Few wrestlers have accomplished what WWE Superstar John Cena has done already. He has won countless championships, headlined Wrestlemania, and is married to a Bella Twin. One thing he has never done since becoming a top wrestler is turn heel; something that is long overdue.
How could the WWE turn Cena heel?
There are many ways to have the token good guy turn evil, but it’s the way they get there that matters most. They have to stay realistic and not spoil what could potentially be the biggest heel turn in wrestling history.
The way I would have it play out would go something like this:
At Wrestlemania 31, Cena faces off against The Undertaker. The build-up to the match is a lengthy one, hints dropped throughout the year. The first encounter between the two takes place at the Royal Rumble when Cena eliminates The Undertaker from the match. The Undertaker remains absent following the loss until he returns at Elimination Chamber to cost Cena his opportunity to win the WWE Title.
A series of face-offs lead to their match at Wrestlemania, which will undoubtedly be epic from the storytelling purposes alone.
The match at Wrestlemania would be everything we would expect. The match will include lots of near falls, lots of drama, and lots of questions as to whether or not something major will happen. Will Cena actually break the streak?
As the match winds down, a chair enters the ring. I would have it come from an authority figure, Triple H or Vince McMahon. Cena looks at the chair, but quickly decides against using it on The Undertaker.
The match continues and Cena just cannot get The Undertaker down for the three-count. After The Undertaker kicks out for a third time, Cena eyes up the chair again. We watch the conflicted Cena debate in his head whether or not to use an outside weapon.
Using a chair would not disqualify Cena either. This is a match with no disqualifications or count-outs. However, since he is the post-child for fairness and fighting the good fight, Cena has already preached beating The Undertaker fairly without the aid of any weapons.
Finally after much deliberation, Cena walks to the chair and stands over it. He bends down and picks it up with a bit of evilness in his eyes. Suddenly, the haters of Cena begin to cheer as they already know what is about to happen.
He tosses the chair down and boos ring out through the arena. He turns back to the chair again and his mind has been made up.
On commentary Jerry Lawler begs Cena “not to do it” in his frantic voice. Michael Cole chimes in, “The Undertaker may not be looking, but the entire WWE Universe is.”
Meanwhile, The Undertaker has pulled himself up using the ropes, back to Cena. Cena waits for him to fully stand up then charges with the chair. As soon as Cena reaches him with the chair ready to swing, The Undertaker turns around and grabs Cena by the throat. Cena drops the chair and the cheers grow even stronger. The Undertaker choke slams Cena into the mat.
Both men lie unconscious for a moment. Then The Undertaker sits up. He grabs the chair and tosses it out of the ring giving a clear message that he can beat Cena fairly.
Cena stumbles onto his feet then immediately has to endure a tombstone to finish the match with the streak continuing.
The fallout begins the next night on Raw. Cena insists that since he never actually did hit The Undertaker with the chair, he never did anything wrong. He kept his word that he would not use a weapon. His stance becomes that he had a “brief lapse in judgment” possibly suggesting he has been overworked by the demand of the fans to see him wrestle.
Cena, of course, gets called out for this. He eventually does turn full heel when he invades a Pay Per View title match between the two biggest faces at the time, whomever they might be, and walks out of the arena holding the title despite not being the champion. This would happen sometime between Wrestlemania and Summerslam, setting up for a heel Cena to walk away from Summerslam with the title.
This could all happen if the WWE considers why they wouldn’t want to turn him heel in the first place. The biggest reason is merchandise sales. To solve this problem I would do two things:
1) Continue to push Daniel Bryan. He has the potential to sell just as much as Cena does, possibly more due to his appeal to the older audience. Bryan connects with younger fans from the aspect that he is small and with the older ones in that he can wrestle well. Lots of Bryan merchandise on the market means the kids who would have otherwise bought Cena shirts will shift over to Bryan. Odds are their parents also won’t mind since this is a new wrestler with plenty of new merchandise items to buy.
2) Create a new brand for heel John Cena. Heels in wrestling may not sell near as well as the faces, but every smark out there will want the new heel Cena shirts, hats, and other accessories. Have Cena wear blacks, reds, and whites. Totally changing his gear around would create a new image, one many former haters could come to love. A “You Can See Me” gimmick where Cena demands attention is just one idea to capitalize on his success as a face, now in heel form. He could easily become the new Hollywood Hogan.
Will the WWE turn Cena heel? Eventually, they almost have to.