The post-John Cena era

Discussion in 'World Wrestling Entertainment' started by CyberPunk, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. CyberPunk

    CyberPunk The Show himself

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    Yes, we all dreamed/dreaded the day when John Cena is no longer around. While he's still around, we can safely say that WWE has entered the post John Cena era. He's no longer a regular on WWE programming and as time passes by and as more Hollywood projects come his way, the time he spends in WWE will only decrease. There's still that 17th world title for Cena, but he has stopped being the main guy quite some time ago. Which brings to the original point of this thread: who is next?

    What I'm going to do is rank the top five stars on both RAW and Smackdown Live in terms of importance on their respective rosters at this time and who I believe would be the immediate or long term top guys for WWE. I'll also nominate the guy I believe is going to carry WWE on his back into the next decade i.e. beyond 2020.

    For this discussion, I'm going to exclude all the part timers that means no Angle, no Triple H, no Undertaker, and sadly no Brock Lesnar even though he is the current Universal Champion. This is completely subjective because this my opinion, so please don't get your panties in a bunch. You're free to share your list and why you believe these stars are/aren't the current or future stars. So, let's just jump into it

    RAW

    1. Roman Reigns: Easily the biggest star on the red brand. The machine has been relentless in their constant pursuit of the stardom for Roman Reigns, and while he's still not there where the company would want him, he's getting there. The only issue is whether he works as a face or not. He seems a natural heel to me and if turned, I believe he'd be a mega star in future. However, he garners the most attention on the RAW roster. I would even say that WWE books RAW around him. Not only that, he sure is earmarked as "the" guy.

    2. Braun Strowman: If someone would've told me a couple years ago that Braun would be one of the biggest stars on the roster, I would've laughed him off into oblivion. But, Braun has truly established him as one of the biggest stars, if not the biggest stars on the red brand. Some may argue he is the top face on RAW. Despite some shoddy booking here and there, WWE has been largely consistent with his booking and he has truly become a featured attraction to look forward to each week. He could very well be the cornerstone on which WWE stands for the next decade.

    3. The Miz: On current performance, he is easily the top heel in the promotion. He is the chickenshit heel everyone loves to hate, a top notch promo guy and has had some great feuds over the last year and a half. It's pretty clear that he's going to become the man to hold the IC title for the longest time in terms of combined days as champ. His future is still muddled as WWE hasn't always shown complete faith in him, but he very well can be a very important player going forward.

    4. Samoa Joe: The injury took the sails out of his fantastic killer heel run, but he's still one of the top heels on RAW. He has tremendous abilities inside the ring as well as on the mic and could easily become the world champion in near future. The long term issue with him is his current age, but if he's able to keep himself fit, WWE is going to rely on him quite a bit.

    5. Finn Balor: To be honest, he has lost a lot of momentum since showing up on the main roster, and his stop start pushes haven't helped. Having said that, he is still one of the most over guys on the roster and consistently puts on good matches. I feel one good feud can really propel him into stardom in WWE. A program with Samoa Joe would probably help. He's still young and barring any big injuries can easily go on for quite some time.

    Honorable mentions

    Seth Rollins
    : At this very point, he has dropped down the card and is toiling away in the midcard and tag division which is why he hasn't cracked my top 5, but he is a constant presence on our TV screens and could easily be put into the main event at the drop of a hat. There's lot of upside to him and he is definitely going to go far as one of the top guys in WWE.

    Dean Ambrose: Same as Rollins, except I believe he'll stay in the upper midcard with occasional forays into main event.

    Moving on...

    Smackdown Live

    1. AJ Styles
    : Yes, the current 2 time WWE champion is easily the biggest star on the Smackdown brand. He is crazy over wherever he goes, constantly puts on good to great matches, and the one point everyone thought he was weak in i.e. promo work, he has been more than decent. The only thing stopping him from being invested into is his age, but he has shown no signs of slowing down and thus, in my opinion, he's going to be the main star of WWE for some time.

    2. Kevin Owens: Easily the biggest heel on the blue brand. His work as the US champion as well as the Universal Champion was fantastic. He is one of the few heels who could make audience genuinely hate him, and not in a 'go away' or 'cool' way. If everything works out, he's going to be a big star in and for the foreseeable future.

    3. Sami Zayn: How quickly things change? Just a few weeks ago, Zayn was barely being featured, and while I still believe he is a better face than heel, he has quickly established himself as a top heel on the blue brand. If WWE and Sami Zayn can keep at it, he'll soon be established as a top player, not only on SD, but in WWE. He's still pretty young and has a lot to offer if used right.

    4. Randy Orton: Yep, he makes it too this list, but just barely. His stocks have fallen quite a bit since losing his WWE title, but that's beauty of Orton, he can seamlessly get back into the main event without anybody blinking. That's the problem though. He seems to be someone who has been forever into the title picture and after the last two meh reigns, he might not be the best option for WWE. He is just 37 though, that means if keeps it all together, there's still mileage in him.

