania.
During this March, four superstars in particular will determine the success of this journey.
P.S. The poster of the Survivor Series is somewhat cryptic, isn't it?
4. John Cena, CM Punk, Sheamus and Randy Orton: The Fab Four Hold the Key
It is apparent now that these are the top four faces of WWE.
CM Punk is now officially the most important star of Raw, while John Cena remains the megastar that he is. Randy Orton is currently the poster boy of SmackDown, but Sheamus is not far from becoming the guy either.
If we discuss them individually then it will make things clearer.
As it seems, Randy Orton still has unfinished business with Mark Henry. As of now he will go on to complete it.
The paths of John Cena, Punk and Sheamus are slightly interwoven at this time. These three will be in the traditional Survivor Series matches at the event. From there on, their paths will separate once again.
If there are two big matches then Cena and Sheamus will lead one face team with the Rock, while Punk and HHH lead another. These are the current indications. However, it can all be mixed up.
After the event, Sheamus would go on to chase Mark Henry and would ideally become the champion. The way WWE is booking Sheamus at this moment makes many believe that he is the guy destined to beat Mark Henry. Sheamus clearly is the next big thing, and a guy to watch out during the coming year.
CM Punk will still feature in the flagship story as its main hero. He is set to be in the main event of WrestleMania, while his rival remains a matter of curiosity.
The last guy is John Cena, who is already known to move on to his story with the Rock. However, there is a mighty possibility that it will be entangled with the story of CM Punk’s match.
However, there are two prospects that have made me wonder for quite a while, and if they happen then one of these four people could play a key role in one extremely curious turn of events.
5. Return of the Legends
Let us first discuss the already rumoured aspect. Some legends are expected to make returns in coming months to add new magnitude to the story.
The rant of Chris Jericho and talks of return by Mick Foley have already suggested that they might make a return sometime in the near future. While I agree that they were big stars and legends, I personally believe they will have comparatively small roles in this civil war storyline.
The possibility of returns from Bret Hart, Edge and HBK is realistic when it comes to an odd segment. They will have a talk, but rule out the possibility of having them in the ring.
Now let me digress for a moment.
If we look at the history of WWE, then five superstars emerge as the biggest draws of all time. Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, The Undertaker, The Rock and John Cena are those five names in no particular order.
Now let us even forget that I mentioned Hogan here.
At Survivor Series, we already have two of these names in Rock and Cena. What is rumoured quite rightfully at this time is a possibility of either one of the remaining two making a return.
I am talking about Austin and Undertaker.
It is almost certain now that these two are in the physical condition to make a return to the ring by Survivor Series. Either one of them might make a comeback at SS or before Royal Rumble.
Considering it is a civil war between anti and pro WWE, it's simply fitting that two guys who define WWE might have a role to play.
It is certain given their stature that they will be playing the face role or a defining individual role.
Potential addition of one of these icons takes me to the next point.
6. Rebirth of a Mega-Heel
Consider the storyline at this point.
On one hand we have Triple H, John Cena, CM Punk, Sheamus and The Rock. On the other side, it is Miz, Alberto Del Rio, R-Truth, Wade Barrett, some others and the shadow in the background.
Add the scope of storyline to this equation, and now have a look at it.
The disparity of magnitude between two sides is just humongous, even when we are not talking about the possibility of having Taker or Austin. If one of those two returns then the difference assumes even more ridiculous proportions.
What is needed then? Perhaps a character similar to what Hulk Hogan played within NWO.
With all due respect to the Miz, Del Rio and company, they are unfit to play to such a huge role. We need someone who is a monster draw or has been a monster draw.
Who that will be is a matter of pure speculation, but I am certain that somebody has to play that role. This is where the fab four come in. They are the only eligible people right now to take such a role.
Sheamus and CM Punk are out of the equation here as both are set to head their brands. That leaves us with Randy Orton and...wait for it…John Cena.
Randy Orton has been a heel before and one of the biggest ones for that matter. He has a scope to turn heel with rise of Sheamus. However, with the heel heavy roster of SmackDown he has little logic behind turning heel.
This deduction brings us down to the impossible yet not so improbable proposition. The elusive heel turn of John Cena has been a wet dream of IWC for ages. At every possible juncture people have clamoured for this to happen.
