LaBar: John Cena's greatest task is ahead in WWE
John Cena is returning to WWE television Monday night, and it couldn't come at a better time.
It couldn't come at a better time for the depth of the roster. We haven't seen Cena since October. In that time, WWE also has been without Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Cesaro and Nikki Bella all due to injury. Brock Lesnar has been off after his busy October, and The Undertaker has gone back home until presumably WrestleMania.
It couldn't come at a better time for the continued grooming of Roman Reigns who just won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship two weeks ago. It's been the best two weeks for Reigns. The audience is finally starting to be united in support for Reigns. A match against Triple H is inevitable, but I say that needs to happen sooner not later. Royal Rumble in January would be a better choice than WrestleMania in April. The grudge is hot with Reigns brutally attacking Triple H two weeks ago to great approval from the crowd. Strike while that iron is hot.
Triple H is one of the best heels ever. He has exceptional wrestling acumen knowing how to play a great heel and the real life aspects of being a special attraction wrestler and a top executive. Both play great into Triple H getting the fans to dislike him when he wants and subsequently cheering his opponent.
That's what Reigns needs right now to solidify him as a top babyface. What Reigns needs at WrestleMania is to be solidified by THE top babyface of the last 10 years in Cena.
There might be other glamorous-sounding choices for Reigns' WrestleMania match, like Lesnar, but most of those choices are going to pin the crowd back against Reigns, or split the crowd at the very least.
However, Reigns versus Cena will play favorably to Reigns and what WWE needs. Cena can be the company's No. 1 good guy and No. 1 bad guy depending on the particular person watching. At first, WWE fought this, but then embraced it realizing it's profitable business regardless of whether Cena is liked or not.
Those who dislike Cena will back Reigns, especially if the build to the match is done right with Reigns saying it's time for Cena to step aside. Those who support Cena will support Reigns once the match is over and Cena puts over and endorses him.
The passing-of-the-torch routine doesn't happen often, but when it does it's meant to be significant and memorable to that era. Cena knows how to be memorable and make it look as good as possible. Vince McMahon, of course, is still the architect of it all and proved two weeks ago he still has the power and understanding of how to manipulate a crowd.
Before Reigns became champion, I felt Cena taking on The Undertaker would be a great marquee match to have in The Undertaker's home state of Texas for WrestleMania. But you could put anybody against The Undertaker and have the match draw. Reigns needs Cena far more than The Undertaker does.
Cena has headlined a lot of big shows and done a lot of big business for WWE. Helping secure and crown the next top guy for the next era could be his biggest and most important task ever.
Justin LaBar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7949 or firstname.lastname@example.org.