John Cena and Roman Reigns are opposite sides of the same coin. The problem is, they're not all that opposite.
Regardless of how many times fans have discussed the topic, and no matter how many times the same truth has been repeated, it's being spoken about once again. Cena and Reigns are the two most hated babyfaces in the history of WWE.
Now they are finally crossing paths. But should they?
This had to happen sooner or later, though Cena's stay on SmackDown Live seemed to be a firm position for him. The man many consider to be the most controversial WWE Superstar of all time appeared to be happy on the blue brand. Cena's return to Raw and challenge to Reigns seem to be a precursor to an event that may not happen for quite some time.
However, nothing lasts forever in WWE, and that includes roster spots. Cena is back on Raw and has his sights set on The Big Dog. But then again, why wouldn't he?
Fans knew this was inevitable. Cena has been the face of WWE for over a decade, and Reigns is the top guy. Retiring The Undertaker strengthened an already impressive resume that continues to fill with one main event match after another.
Reigns is WWE's standard-bearer. Defeating Cena is perhaps a move he must make in order to fully inhabit his role.
But passing the torch is something many fans want nothing to do with. It's not particularly because Cena is held in such high regard or because Reigns shouldn't be moved past him in the company. Instead, Cena versus Reigns just does not seem to hold any intrigue.
Neither man is the universal champion. Brock Lesnar is set to face Braun Strowman, and that feud is only just beginning. A No. 1 Contender's bout has not been announced, though it's a move that could come later. Neither man is likely going to go full-blown heel as a result of the rivalry.
So why should this match happen?
WWE's version may not match that of the WWE faithful. The company surely sees two massive stars, guys who live and breathe all things WWE. Both men represent themselves as professionals and well-intentioned WWE ambassadors. They both get huge reactions every time, and they're both cornerstones of the company.
There's also the idea of evolution at play here. Cena is the recent past, and Reigns is the immediate future. Its one generation of WWE talent versus another, and it's a storyline that fans saw before when Cena faced The Rock.
How could WWE resist booking Reigns against Cena? It does seem like the logical next step.
But fans see this feud in simple terms; this has been done before, and not many people want to see it done again. Cena's hate has been tempered with some good old-fashioned ribbing from the live crowds, but that's not enough to guarantee that the bulk of fans would fully support him.
It's fun for fans to chant "John Cena sucks." But many of them still mean it.
When it comes to Reigns, there's nothing good-natured about the hate that fans deal him on a weekly basis. Many despise him and refuse to accept him in spite of how hard he's worked to move up the ladder. There's no point in these two men facing off other than to recycle the Rock-Cena dynamic.
So why not do something unpredictable?
Instead of booking them against each other, why not book them with each other? Reigns and Cena could team up thanks to a mandate from Raw general manager Kurt Angle, and it would be something unexpected for fans. The tag team would obviously not get over in the beginning because of the way fans feel about both men. But that does not mean it couldn't work.
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows would be great starting adversaries for Cena and Reigns. They could then move on to Cesaro and Sheamus. As they work their way through Raw's best, fans would see Reigns and Cena trying to get along while also trying to check their egos at the door.
These two men need a reason to trust each other, and fans need a reason to care. What better way to make that happen than by booking the megastar tag team against Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose?
The newly crowned tag team champions are red-hot, and with good reason. Rollins and Ambrose are bringing fans the closest thing to a Shield reunion WWE has seen in three years. The only piece they are missing is Reigns, but they don't need him.
Reigns needs to stand on the other side of the ring, next to Cena.
If the two men do team up, it will likely end with a fight between them, and fans know it. But rather than just rush to the once-in-a-lifetime match, the best thing WWE could do here is develop their backstory.
That can begin with Reigns and Cena working together. But will they be accepted or just booed out of the building like always? It's a chance WWE should take, if only to ensure that the impending rivalry between them is a success.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at boinkstudios.com.