Blueprint to Ensuring John Cena Boosts WWE WrestleMania 35 Match CardMarch 22, 2019
John Cena can still uplift a big WrestleMania 35 card.
Mercifully, WWE hasn't done what they have in the past, throwing a so-called underdog Cena into a storyline where he has to earn his trip to 'Mania. It was never in doubt in the past Cena would make the card no matter what contrived storyline they came up with to fill time.
Everyone knows the inevitable is happening again. WrestleMania isn't happening without Cena. It might happen without Undertaker, which makes plenty of sense at this stage. It can't happen without Cena.
Especially when Cena is so desperately needed for a certain position on the card—the match with Kurt Angle.
The Angle mess is just that, a disaster mid-flop. WWW threw out a few interesting possibilities for Angle's retirement match at 35, including Cena. On the March 18 edition of Raw, WWE revealed the opponent would be Baron Corbin, of all people.
The fans live at the show blasted the decision. Fans on social media did, too. Corbin is the heel everyone loves to hate. He plays the guy everyone knows and despises quite well, if not the boss at work most can't stand. He's great at his job.
But he's not retirement-match material. He's battle royal material. And he doesn't need the rub of such a match.
Oddly, WWE made the decision (supposedly) final in Chicago, where more than a decade prior, Cena made his debut on SmackDown and challenged Angle.
The fact WWE didn't pull the trigger on this incredible bit of history while building the story is incredibly alarming in the way it suggests Corbin is really the opponent.
But WWE can still save this in the coming weeks.
This is the same company, after all, that reintroduced Batista in shocking fashion and got fans invested in his feud with 'H with the snap of a finger. As weird as it was to see the Chicago Raw come and pass without Cena, they can still weave him in that quickly.
A handful of weeks sit between the next Raw and 'Mania. Cena can show up at any one of them and get himself in the story. And not that anyone should take his social media too seriously given his memes upon memes, but Cena has sort of already weighed in on the match.
A Cena swerve has plenty of possible launching points. Maybe it's a promo about their history. Maybe it is pulling aside the power-tripping Vince McMahon and demanding it.
Or maybe it's attacking Corbin at WrestleMania itself.
There is a special sort of appeal to this option. Rather than muddy the booking, pull a swerve at the last second the live crowd will eat up, as will the onlookers around the world.
Look at the silly mess the Ronda Rousey-Charlotte Flair-Becky Lynch thing has been over the many weeks between Royal Rumble and 'Mania itself. Why botch more storytelling while trying to pass some time? Cena showing up and staking his claim on Angle's retirement match doesn't need any explaining or long-term justification.
Regardless of the how at this point, Cena can put on a quick match with Angle just the same as Corbin could. He certainly did with Undertaker. But the impact is more meaningful. Fans already saw the whole "new guy slaughters Angle" bit when Drew McIntyre tore him apart on Raw.
Look, WWE giving the fans Angle against Corbin could be viewed as an apology of sorts. The hardcore fans are tired of seeing older talents on the WrestleMania card. They're already getting Batista against Triple H. But the story is Angle's final match...ever, so presumably fans could understand and tolerate the meaning behind an Angle-Cena dance.
For his goodbye, fans need to see Angle's hand raised at the end by someone like Cena.
Cena doesn't have many other interesting card possibilities, anyway. Putting over an up-and-coming talent would be nice, but isn't necessary. For the history books and legacy, Cena's best slot on the 'Mania card is the most obvious one.
Cena and Angle need to dance one last time.