Is John Cena Next for Jinder Mahal’s WWE Championship?


In light of his first “pay-per-view” WWE Championship defense at Money in the Bank, who could be next for Jinder Mahal? John Cena, perhaps?

Money in the Bank makes two straight Smackdown!branded “pay-per-view” events in a row in which Mahal has beaten Randy Orton to win and defend the WWE championship, respectively.

As we march towards SummerSlam, there is still another Smackdown “pay-per-view” set to take place: Battleground. So between now and SummerSlam, what’s on the docket for Mahal and his title reign?

It has been confirmed that John Cena will be returning to WWE as a “free agent”, so what exactly does that mean? The logical thing that comes to mind is that he will be making appearances on both RAW and Smackdown.

His expected appearances on both brands can also be expected when you look at the two venues for the go home shows prior to SummerSlam: Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island for RAW and Smackdown, respectively.

It makes all the sense in the world for Cena and Mahal to meet at SummerSlam, but there’s still a slight possibility it could be Cena and Roman Reigns in light of the announcement Reigns is set to make on RAW tonight.

When it’s all said and done, we will most likely see Cena and Mahal at SummerSlam, but what about Battleground? The WWE Champion needs to be on that card, right?

Yes, he does. So what then?

He’s already beat Randy Orton in two straight pay-per-views, is it possible they have a third match even with Mahal up 2-0?

Sure, why not?

If that’s the case, at a pay-per-view titled “Battleground” it’s only fitting we have this third and final encounter be in a Punjabi Prison Match. This way the Singh Brothers are not able to interfere and the match name goes along with the theme of the pay-per-view—this is a match concept that has been out there and speculated on the interwebs for some time now.

If it’s not Orton, the WWE will need to establish someone else in just a month to go up against Mahal even with Corbin’s Money in the Bank contract in hand.

Because of Corbin holding the contract, it just doesn’t make sense to build someone up in a Samoa Joe style as a one-off for Mahal prior to SummerSlam.

Booking Orton and Mahal III is risky because the WWE shouldn’t risk having fans lose interest even more than they already have, but hopefully, if they utilize the Punjabi Prison Match, the fans will admire the concept enough that the logic surrounding a third match between these two won’t matter.

However, leading up to Battleground and SummerSlam, you should definitely expect a build-up to Cena and Mahal where Cena will look to break the record for WWE Championships and be crowned for the 17th time.

Quick side-note: It would be perfect to have Cena win and then Corbin cash in the Money in the Bank and spoil Cena’s win for his legacy—some real heel heat there.

Related Story: Predicting SummerSlam Card Post Money in the Bank

So to answer the question from the headline: Yes, Cena will be the next challenger other than Orton to go after Mahal’s title. This will be an opportunity for the WWE to either book Mahal strong and maintain his trajectory, or put Corbin over stunning fashion.

Cena and Mahal: The co-main event of SummerSlam 2017.

Book it.