However, personally I had always been sceptical. Last year during Nexus angle when people were hoping for it, I opposed it by deeming in illogical. However, this time I am personally on the other side of the fence.
Look at the situation at hand. Raw already has CM Punk who is selling a lot of merchandise like Cena does. Triple H is there as well. Sheamus and Orton are going to keep appearing on Raw. A pool of secondary faces is available to deal with secondary heels.
What Raw lacks at the moment is a heel who can dominate these people and still seem credible. Someone who can rule the roster with absolute power. In the absence of Batista only one person is capable of doing it, and that is John Cena.
Add to this situation the fact that he is facing Rock at WM, who will be a face no matter what, even if he commits a virtual murder. Add to this situation the fact that Rock is appearing on Survivor Series and perhaps another icon as well.
The only man who can tilt the balance of power in this equation is again John Cena...I repeat…John Cena.
Every piece falls into a place, every assumption has a concrete reason. I agree that it is a radical step on WWE’s part if they actually muster courage to do it.
However, this is the exact point that brings me to the two most important aspects of this article. They are the two destinations everything is converging towards, let us discuss them.
7. Every Current Development Is Converging Towards “WWE Network”
Photo Courtesy - wwe.com
When WWE made the announcement of its own network, I was shell shocked.
It was not the fear of what they might air for 24 hours that frightened me. The past big ventures of Vince have been disasters. The idea of TV network seems really adventurous on that backdrop but even that did not really make me wonder so much.
It was the magnitude of investment that had me aghast. Starting an independent TV network is not a child’s play. It takes many millions to even start a sizable TV network, and it takes equally big amount to run it. Moreover, it runs the risk of severing ties with other TV networks.
The potential for a huge loss is not the only threat here. If the network fails, WWE will have a tough time in getting a new deal with another network as well. A single failure in this idea can practically cripple the airing of WWE and in turn jeopardise the entire company.
This is where I began to understand the true meaning and magnitude of WWE’s new era and new approach.
WWE network is precisely where everything is converging at this moment. Every single turn of events is keeping an eye on that investment.
Why is it so?
The fundamental requirement of TV Network is the involvement of fans. No company can dare to invest so many millions in a stale and old product. It has to offer something never seen before, something radical. Otherwise fans will simply turn their back on WWE in search of something more entertaining.
It is such a desperate situation that will require WWE to take radical decisions. It is such a desperate situation that is forcing WWE to bring back all of the past legends including The Rock, Austin, Taker, Foley, Jericho, HBK, Edge, Bret Hart, etc.
It is exactly the same desperate situation that might pull the trigger on John Cena’s miraculous and elusive heel turn.
And finally it is exactly the same desperate situation that takes us to the next and last point of this article.
8. The Future of the WWE Hinges Upon WrestleMania 28
We have already seen how critical the WWE network is for WWE. However, WrestleMania 28 is even more critical than WWE Network.
I am not exaggerating when I say that the entire future of WWE depends upon this event. There are two simple reasons for that.
If WrestleMania fails then it is detrimental to the Network. It means it will shed water on the investment already made, which is to the tune of many millions. That is simply an unaffordable price to pay.
Secondly, WrestleMania 28 will define the stars of the next decade. If the event fails, then it spells failure for the CM Punks and Sheamuses. This will be long term blow to WWE’s plans and one that will hit it where it hurts the most.
Now let us put all the pieces together one last time: current storyline, TV Network and birth of new superstars. Now let us just think for a moment. The picture is quite clear now, right?
There was a reason WWE planned the main event of WrestleMania a year in advance. There is a reason they are trying to have The Rock, Steve Austin, The Undertaker and Triple H in four high magnitude matches against the stars of tomorrow. There is a reason behind on-going omnipresent chaos.
The reason behind all these situations is only one and common to all. It is the fact that the future of WWE rests on WrestleMania 28. It is a moment that will define the new direction of WWE. It is a moment after which WWE will never ever be the same again.
To many of you this article might have seemed incredible and a little over the top. It predicts a lot more than it perhaps should.
But I believe in these thoughts because they are forecasts, not speculations. Everything I have said here is based on a reason.
However, it is your right to disagree with me and I respect that. Any opinion regardless its nature is welcome. Kindly voice it in the comments section.
Thanks for reading, and cheers.