According to a July 24 report from Cageside Seats, the WWE is preparing for life without John Cena as a full-time performer. Cena, 37, put a lot of miles on his body over the past decade, so he may be just a few years away from transitioning to a part-time role. Cena, the current WWE Heavyweight Champion, also has been receiving plenty of acting roles of late, as he looks to shift to work in the movie business.
With Cena set to appear in Tina Fey’s upcoming comedy, The Nest, its clear the 15-time champ’s career is slowly changing from pro wrestling superstar to Hollywood actor. Cena, the WWE’s most popular babyface character, might be forced to miss even more time at WWE house shows in the years ahead, as more film work comes his way. Is this a good thing for the WWE and wrestling fans across the globe? Absolutely.
Here’s the thing: WWE fans take Cena for granted because they get to see him in action at almost every WWE house show that gets televised. They don’t have a chance to miss him because he’s in the spotlight week after week. If Cena becomes a part-time performer, his appearances would feel far more special than they are right now. As an example, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar receive huge ovations when they come out to the ring, because their appearances are few and far between.
It’s not always a bad thing for WWE superstars to become part-time players. The Rock, Lesnar and Chris Jericho are just some of the many who have successfully transitioned from full-time to part-time duty, without taking a hit as far as public image goes. Lesnar is a part-timer who only appears during Wrestlemania and SummerSlam seasons. As for the Undertaker, he only competes during Wrestlemania season.
Some WWE stars, CM Punk particularly, are opposed to the idea of part-time pro wrestling work. They believe the athletes who only want to work part-time take away from the guys who give it their all on a full-time basis. There might be some validity to that argument, but it is what it is. Would the Lesnar vs. Cena match set for SummerSlam be as hyped as it is if “The Beast Incarnate” was a full-time performer? Probably not.
A part-time Cena is better than no Cena at all. As Cena approaches age 40, there’s no way he’ll be able to keep taking the grind of the daily punishment that is pro wrestling. Cena becoming a part-timer would allow for his body to get rest and heal up properly. In turn, that would probably make his matches better.
Luckily for the WWE and for fans across the world, the promotion has plenty of A-list players who could fill the void if Cena stopped competing full-time. Roman Reigns is being viewed as the heir apparent to Cena, and there are several other marketable babyfaces who could step up. Daniel Bryan has blossomed into a huge superstar, and Bray Wyatt always gets a huge pop from fans. If Cena leaves, there is enough talent to keep the WWE’s ratings strong.