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DeMarco: Booking John Cena, WWE SummerSlam 2021 Through WrestleMania 38

John Cena is poised for the obvious comeback to WWE–assuming it happens, exactly how do you book his journey?

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John Cena Point WrestleMania WWE

John Cena is poised for the obvious comeback to WWE–assuming it happens, exactly how do you book his journey?

When you paint the Mount Rushmore of Pro Wrestling, it’s easy to include John Cena. His run at the top of WWE is second only to that of Hulk Hogan, spanning a solid decade before he took a step back. Cena is synonymous with WWE, kicking off the Ruthless Aggression Era, and becoming a bankable star that people loved–or loved to hate.

Earning the respect of nearly every fan by the end of his run, John Cena has seen his sports entertainment career become a launch pad into Hollywood, appearing in major movies including this summer’s Fast And Furious 9 alongside Vin Diesel (the star for whom John Cena plays the younger brother to) and the usual crew (minus The Rock and Jason Statham).

A favorite past-time of many a wrestling writer, including myself, is booking. Be it a card, or one individual’s span of time, we love to take the pencil out of the hands of those doing it for a living and publish our own ideas. Well that’s what I am doing now, as I book John Cena from WWE SummerSlam 2021 to WrestleMania 38.

SummerSlam 2021: vs. Roman Reigns

Yes, it’s happened before, but never like this. Roman Reigns is in the “John Cena” position, as “the Head Of The Table” isn’t just a gimmick–that’s the role he plays in the entire WWE. He has taken on all comers, and done so on his own terms. Since his return, he has triumphed over Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt’s The Fiend, Drew McIntyre, Jey Uso (getting Jey higher on the card than ever before), Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan, Edge, Cesaro, and most recently Rey Mysterio. He shows no signs of slowing down, with many expecting him to be Universal Champion going into WrestleMania 38, and possibly even WrestleMania 39.

I honestly think the better match for Cena is Bobby Lashley–and we can get there–but given the importance of the relationship between FOX and WWE, it makes more sense for John Cena’s return to happen on Smackdown. And if you are going to return on Smackdown, the most obvious opponent is also the best option, and that’s Universal Champion Roman Reigns.

For Roman Reigns to go down as one of the true greats, a win over John Cena within the current landscape is exactly what needs to happen in the main event in Las Vegas.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Survivor Series: vs. Bobby Lashley

With Cena making his return on WWE Smackdown, the inevitable WWE Draft could be a place to send him back to the red brand, WWE Monday Night Raw. Cena doesn’t “deserve” a shot against Bobby Lashley pre se, but the Almighty WWE Champion is sure to want to add Cena to his trophy case, one that isn’t as impressive as Roman Reigns’, but is starting to grow.

Winner: Bobby Lashley

WWE NXT Takeover: vs. Tommaso Ciampa

John Cena doesn’t need to go to WWE NXT, but could I see him wanting to? I sure as hell could. By this time NXT is back on the road for a Takeover, and John Cena is in the house. To me the obvious choice is Karrion Kross, but I firmly believe Kross will be on Raw or Smackdown by this time. At least he should be.

There are many stalwarts of NXT that Cena could stand against, including Johnny Gargano and Adam Cole. And as much as I would love a match with either (or Walter), the flag bearer for WWE vs. the flag bearer for NXT is the match-up we all need to see, in John Cena vs. Tommaso Ciampa.

Cena vs. Ciampa would have one hell of a build, as both men have a way of “getting real,” and pushing their opponents to the limit outside the ring. In the ring, this could easily entertain, as Cena would sell for Ciampa and Ciampa would get every ounce of sympathy out of a John Cena match.

Winner: John Cena

(I mean, I have to let Cena win at some point, right? Personally, I want Ciampa to win.)

Royal Rumble: vs. Drew McIntyre

It should be obvious by now that this is turning into a farewell tour for John Cena. I have no idea if he can truly do all of this, but it’s my fantasy booking so I am sticking with it! Drew McIntyre joins Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley as the stars WWE is centered around these days, and McIntyre would treat this match-up with a certain level of respect that the other two can’t–for storyline and character reasons.

