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John Cena retirement: Potential opponents and ideas for the legendary superstar as he prepares to walk away

Written by on July 9, 2024

John Cena appeared at WWE Money in the Bank premium live event over the weekend, using the surprise appearance to announce his full retirement from wrestling. The Cena Show isn’t over yet, however, as he announced that he would compete “throughout” 2025 before officially and completely walking away from in-ring competition.

It’s unclear what Cena means exactly by competing throughout the year, but Cena is reportedly already locked in for Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania 41.

With such a major announcement, speculation is running wild as to what 2025 could hold for one of the biggest stars in WWE history. Could Cena win a world title for the 17th time in his career, breaking Ric Flair’s record for most stints as world champion? Will he win a singles match for the first time since 2018?

Let’s have a little fun and take a look at some potential stops along the John Cena Retirement Tour.

Winning Royal Rumble or Elimination Chamber

Cena’s last run through WWE should be nothing like his last few sporadic appearances where Cena was used to put over young talent, losing singles matches to Austin Theory and Solo Sikoa. This time around, Cena needs to be in the main event enjoying time as a major player.

When Cena heads into WrestleMania, it should be in a main event role, not in a random midcard match. As mentioned, one more run as world champion would give Cena the record of most runs as world champion in wrestling history. Cena could get to the necessary title shot at WrestleMania 41 one of two ways, either by winning the Royal Rumble or the Elimination Chamber, set for January and February, respectively.

If WWE plans to put the title on Cena and he doesn’t plan on competing past WrestleMania, it would also be an option to have him win the world heavyweight championship at the Royal Rumble event but that feels like there isn’t enough time to build to Cena in a world title match.

Winning the world heavyweight championship

Assuming Cena wins either of the above matches and gets a guaranteed title shot at WrestleMania, it would only make sense for him to chase the world heavyweight championship. The undisputed WWE championship held by Cody Rhodes is likely to be tied up in some version of a match with someone from The Bloodline. Rhodes vs. Cena would get a ton of attention as an epic clash of elite-tier babyfaces, but the easier path would be for Cena to shoot for whoever has the world heavyweight championship. This also makes sense if you buy into the line of thinking that Cena’s retirement tour is to help give a big launch to Raw’s transition to Netflix.

At least for the moment, it appears Gunther is destined to take the world heavyweight championship sometime before the end of the year, possibly as early as SummerSlam. Cena’s history of basically playing the wrestling version of a superhero would pair well with a dominant heel like Gunther.

A retro rivalry with Randy Orton

Orton and Cena have a long history that includes heaps of pay-per-view matches. Cena’s final years should have callbacks to his most legendary rivalries and key points in his career. While Orton has been tangled up in Bloodline-related stories since his return from injury, he hasn’t really had a defined direction as a singles wrestler.

It seems like that could change soon for Orton, possibly with a heel turn. If Orton turns heel in the coming months, he would make a great foil for some point during Cena’s return. That could come before or after a potential Cena title win, but fans would certainly be willing to embrace the return of one of the rivalries that defined the late 2000s and early 2010s in WWE.

Other potential Cena opponents

  • With The Rock back in the mix, WWE could draw huge interest by pairing up Cena and Rock for one final match. It feels as though that would be unlikely with Rock being so deeply invested in the overall Bloodline storyline and splitting the combined drawing power of Rock and Cena probably would be the best business move. Still, the idea of these two titans colliding is enough to get the blood pumping.
  • CM Punk and Cena produced arguably the greatest match of Cena’s career, and one of the best matches in WWE history, at Money in the Bank 2011. Punk and Cena are a magical pairing in their juxtaposition. Punk is everything Cena isn’t, a literal punk who had to scratch and claw to make his way to the top of a company that had basically anointed Cena before he’d ever made a single wave. Again, classic Cena callbacks should be on the menu for 2025.
  • There’s not enough juice for a lengthy program, but the re-debut of Uncle Howdy and his Wyatt Sick6 could make for an interesting short program with Cena. After all, Cena had an iconic pandemic WrestleMania “match” with Bray Wyatt in the Firefly Funhouse. Cena playing that game briefly with Wyatt’s brother as something of a tribute would be a fun and somewhat touching moment.

The post John Cena retirement: Potential opponents and ideas for the legendary superstar as he prepares to walk away first appeared on OKC Sports Radio.


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