    5. Shinsuke Nakamura: He barely makes into this list only because almost no one else has any proper momentum. His program with Jinder really hurt him. He needed to feud with an established talent to help him get settled in as a top star. Instead, he was thrust into a very boring and poorly written feud with Jinder that sapped almost any momentum he had when he arrived on the main roster. With his age being same as Orton, there's still time for WWE to utilize him in some meaningful way.

    Honorable mentions

    Bobby Roode
    : He's over with the crowd and that's all he has with the crowd at this time. His feud with Dolph hasn't been the best introduction the main roster. Like most SD main eventers, he's already 40, which means if WWE wants to do something with him, the time is now. The way he wrestles though means he could have more years in him than some other superstars.

    Rusev: Yet another superstar who has almost no momentum because Orton has to look good. At least age is on his side and if utilized properly, I think he can be a big star.

    Conclusion: At this moment, to me, AJ Styles is the biggest star on the full time roster. However, it's clear who is being invested in the most which is Roman Reigns though I also believe that Roman may never reach John Cena stage. WWE should now take a lesson and should try to invest in more than one top guy at a time.

    What do you guys think? Have I missed someone? Do you think someone else apart from these guys could be a future star?


     
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  2. Greg4WWE

    Greg4WWE Pre-Show Stalwart

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    I think Post Cena, they will need several top guys and not just one like Cena was.

    It's good to see Cena come back here and there though, but as his age, all the wrestling he has done, I am sure the body aches. I would step away at over 40 too if i could.
     
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  3. HeenanGorilla

    HeenanGorilla Championship Contender

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    They made the mistake of trying to replace Hogan with Luger, Diesel, etc. They should not have one guy as the (overused phrase) face of the company now. If one comes along organically, great. But forcing one does more harm than good.
     
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  4. Khalifa

    Khalifa Where it at doe?

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    Like After Rock and Austin I think there will be a group of guys at the top until we find that next guy. Sure Brock was the next big thing but that lasted all of 5 seconds. You also had guys like Taker, HHH and Angle holding down the fort, can't forget HBK either. So while majority of those guys were past their primes, they were still the big dogs back then and held down the top of the card.

    If I had to pick 4 guys like that then my order would go Rollins, Reigns, Owens and Strowman. Rollins because to me he is the best wrestler in the company, still relatively young and has already had a lot invested in him by WWE so it makes sense. Can play both heel and face, basically he is the Angle of the group.

    Reigns doesn't need anything said about him. Obviously he has the look, pretty good in the ring if we are being completely honest, just look where he was a few years ago.

    Now that I think about it, can Owens be the top guy of the company. HE certainly is skilled enough to do it but will the fans like it? Anyway when you combine mic and in ring skills, can't think of too many people who are in front of Owens in that department.

    Strowman has impressed me a lot since even just last year. I didn't think I would like him At all but he has quickly gone up the ladder and is constantly making me want to see what he does next. How will face braun suit now? I think it was a bit early to turn him but the crowd love him so I guess now is as good as ever. He is the wet dream of everyone high up in WWE so he fits in the picture quite well.
     
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  5. alynxs

    alynxs Dark Match Jobber

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    The post John Cena era, or better the post Brock Lesnar era, should be Rezar era.
    Rezar from AOP should be booked as the next Lesnar. This guy is a legit fighting machine, he defeated former UFC heavyweight fighter in few seconds in Bellator and also have the look and the size of Lesnar. He put a lot of muscles to his body recently, and by putting Heyman next to him and booking him properly he can be a big star.
    And look at his age .. He's just 23.
     
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  6. Jonyboyuk2

    Jonyboyuk2 Getting Noticed By Management

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    I think if WWE can create a Super face to replace Cena, I for-see the time Cena goes heel ala Hogan BOTB96. It would be a huge thing for WWE, and change the future of the business. My only concern for WWE going forwards is they have a lot of stars from around the world or from ROH/TNA who come to WWE and go to NXT. After this, they are go out to the main roster. What if that talent resource dries up? A huge worry.
     
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  7. shooter_mcgavin

    shooter_mcgavin Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Actually if you think about even in Cena's era there were also a lot of top guys like HBK, Triple H, Edge, Randy Orton, Batista, CM Punk, and Undertaker. So I can see WWE dong this moving forward since they probably wont have a Rock/Hogan/Austin anytime soon.
     
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  8. FromGlasgow

    FromGlasgow Championship Contender

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    I think its obvious Reigns is WWE's number one choice right now, Personally I would prefer AJ Styles seeing as I have followed his career from basically the begining and have never seen him not have a great match but I can understand why they are going with Reigns as their long term plan considering his age and appeal to children.
    One thing I would have loved to have seen before he leaves is a John Cena heel turn and could even give him his own heel faction group similar to Hollywood Hogan/NWO, Could return to feud with the guy who took his spot Reigns. He may have cut down to part time status but I don't think he'll be gone for a long time as he's not that old yet guys like Hogan and Flair before him still won world titles in their early 50's.
     