Cena vs. McIntyre is also a little fresher than the other two, and further cements McIntyre as one of the top stars in WWE regardless of championships (he’s already there).

Winner: Drew McIntyre

WWE NXT UK: vs. Walter

Yep, it’s time to go crazy and send John Cena to the most passionate fan base in al of WWE–the English! The UK crowd deserves another shot at John Cena, and John Cena deserves one more appearance in front of the UK crowd. While NXT UK has multiple potential opponents for John Cena, the only real choice is Walter. He can kick Cena’s ass all over the place, he can also sell for Cena. But in the end, Cena can pass the “LOLCENAWINS’ torch to the man who already has it.

Winner: LOLWALTERWINS

WrestleMania 38: vs. Edge

While Edge and John Cena had plenty of one-on-one encounters, they never got a WrestleMania singles showdown. In Dallas, we can fix that.

Bill this as John Cena’s final WrestleMania, not quite his retirement, and you have a renewal of arguably the greatest rivalry either man has had. The build would be fun, half nostalgia but half current as Edge is two years into his WWE return run and has been involved in major storylines.

Because Cena always seemed to have Edge’s number in the end, Edge gets the final win on the grandest stage.

Winner: Edge

WWE RawAfterMania: vs. Randy Orton

While it’s not currently announced as such, if WrestleMania 38 is a two-night affair, you can have Cena vs. Edge on Night 1, and on night 2 promote that John Cena will be on Raw to announce his retirement. It’ll pop a huge rating, and it’ll also bring out one last surprise…

Randy Orton.

With Edge’s (initial) career being cut short due to injury, John Cena and Randy Orton shared the ring approximately 389,472 times during their run(s) at the top of WWE. It seems fitting that Cena’s actual last match is against the man who he is most linked to in his WWE tenure in Orton.

Winner: Randy Orton

Those Who Didn’t Make The Cut

There are plenty of matches I want to see for John Cena, but we can’t have him against everyone, now can we. Here is a list of those I would selfishly love to see, in no particular order:

  • Seth Rollins
  • Cesaro
  • Ricochet
  • Adam Cole
  • Johnny Gargano
  • Karrion Kross
  • Joe Coffey
  • Matt Riddle
  • AJ Styles

What do you think of the potential for one more run in WWE for John Cena? Anyone I left out? Anyone that jumps out at you? Hit me up on social media @ChairshotGreg and let me know!


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Opinion

King: Top 5 Championship Matches in WWE Royal Rumble History

Chris King looks at the best championship matches that have taken place at a WWE Royal Rumble event!

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2020 WWE Royal Rumble

Chris King looks at the best championship matches that have taken place at a WWE Royal Rumble event!

I have gone back in time to reflect over Royal Rumble’s over the last decade. From 2012 to 2022 the WWE Universe bared witness to some amazing matches including AJ Styles defending his WWE Championship against Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn, The Rock defeating CM Punk and ending his historic championship reign, and even the ‘Beast Incarnate’ Brock Lesnar successfully defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against John Cena & Mr. Money in the Bank Seth Rollins in a classic triple-threat match.

Here are the top five championship matches at the Royal Rumble over the last decade.

Honorable mentions:

  • Brock Lesnar VS. Finn Balor (Universal Championship): Royal Rumble 2019
  • Brock Lesnar VS. Kane VS. Braun Strowman (Universal Championship): Royal Rumble 2017
  • Randy Orton VS. John Cena WWE World Heavyweight Championship (Royal Rumble 2014)
  • Daniel Bryan VS. AJ Styles (WWE Championship): Royal Rumble 2019

Top 5 Royal Rumble Championship Matches 

5. Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns (Universal Championship): Royal Rumble 2017

In August of 2016, the WWE Universe was shocked when Triple H turned on his former protege Seth Rollins and essentially handed the Universal Championship to Kevin Owens in a crazy fatal-four-way match. Over the next few months, Owens and Chris Jericho would become best friends and true enemies of Rollins and former Shield-mate Roman Reigns. After Reigns was screwed out of the title at Roadblock they would deliver a Shield bomb through the announce table to Owens.

