Sports

John Cena’s shocking return is just what WWE needed

John Cena’s return to WWE at Money in Bank gives the company a chance for everything it needs right now – if done right.

Cena, who was last seen on WWE programming at a fanless WrestleMania 36 last April, confronted Universal champion Roman Reigns after the Tribal Chief defeated Edge in the main event of the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in Fort Worth, Texas on Sunday night. The fans delivered an all-timer of a pop when the 16-time world champion’s music hit — adding another one to Cena’s collection. Reigns just stared at Cena with a look of total disgust and a feeling of how dare he steal my spotlight. 

It sets up a likely and epic main event for SummerSlam at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Aug. 21. Cena is one of the biggest movie stars in the world with “F9” out and “The Suicide Squad” on the way. He delivers the immediate name notoriety, headlines and the probable ratings WWE desperately desires now that fans have returned. It’s a signal flare to the world that WWE is back and there are big things happening. Cena already said in a video on WWE’s social media after the show that he will be kicking off “Monday Night Raw.”

It’s only one of the reasons this was the right moment and match for Cena’s return. Yes, WWE gets criticized for leaning too heavily on its past stars when it needs a boost. Cena, however, is a no-brainer. Doing this too often with other talents in the next two to three months will be overkill, though.

John Cena confronts Roman Reigns at Money in the Bank on July 18, 2021.
John Cena confronts Roman Reigns at Money in the Bank on July 18, 2021.
WWE

So why is this happening at all? Well, Roman Reigns is operating on a level only a handful of people are at right now in pro wrestling. If you’re Cena, you want a piece of that for yourself and try to help WWE continue to build its next potential crossover star. More places and media outlets are going to be talking about and taking a look a Roman Reigns because he’s in a match with Cena — who is also the voice of Honda commercials.   

Think back to when Reigns’ cousin The Rock came back to have a program that lasted two WrestleManias with Cena in 2012-13. There is a similar feel here in star power even with Reigns at a different point in his career than Cena was at that time. Cena was a more established star but at the time he was WWE’s best guy just like Reigns is right now. Cena’s last match in front of fans was in January 2019.

WWE also likely doesn’t get Cena back without a clear story to tell. This one dates back to 2017 when he absolutely embarrassed Reigns during a promo. Back then, Reigns was floundering as the WWE was trying to shove him down the fans’ throat as our classic babyface, including some of the worst-worded promos you will ever hear. Still, Reigns beat Cena in a singles match at the No Mercy pay-per-view that year.

So now you have a returning Cena, one world title win away from breaking Ric Flair’s record, testing to see if Reigns is still the guy he ran word circles around last time they had a program together, trying to find out if Reigns really is as good as the hype that’s now around him. For Reigns, it’s a chance to further cement that he’s not the same guy he was in 2017, to dethrone Cena as the face of WWE and to add him to Daniel Bryan and Edge on the list of heroes he’s cast aside. 

Reigns needs to beat Cena — clean if there are no plans to run this back at WrestleMania 38 in Dallas. There needs to continue to be a feel of if Bryan, Edge, and Cena can’t beat Reigns then who the heck can? It will only make a regular Reigns’ loss or Big E cashing in his Money on the Bank contract to become champion mean that much more.

Cena is back to work with WWE’s biggest name in the biggest storyline at the biggest show this year. Embrace it. Enjoy it. It’s everything WWE needs and everything that makes pro wrestling great — if done correctly.

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