Speculation has run rampant as to who two of the WWE’s biggest active stars, John Cena and Roman Reigns, will draw for next year’s WrestleMania 32.
For Cena, a WrestleMania meeting with The Undertaker long seemed like an inevitability. With time winding down on Undertaker’s career, however, there isn’t much time left to make that contest a reality. Some fans would prefer the two square off with, and put over, younger stars, but the star power of Taker and Cena makes the appeal of their potential clash tough to deny.
As for Reigns, he’s perhaps got even more possibilities. His ongoing feud with The Authority seems to suggest that, much like Daniel Bryan before him, he’ll need to take down Triple H in order to finally get past the tyrannical COO. A triple threat match between he and former Shield teammates Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins seemed like a good route to take, but Rollins’ leg injury has put that out of the question. Still a Survivor Series rematch with Ambrose, one with much more tension between the long-time partners, would certainly draw the interest of many.
Another option for both superstars is to face one another. Particularly with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at stake. Reigns’ short-lived title reign, which began and ended at Survivor Series, and the fact that he’s engaged in a program with the Authority, seems to indicate he’ll remain embroiled in the championship picture. But you’ll have a hard time convincing many that Sheamus is anything more than a transitional champion or the man who should fall in what’s supposed to be Reigns’ star-making moment.
Instead, Sheamus seems destined to hang on to the belt for a month or two tops before dropping it as WrestleMania season gets into full swing. If it’s Reigns he drops it to, the reluctance many fans have towards accepting Reigns as a marquee star will only increase. Reigns toppling Sheamus is simply a matter of the lesser of two evils. If it’s Cena reign he ends on his way to the mountain top, however, it’s a legitimate career-making moment.
Imagine that later this month, at TLC, Sheamus gets by Roman Reigns due, more likely than not, to the aid of The Authority. But, then, suppose John Cena makes his triumphant return and wrests the title away from Sheamus. Perhaps in this instance, The Authority remains uninvolved. While Triple H has been trying to keep title off of guys like Daniel Bryan and Dean Ambrose over the past several years, he recognizes that Cena’s a more marketable and “appropriate” looking superstar. Maybe he doesn’t like it, but Cena indeed is “best for business.”
To further that storyline, The Authority could begin to interfere in Cena’s matches and help him retain his title, against Cena’s wishes of course. Maybe Reigns himself has Cena beat in a championship match before The Authority interferes. Whether or not Cena welcomes the assistance on-screen, questions of a potential alliance with The Authority would no doubt arise. Reigns himself could even help to plant those seeds of doubt.
From there, Cena’s character could use a little edge. Maybe he hints towards an agreement with The Authority and says that Reigns is destined to go down as one of the best to never win the big one. He could confidently accept a WrestleMania championship match with Reigns in which all outside parties are banished from ringside. In the match, Reigns could either go over cleanly or, pushed to the brink, Cena resorts to the use of a weapon. Were Cena to retain, it’d be mighty interesting to see him commit a full-fledged heel turn and admit to an alliance with The Authority.
As noted, many fans are reluctant to accept Roman Reigns as the WWE’s future, but that hasn’t seemed to stop the company from trying. If he fails to garner interest again this year, the WWE would have a great fallback and an interesting dynamic in a newly-turned heel Cena. But if Reigns is indeed poised for a championship reign in ’16 then who he beats for the belt will prove key. If it’s Cena he topples, he’s got an opponent who fans are likewise split on. Maybe, even in beating Cena at WrestleMania, Reigns as champion would flop, but with an intriguing storyline and a top-notch opponent, it’d at least give him a fighting chance.