It was officially announced this past Monday night on RAW that at on Sunday night, John Cena will defend his United States title in another U.S. Open Challenge. For months (with the exception of a short period where Seth Rollins had the title), Cena has defended his title against all challengers. Many would argue (myself included), that this has resulted in some of the best in-ring performances of Cena’s entire career.
For the past few weeks, though, JBL has noted consistently that Cena’s luck is bound to run out. As it stands, Cena has requested some time off after Hell in a Cell (6-8 weeks, in fact). For a man that has carried the company on his back for over a decade, I think some legitimate time off is the LEAST the company can do for him.
So if you put 2 and 2 together, you’ve probably got yourself a brand new United States champion. But the big question is who will get the rub from Cena? What opponent will be “the one” to challenge live on the WWE Network in a very important PPV event?
Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities…
For a very long time now, many WWE performers have given very high praise for the in-ring talents of one Mr. Slater. The problem, as one might imagine, is that (a) he doesn’t have “the look” that Vince normally looks for in a superstar, (b) he doesn’t really have that great of a gimmick, and (c) he’s been buried pretty much his entire WWE career thus far. A great bonus going for Slater is that he’s got a ton of charisma and personality, so if he’s truly given the ball to carry he just might score a touchdown. I think it’s safe to say that he’s the Internet’s choice, especially where it’s been teased already…
Seriously…I truly believe that this guy could be huge if WWE gave him the right opportunity.
I know…what a terribly disappointing option, right? But here’s the thing…these “surprises” rarely turn into something fantastic. The Internet normally goes incredibly nuts insane predictions and over-the-top choices, thus they end up getting incredibly disappointed in who WWE ends up delivering. Here’s the deal…with Show’s career winding down, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him somehow defeat Cena and “take him out”, giving him a final upper-midcard run and also giving Cena a storyline reason for being gone 6-8 weeks. Is it a great option? No…but they’ve had history before and Show could use the rub after getting decimated recently by Brock Lesnar.
It’s possible…though not really probable…that Bryan has finally been given the “all clear” by WWE doctors and the company has just been waiting for the right time to bring him back. Having him cleanly beat Cena would be the perfect way to re-introduce him to the WWE Universe while still giving everyone a realistic opponent who could legitimately pin The Face That Runs The Place without people raising eyebrows. I really don’t think this is a realistic option because I think there are a lot of people keen on having Bryan return, so if WWE doctors gave him the green light the story would probably be out by now. Still…we can dream, right?
We haven’t seen Miz since that whole failed Big Show/Miz/Ryback feud took place. I think WWE truly dropped the ball by not having Miz sneak out the victory and go for another Intercontinental title reign. I doubt you’ll find another WWE performer who works as hard to reinvent himself and improve himself in all aspects than Miz. I don’t know if he’s out filming another movie or just enjoying life being married to Maryse, but with past history with Cena playing a part, this option is as realistic as any. And really, there aren’t too many performers in WWE who are as hated as Miz, so at least Cena could get some cheers during the match.
I don’t really like this idea, but if WWE wants to run with “The Cosmic Wasteland” gimmick using Stardust and The Ascension, then this would be a great way to do it. Having one of the two Road Warrior wannabe’s interfere and cost Cena the victory would make sense from a storyline perspective and give Cena “an out” for losing. Everybody knows just how entertaining and talented Cody Rhodes is, but for whatever reason he just hasn’t been able to break through as a main event talent. If they actually had this threesome become a powerful faction like the Wyatt’s or the Shield, then this would be the perfect way to jump-start their program.
Some repackaged lower midcard player.
Fandango…Jack Swagger…Damien Sandow…Curtis Axel…Bo Dallas…Titus O’Neil…Adam Rose…just a few of the lower midcard performers who have enough ability to be pushed higher on the card, but need a repackage somehow. Here’s the problem with this suggestion, though…with the exception of Fandango and O’Neil, most of these guys have already had more than one failed gimmick. Some of them have even been given big-time pushes (Swagger, Axel) but they failed to connect due to various reasons (personality and charisma, primarily). So while I like the idea of giving somebody like Fandango a completely new gimmick and a new push, I doubt they would do this out of the blue without at least testing out the gimmick first.
A returning former WWE Superstar
There have been rumours of WWE dropping the Los Matadores gimmick and bringing back Carlito to create a faction with his brothers, Primo & Epico. The Colons could truly cause issues for Cena in a match and there is precedence of Carlito having beaten Cena for the U.S. title previously. But there are definitely other possible names to consider, such as Batista (even if it’s short-term before he goes back to working on the follow-up to Guardians of the Galaxy), Jeff Hardy (who is a former WWE champion, which most people easily forget), Alberto Del Rio, Chris Masters, Drew McIntyre, John Morrison, MVP, Rob Van Dam…the list goes on and on. When you think about it, there are a lot of names out there that could generate buzz leading into WrestleMania.
This is my pick for Sunday, which probably means it won’t happen. Listen…I’ve been saying for months now that Breeze is READY. He’s been ready for a very long time. The only thing really holding him back was his smaller size. He has the in-ring skills, the look, the charisma, and the gimmick. With the exception of being “Cena-esque” with his physique, Breeze truly is the total package in most other areas when it comes to sports entertainment. I’ve read that he was going to debut on television this week on Smackdown, but if I were WWE I would hold off until Sunday night. Package Breeze with somebody like Summer Rae and you’ve got a killer 1-2 combination that can run with the U.S. title and win matches with outside interference/cheating (i.e. Summer). Sure, I’m fantasy booking my ass off with this one, but if you’re going to bring him up to the main roster anyway, then why not do it in a memorable way? It worked for Kevin Owens…
Obviously, these are just my predictions and guesses. But what are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or via social media and let me know!
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