ShareThis Page

LaBar: John Cena's greatest task is ahead in WWE

| Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, 9:09 p.m.

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

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.