John Cena could win his 17th World Title before retiring from the WWE.
Although John Cena is busy with movies in Hollywood, he is not yet done with the WWE, which he has been a significant part of for almost 20 years now. This lead many to speculate: Should John Cena win his 17th World Championship?
Amit Shukla and Mark Justice, two of Daily DDT’s beloved contributors, will tackle this question and pontificate their opposing viewpoints in a reborn series called “Debate The Mark.” This debate will be ‘untouchable.’
Without further ado, here is their riveting debate on this issue, with Amit taking the side of Cena remaining at sixteen world titles, and Mark taking the side of Cena deserving a 17th World Title run before retiring from the WWE.
Amit Shukla: John Cena’s Lack of Connection With The WWE Universe And Part-Time Schedule Should Not Warrant A 17th World Title Run
Amit Shukla: John Cena has a Hall of Fame-worthy career, but it still doesn’t come close to him taking over The Nature Boy Ric Flair’s record of 16-world championships. The Cenation Leader has moved from active in-ring wrestling to Hollywood and has been a part of some path-breaking and jaw-dropping movies over the years.
It is the tight schedule of the Doctor of Thuganomics that doesn’t allow him enough time to appear on weekly WWE programs. He came to the ring during the buildup to his match with The Fiend at WrestleMania 36. The former unified World and WWE Champion has worked well, but due to these sporadic appearances, he has lost his connection with the WWE Universe.
Goldberg’s return and his subsequent win against a superstar like The Fiend at the Saudi Arabia show didn’t go well with the members of the WWE Universe. If the company does decide to make him a champion, the ratings will go down, and that is the last thing WWE or Vince McMahon would want because they had the lowest Raw ratings for the show that aired last week.
Mark Justice: John Cena’s Longevity And Box Office Appeal For 10+ Years Should Warrant A 17th World Title Run
Mark Justice: ‘The Champ is Here!’ Wouldn’t it be splendid to hear that for the 17th time?
Unlike Ric Flair, Cena carried the company on his back for an entire decade as the face of the WWE. That alone is commendable and 17-world title worthy. Ric Flair himself stated that he would be elated if Cena surpassed his insurmountable record of 16 world titles, praising his diligence and character in the process.
Unlike Goldberg, Cena did not lose his connection with the WWE Universe. The majority of fans still miss him to this day. Like The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Edge, and The Undertaker, Cena is a nostalgia act who tends to be warmly welcomed on the show as if he is still the top babyface. He is a big star with a tremendous amount of drawing power, and the ratings will assuredly not go down with him on the show.
Unlike Goldberg, Cena is a selfless superstar who did not have a superfluous winning streak and had pushed plenty of superstars that are still adored by the WWE universe today, especially CM Punk at WWE MITB 2011, Daniel Bryan at WWE SummerSlam 2013, and Bray Wyatt at WWE WrestleMania 36.
Although he has pulled out the golden shovel on multiple occasions, he will not be hated for winning another world title due to how progressive some of his booked rivalries had been. Henceforth, the reaction Goldberg received for dethroning Bray Wyatt in 2020 won’t be the same as Cena winning his 17th world title before he retires.
Big Match John should win a 17th world title because he has the full package and has had the greatest run in WWE history. He’s not a part-timer. He’s an all-timer. Austin, Rock, and Hogan didn’t run things for nearly that long. None of them kept his schedule. No one has sold more merchandise. None of them had his longevity. Most importantly, no one has matched his box office appeal.
Thanks to his positive platform that conveys the slogan “Never give up” and this idea that complacency leads to the loss of respect, he has inspired everyone to succeed what they put their mind to at all costs. Cena has put his mind to winning 17 world titles and he must do so to avoid this portrayal as a complacent Hollywood star who does not need WWE anymore.
Consequently, his era needs to set a new benchmark to take it to the next level, and that’s more fulfilling than any other option.
Amit’s Rebuttal: John Cena Has His Best Days In The Rearview Mirror
Amit Shukla: John Cena is one of the greatest names to grace the squared circle. His phrase, ‘Never Give Up,’ is valuable, as is the phrase ‘Your Time is Up.’ The Cenation Leader has had a decent run with the WWE by making his debut on the main roster against Kurt Angle on the 27th July 2002 episode of SmackDown.
The former WWE Champion did have a decent run, but The Doctor of Thuganomics didn’t have a good time over the last few years. He got a last-minute call for a match with The Phenom and lost after trying to build the entire storyline on his own.
The same happened this year too when he came to the blue brand and decided to skip The Grandest Stage of Them All only to be interrupted by The Fiend. It led to a match between the two, and as cinematic, as it looked, it also revealed the fact that the former WWE Champion is not in any shape to have a decent run in the WWE.
It is a time when the focus is on nurturing new talents, and while we have seen the deserving ones get an opportunity, Cena has his best days in the rearview mirror. It is only a matter of time when he becomes a lot more occupied with his ventures outside of the realm of professional wrestling, and the 20 feet by 20 feet space finally looks like a distant dream for the former Unified Champion.
John Cena is a legend in his own right, but at this stage, it would be fitting to say that his time is up, and others’ time is now, and so a 17-time championship is out of reach.
Mark Justice: John Cena Can Use A 17th World Title To Nurture New Talent And Pass The Torch To The Next Generation
Mark Justice: Although it’s fair to say that John Cena is no longer in his prime, he can still win his 17th World Championship to further legitimize the championship, nurture those new talents you mentioned, and most importantly pass the torch to the next generation.
In fact, Cena’s indelible U.S. Title Open Challenges in 2015 and his transitional 2017 WWE Championship loss to Bray Wyatt inside the Elimination Chamber substantiates this proposition. While his championship victories in the late 2010s were perceived as unnecessary in the short-term, they progressively set the pace for the next generation in the long term.
The WrestleMania storylines that you utilized as examples (i.e. Cena-Taker and Cena-Wyatt) were evidently contrived and are thereby not effective indicators of Cena’s capability to have a decent run in the WWE. On a further note, your conjecture about Cena’s in-ring career finally looking like a ‘distant dream’ is eminently hyperbolic. Instead, it’s important to visualize the silver lining.
Imagine if Cena wins the 17th world championship and promises that he will retire once he loses the championship? That would motivate the new talent to not only chase the championship but also aspire to become the one to retire John Cena. This is the type of drive that the WWE locker room needs today. Cena can and should win his 17th world championship to augment this drive and set a new benchmark that new talent can aim to surpass in the modern era.
What did you think of today’s “Debate the Mark,” and whose argument swayed you more? This series is brought to you by a shrewd mark who enjoys debating hot topics in professional wrestling, especially when pertaining to WWE.
It was a pleasure debating with my fellow Daily DDT Contributor, Amit Shukla, whom you can follow on Twitter @shuklamit .