A Win over John Cena at SummerSlam Would Elevate Roman Reigns to a New Level

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2021


There aren't many things WWE could do to elevate this version of Roman Reigns to a new level. 

But John Cena is one of them. 

Reigns is the best thing running in WWE by a mile, if not wrestling as a whole. The long-requested heel turn has managed to surpass expectations in large part because the former Shield leader has been stunningly good at embracing the role. 

From taking down members of his own family to sparring with actual contenders—all while changing his attire, music, in-ring moves and even picking up Paul Heyman—Reigns has comfortably slotted as the final-boss type that used to require a part-time name like Brock Lesnar

But thanks to the near-daily nature of WWE's product, in large part thanks to social media, even this version of Reigns could start to grow tiresome. He can only beat up contenders, up-and-comers like Cesaro and different iterations of the Usos for so long. 

That is what makes a fantasy-booking return of Cena so, so appealing. 

Except it apparently doesn't need to be fantasy. Speculation about a Cena return has run rampant for a little while now, and WrestleVotes recently reported that WWE wants this year's SummerSlam to effectively be the 2021 WrestleMania—and potentially with Cena and Reigns in the main event. 

It doesn't get much better than that, right? One could argue Lesnar returning would be just as big, if not bigger because of the Heyman connection. 

But Cena and Reigns go back just as far, and the dynamic might be more interesting than a heel vs. heel main event. If Cena returns as the good guy who says he's seen enough from afar and feels like he needs to stop Reigns for the good of the company, kid fans and so on, it's downright dynamite. 

Plus, think of the promos. Not only can Cena talk with the best of them, but Heyman is there too. The topic of Cena never going heel would take center stage for both characters in the best possible way before a match that fans already know will be incredibly fun to watch with good storytelling. 

And along those lines, yes, the Cena-Reigns angle has been done a million times before. But that's partially what has been so impressive about this version of Reigns—his old feuds have had a fun, new fresh coat of paint thanks to the character change. The same would apply here, perhaps better than any other potential feud. 

We would be remiss not to point out some of the hypocrisy of writers and fans for clamoring for this type of match while also slamming WWE for bringing on part-timers for big events while cutting names like Aleister Black. 

But it's a multifaceted issue. If this is a one-off, no harm, no foul for now. The need to keep this version of Reigns as hot as possible for as long as possible takes precedent, and he's already run through most of the possible big SmackDown-based feuds. WWE can't have him in a match against Cesaro at SummerSlam, especially with fans finally back in the stands and the company touring again. 

The long term is worth considering from that angle, too. Elevating Reigns by having him run through a legend like Cena only makes it that much more impressive when an up-and-comer (think, Big E or a Keith Lee-type) dethrones Reigns down the road. 

And an elevated Reigns has a chance to create the best solo Superstar run we've seen since the Stone Cold and Rock era. If Cena getting ran through encourages the Rock to come back too for an even bigger-headline Mania item, even better. 

This year's SummerSlam is the sort of big-picture event WWE can't afford to botch. Cena returning regardless would garner some goodwill from fans because fans haven't seen him in such a long time. 

His returning in an attempt to stop Reigns—only to come up short after an unforgettable feud and payoff—would be A-plus material as WWE gets back to normal.