Reigns and Owens would battle again at the Royal Rumble this time, Jericho would be locked inside of a shark cage to prevent interference. Both superstars delivered an impressive performance and threw out everything to defeat one another. Reigns was minutes away from winning the Universal Championship until Braun Strowman obliterated him, which allowed Owens the conniving champion to keep his title.

4. CM Punk vs. The Rock (WWE Championship): Royal Rumble 2013

The self-proclaimed ‘Best in the World’ CM Punk was on a complete tear going through the roster successfully holding the title for a historic 434 days. At Raw 1000, The Rock came back and challenged whoever was the champion at the time to a WWE Championship match at Royal Rumble. Later in the night, Punk would turn heel attacking ‘The People’s Champion’ and aligning himself with Paul Heyman shortly afterwards.

The Shield would work as mercenaries for Punk to retain his title since the 2012 Survivor Series where they debuted. Vince McMahon informed Punk that if The Shield got involved in the championship match he would be stripped of the title. After twenty minutes of back and forth action between champion and challenger, the lights went out and The Shield interfered yet again. McMahon came out to strip Punk of his championship but, The Rock had other plans and the match was restarted. The People’s Champion would deliver the People’s Elbow to end the historic reign of Punk.

3.  Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (Universal Championship): Royal Rumble 2022

‘The Head of the Table’ Roman Reigns had conquered all of his challengers on Friday Night SmackDown, so a handpicked wild card was chosen from Monday Night Raw to challenge for the Universal Championship. Enter Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins. The two former Shield-mates had faced each other in the past but, this time felt different. Reigns was the arrogant and cocky heel while Rollins portrayed more of a tweener character. Rollins mocked the champion’s historic title reign and infuriated Reigns the go-home episode of SmackDown.

The Universal Championship match was the first match to open the show to a white-hot crowd. Reigns made his long grand entrance waiting for his challenger until a familiar theme erupted throughout the WWE Universe. Rollins not only mocked The Shield’s old entrance through the crowd but, was also decked in full Shield attire which pissed off the champion.

I feel like it’s impossible for these two superstars to have a bad match. They have incredible chemistry whether as partners or rivals. Reigns locked in his challenger with the Guillotine Choke but Rollins made it to the ropes. The Tribal Chief was relentless and would not break the hold so Rollins won by disqualification.

2. AJ Styles vs. John Cena (WWE Championship): Royal Rumble 2017

Let me start of by saying this was a very difficult choice to make because I went back and forth on making this number one. ‘The Phenomenal’ AJ Styles shocked the world in 2016 not only for turning heel on John Cena but, beating him at Money in the Bank via shenanigans and SummerSlam completely clean in the middle of the ring. Styles went on to have an incredible run as WWE Champion over on SmackDown Live.

Cena went off and did his own thing after a devastating loss to his rival but, came back returned in time to challenge for the title to not only become a sixteen-time champion but to tie the illustrious record held by Ric Flair. Both superstars used every maneuver in their arsenal to win the match, but it came down to the final sequence to understand where Cena’s passion lies. Mr. Never Give Up hit the Attitude Adjustment and deadlifted Styles to deliver another thunderous AA to become the sixteen-time WWE Champion. What a freaking match!

1. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins vs. John Cena (WWE World Heavyweight Championship): Royal Rumble 2015

Even though the match before was tieing the legendary Ric Flair’s championship record, I still can say with full confidence that this triple threat match is one of the best matches in Royal Rumble history. Brock Lesnar had an impressive 2014 starting off with ending The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania, and then obliterating John Cena at SummerSlam to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

At Night of Champions Cena was minutes away from winning the title and defeating ‘The Beast Incarnate’ until the arrogant Mr. Money in the Bank Seth Rollins caused a disqualification. Leading up to the Royal Rumble, Cena and Rollins would face off in a tables match at the TLC pay-per-view, while Lesnar vanished. A huge triple threat match was set for the 2015 Royal Rumble pitting all three superstars against each other. Rollins who was still holding the briefcase bragged about if he didn’t win the title with Plan A, he would just cash-in and become the champion with Plan B.

From the moment the bell rang, the action began between Cena and Lesnar. Rollins played the manipulative cocky heel picking his moments to strike. Rollins and Cena took out The Beast on the outside to make it one-on-one. Lesnar was stretchered out of the match but miraculously came back and displayed his freakish strength taking anyone who moved to Suplex City. Rollins hit the champion twice with his briefcase and set up for the Curb Stomp. Lesnar bounced up and delivered a thunderous F5 to retain in a fantastic match.

I love this match so much because it was the first time that I believed Lesnar can deliver a great match and good story when he wants to. We’ve experienced this in his matches against AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, and even Finn Balor. The Beast is a very smart performer and knows how to sell for his opponents to make them look like a megastar.

There you have it, those are my top five championship matches at Royal Rumble. Let me know what you think!


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Opinion

Greg DeMarco’s Top 5: WWE WrestleMania 39 Opponents For Roman Reigns Not Named The Rock

The Road to The Royal Rumble is here, which means we will soon have an opponent for The Tribal Chief! Greg DeMarco explores potential candidates…

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Roman Reigns Seth Rollins WWE WrestleMania 39

The Road to The Royal Rumble is here, which means we will soon have an opponent for The Tribal Chief! Greg DeMarco explores potential candidates…

Daddy’s back with something for you that is meant to be fun–and a distraction from the news surrounding Vince McMahon’s (likely terrible) return to WWE. Being a fan is meant to be fun, and one of the most fun things we get to do is look ahead to WrestleMania.

The main question, for this article at least, is who will be Roman Reigns’ opponent at The Granddaddy Of ‘Em All? Now everyone wants it to be The Rock, so we will explore the alternatives to that match.

In order to do that, I am making the following assumptions, even if some might not be true in the end:

  • Roman Reigns only wrestles one match, the final match on Night 2.
  • Roman Reigns is defending both the WWE and the Universal Championships in that match.
  • Roman Reigns–and this is just purely me–is not losing.

Honorable Mentions

I did have a few ideas who simply didn’t make the list. Check ’em out:

  • Drew McIntyre – Simply put: Why? Why would we put Drew McIntyre against Roman Reigns in a football stadium when we just saw him against Reigns in a football futbol stadium last fall?
  • Kevin Owens – Similarly, why would we do this right after we do it at the Royal Rumble?
  • Karrion Kross – Ok, now I’m just trolling you. He ain’t the guy, brother–not with this gimmick.
  • Ricochet – Personally, as an underdog babyface against Roman Reigns, I love Ricochet winning the Royal Rumble and challenging The Tribal Chief. But we have a better underdog on the list already.

With that all out of the way, it’s time to have some fun. I give you…

My Top 5 WWE WrestleMania 39 Opponents For Roman Reigns Not Named The Rock

5. Sami Zayn

The bloom is off the rose for Sami Zayn, at least in the eyes of The Tribal Chief. The eventual turn is one of the most telegraphed things in recent memory, and in this instance that is perfectly fine. Sami Zayn is insanely over, and him fighting the uphill battle with The Bloodline would get him Daniel-Bryan-Danielson-at-WrestleMania-30 levels of heat along the way.

People love Sami Zayn. His awkward charm and seemingly unlimited charisma won over the audience so well that his storyline with The Bloodline had to get extended multiple times over. However, it’s obviously coming to an end.

The obvious match is Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn against The Usos, but you could also slot Kevin against Solo Sikoa if Sami were to indeed get the nod.

