Projecting WWE Feuds for John Cena in 2019

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

On Christmas Eve, one of the gifts WWE chairman Vince McMahon gave the WWE Universe was the announcement that John Cena will be returning to action next week on both Raw and SmackDown Live.

However, Mr. McMahon-ta Claus did not clarify how long Cena would be back and the extent of his return. Is this a two-night deal before he takes off another few months? Will he compete in the Royal Rumble match?

Cena spent the majority of 2018 outside of WWE working on films, so it's safe to say 2019 might follow the same trend, and he may only make a handful of appearances on some of the bigger shows.

Whether it's WrestleMania 35, SummerSlam or anything else, Cena is going to need someone to fight, and that's where the fun of speculation begins.

Who are some potential opponents The Champ could lock horns with in 2019? Which feuds, big or small, might be scheduled for the next coming months?

Let's throw out some suggestions of who could make for great opponents for one of WWE's franchise players.

     

EC3

Last May, when EC3 was asked if he had any Superstars in his mind as targets on the main roster, he said: "I want to vanquish John Cena at WrestleMania."

Cena acknowledged the challenge by posting about it on Instagram, showing it resonated with him.

EC3 is in the top 1 percent of possible challengers for Cena in 2019.
EC3 is in the top 1 percent of possible challengers for Cena in 2019.Credit: WWE.com

Later, he expanded on this during a Q&A session at a convention, saying EC3 was "at the top of the list," and he would want to have a match with him to prove they aren't on the same level, no matter how hard EC3 tries.

EC3 has even sparked the idea of a Hair vs. Hair match with a tweet about wanting to shave off Cena's new locks.

This seems like the seed of a rivalry both men want to put on WWE television at some point, and with EC3 poised to make the jump to the main roster soon, there is a good chance it could happen in 2019.

Perhaps even the date itself could ring true, with Cena's WrestleMania spot being filled with EC3 in an attempt to put over the young star and give him momentum for his main roster run.

     

Daniel Bryan

An alternative for WrestleMania could see Cena fighting Daniel Bryan in an attempt to not only win his 17th world title, surpassing Ric Flair's record, but also knock some sense into his former almost brother-in-law.

From his relationship with Nikki Bella, Cena undoubtedly developed a closer bond to Bryan, so there's a built-in story to be told by having the two clash over "The New Daniel Bryan" and his change in attitude.

Could we see a rematch from SummerSlam 2013?
Could we see a rematch from SummerSlam 2013?Credit: WWE.com

Bryan's criticism of Cena's "hustle, loyalty and respect" mantra and his Hollywood aspirations could be the basis for a match at WrestleMania, especially if Cena wins the Royal Rumble or Elimination Chamber to earn that title shot.

Given how few babyfaces there are on SmackDown, Cena may be the best suited to fill the gap of star power and give Bryan a worthwhile opponent for the biggest show of the year, even if no title changes hands and no lessons are learned as The Champ fades away afterward to make another movie.

     

Drew McIntyre

If WWE is looking for someone to feud with Cena and get a major rub out of it, one of the top two people on the list has to be Drew McIntyre.

Technically, the two have crossed paths before. In fact, Cena and David Otunga actually won the WWE Tag Team Championship from McIntyre and Cody Rhodes back at Bragging Rights 2010.

But that was a completely different McIntyre compared to The Scottish Psychopath we have today.

This man is much better-suited to take down Cena than the McIntyre of 2010.
This man is much better-suited to take down Cena than the McIntyre of 2010.Credit: WWE.com

Now, he's one of the men with a bright year ahead of him who seems ready and able to take charge and become a world champion, so a feud with Cena could legitimize him as a big deal for 2019 and onward.

After all, Cena is at a point in his career where the focus should be giving back and helping make new stars, and a guy such as McIntyre could benefit from that rub.

     

Lars Sullivan

Another younger star who could be in line for a win over Cena to help solidify his credibility is Lars Sullivan, who will be moving up from NXT to Raw or SmackDown soon.

The Freak is of a mold that Cena is more than familiar with, as for several years, his WWE Championship reigns were built entirely around fighting people such as Umaga, The Great Khali, Lord Tensai and other monsters.

Credit: WWE.com

This is comfortable territory for The Champ, who knows how to work a match against someone bigger than him, get beaten down and try to fight back from underneath.

The only difference between this scenario and the Cena of 2006-08 is that at the end of the day, it would have to be Sullivan who walked away victorious in order to fully get the best use of the feud.

Beating Cena gives a boost that only a handful of other Superstars like Triple H or Brock Lesnar can offer, so if WWE is serious about pushing Sullivan to a main event spot, this could be the best path to convincing fans he's worthy of it.

     

The Undertaker

With Saudi Arabia events, it's clear the directive is to have as many older stars as possible take part in the pay-per-view, as they're more established names and play to the nostalgia of the target audience paying for the show.

Both Cena and The Undertaker seem to be featured players targeted for spots on the card, and since their WrestleMania feud was such a dud, there is unfinished business.

For years, a fight between the two had been hyped, and in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania 34, it seemed like it was finally going to happen, but the end result was a squash that arguably shouldn't have even taken place.

To help counteract that disappointment, WWE could book another "last time ever" match between the two at one of those upcoming Saudi Arabia events as one of the primary focal points to convince people to tune in and not dwell on the negative press that could be associated with returning to that region.

That is, of course, if Cena is even willing to appear on those events going forward after backing out of Crown Jewel. However, Super Show-Down proved there is a market for specials in other countries, and WWE may have plans for something like that in an area Cena is more comfortable with, like China.

In any case, if WWE wants to revisit this feud, a Cena vs. Undertaker match would sell with no effort.

     

Samoa Joe

Last but not least, a match between Cena and Samoa Joe has been the talk for so many years that it's passed its expiration date on multiple occasions, but it still needs to be done.

Their association goes all the way back to Ultimate Pro Wrestling, where they trained together and started a friendship that has lasted until today.

Even while in separate companies, Joe would talk about wanting to face Cena some day, and The Champ would acknowledge the former TNA star more than anybody else from the competition.

For some reason, WWE has never made a feud out of these two that has actually gotten off the ground.

They teased it heading into last year's Royal Rumble, but Joe's injury prevented that from happening, and Cena was off doing other things for the rest of the year.

Maybe it's time to pick up where the two left off last January?

What's great is that there are so many talented wrestlers who could have quality matches with Cena that even if none of the above happens, it could still be a great year.

Velveteen Dream has caught Cena's attention. A heel Bobby Lashley could be interesting to see against him. Mustafa Ali, Johnny Gargano and many others would all be great choices also.

So long as Cena shows up for more than just a single Lightning Fist or two hour's worth of action and can develop a handful of real feuds, 2019 should be a fun one for him and his fans.

     

Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.

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