4. Bron Breakker

You probably think I’m crazy, and I totally get it. Bron Breakker comes from NXT and goes right to the WrestleMania main event?

If you want to create a new star in Bron Breakker, this is how you do it. (At least, it’s one way you can do it.) Look at Roman Reigns himself–part of the story of his WrestleMania 31 challenge of Brock Lesnar was that he was growing into the role. JBL told the story on commentary, and the match was all about Roman ascending to the level of Brock.

Of course it was all the perfect set-up for Seth Rollins to give us the greatest Money In The Bank cash-in in WWE history, but in the process Roman proved that he belongs.

So make this year’s Royal Rumble the ultimate opportunity–the most shocking winner since Rey Mysterio, the NXT Champion Bron Breakker.

3. Seth (Freakin’) Rollins

Seth Rollins seems to be in a never ending program with Austin Theory, and it’s time to move on. Seth is an automatic main eventer in WWE at this point. He’s a made man, probably the next biggest star (on the men’s side) in WWE after Roman Reigns.

And he also has a very specific distinction that no one else has: a singles victory over Roman Reigns since he made his huge return in 2020. Yes, it was by disqualification, but he has proven his abilities to get inside the head of the Tribal Chief.

And Seth Rollins is going to have a match at WrestleMania, and 50,000+ in Sofi Stadium are going to be singing his song. Might as well be in the match that closes WrestleMania Night 2.

2. Sheamus

This is purely a match on my playlist–but this is MY list. And to me, Sheamus makes perfect sense.

In fact, I thought the feud between The Bloodline and The Brawling Brutes would lead to Sheamus challenging Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble. And had Sami Zayn’s involvement in The Bloodline not taken off the way it did, we still may have.

Sheamus is more popular now than ever, and at 44 years of age he is doing some of his best work. Sheamus winning his second Royal Rumble and challenging Roman Reigns would be the Lifetime Achievement Award he deserves.

But it’s more than that! The match? It would deliver in a big way. History? There’s plenty between Sheamus and Roman, going back to when Sheamus cashed in Money In The Bank on Reigns, and when Reigns eventually beat The Celtic Warrior to win one of his world championships. The fans? They would be solidly behind Sheamus, and would go nuts for every near fall. Don’t sleep on Sheamus as your WrestleMania 39 main event opponent for Roman Reigns.

1. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Full credit for this idea belongs to PC Tunney and Dave Ungar, as shared in the Chairshot Radio Twitter DM thread. And it’s steal-worthy indeed.

Three major legendary names are rumored for WrestleMania 39: The Rock, John Cena, and Steve Austin. All three make sense for a multitude of reasons. But The Rock will be launching a football league (which might be a reason to do this–the publicity), and is still in insane demand in Hollywood. Cena seems to be free at the present time, and we’ve seen the videos of Austin working out.

Remember, I am assuming Roman Reigns is going to win. If that’s the case, then this WrestleMania is but another moment in Reigns’ legacy. Why not add Steve Austin to his list of victories?

It would sell. ✅
The fans would buy it. ✅
Austin proved he can go. ✅

This type of match is what WrestleMania is all about. If it’s not The Rock, it should be “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

And there you have it, my list of–

Wait a minute Greg, what about Cody Rhodes?!?!

Man, I thought I could slip this one past the goalie!

Cody Rhodes is a great question. But you have to look at my assumptions above. I am assuming Roman only wrestles one match, defends both championships, and–most importantly–doesn’t lose. Given those assumptions, you want Cody Rhodes as far away from this match as possible.

If we do split the titles, then Cody needs to be the guy to walk away with the WWE Championship. He does that either over Seth Rollins, or in a triple threat on Night 1 against Reigns and Rollins–but Rollins still eats the fall.

But under my conditions, losing at WrestleMania doesn’t do anything for Cody.


What do you think? Let me know on social media!

Hit me up:

Until next time, remember: enjoying wrestling is a choice…make the right choice!


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