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  9. Dagger Dias

    Dagger Dias Natural 20
    Staff Member Global Moderator

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    The best thing for them to do would be to build up multiple guys. They got lucky with Cena in this era, but that wasn't without a very vocal minority who disagreed with the big push. They cannot put all their eggs in one basket with Roman Reigns. That's a stupid decision as the guy does not have what it takes. They should build up a number of guys and girls on both shows to focus on for the future. On the Raw side the obvious choices are The Shield. ALL of them. Not just Roman. Heck, Seth is the one who should have gotten Roman's push but enough about that. All three members of The Shield, Finn, Alexa, Sasha, and Asuka are who they should focus on from the red brand moving into the future. Then on the Smackdown side you've got Styles, Owens, Sami, Shinsuke, Charlotte, Becky, and Ember (who I would bring up from NXT soon) for the blue brand's future. All they need to do is find people the fans like who also generate interest. It shouldn't be this hard, but we all know how stubborn Vince is about what HE wants. Looking at YOU, Roman.
     
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  10. #hamler

    #hamler Trending Worldwide.

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    I agree we need multiple top guys. The Attitude Era proved wrestling was better when there were multiple superstars who could win the title without a second thought. A crowded main event scene is a good main event scene. With that, if I needed to pick one to build the main event around, it's gotta be Strowman.

    Braun Strowman is the clearest answer for me here. While the WWE brass is busy discussing ways to get their beloved golden boy Roman Reigns over with the crowd, Braun has captured the hearts and attention of us all. His crowd response is gradually getting louder and louder, it's only a matter of time before the audience turns him into a babyface.

    Braun was incredibly green when he started with The Wyatts. Since, he has improved immensely. While his promos aren't on par with John Cena or even AJ Styles, he gets his point across coherently. His promos are kept short and to the point and that's perfect for someone that can do all his talking through his actions. His in ring skills has also improved greatly. Braun perhaps provided Big Show with his best match in years. His rilvary with Reigns certainly displayed his ability to hold his own in the ring.

    There's no question about it to me, Braun is your guy here. With so much weight being put on Roman's back to be THE GUY, Strowman has quietly slipped into a role where he could be that guy. And he's done it naturally without being forced like so many other top babyfaces. Consistent crowd reaction proves it.
     
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  11. ShinChan

    ShinChan Gone. For. Good.

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    Build multiple guys. Don't put all eggs in one basket. Rock had Stone Cold. Cena has had Orton, Punk and Bryan. Who does Roman have? No one near him. Why? Because no one is getting the big rubs.

    You have plenty of talent like Braun Strowman, Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe to build on. Even Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. But you have to give them big victories like Roman got. If Lesnar leaves after Wrestlemania, Roman has no one equal as of now.
     
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  12. Navi

    Navi With the safety off!!

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    I have to agree with most other here on this thread already, putting all your eggs into one basket is a mistake. We should have multiple roster members who can be believable as champion, as just compared to one.

    Not every fan out there wants Roman Reigns as the top guy, we've heard the reaction's of the crowds already. I think more fans would receive him better if there were others who are receiving the same push as he has gotten. There is no reason that Rollins, Ambrose, Styles, Strowman and others can't be seen as his equal, when someone like Styles is clearly beyond his level already.

    I mean what happens if Reigns get's injured, or has another wellness violation, or just says screw it I'm done. You'd think a smart man like Vince would have already realized this, considering he's been in this boat before. John Cena carried this company on his back for the better part of a decade. I just don't think Reigns is capable of doing so. He needs too much help from his friends. When you are the top guy, you should be able to handle it on your own. He can be a top guy, not THE top guy.
     
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  13. sikkbones

    sikkbones the root of all evil

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    Even hogan didn't carry it alone in his era, he always had, macho and/or warrior around.

    The roman empire will never start until Vince realizes that.
     
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  14. Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D.

    Deoxyribonucleic A.C.I.D. Kamehamehaaaaa!!

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    Roman Reigns is the current heir to the kingdom. Nobody can change that. It has been their project for years the entire company (production, wrestlers, writers) have been working to make Reigns the #1. Everybody. The entire roster.

    What's interesting however, is the roster Roman Reigns will lead. Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, Strowman, Styles, Orton, Nakamura, Roode, Owens, Zayn. They all have a say as to who will rise up to Roman's level.
    Yeah, Roman is the #1, but there's a pit beneath him, involving all these wrestlers. That's where my interest lies.

    It's like a pyramid.

    Roman Reigns
    Lesnar - Cena - Triple H - Undertaker
    AJ Styles - Kevin Owens - Seth Rollins - Finn Balor - Samoa Joe - Randy Orton - Braun Strowman - Dean Ambrose - etc.

    I believe that after WM 34, when WWE will have put the final piece in the Roman Reigns plan, which is for him to beat Lesnar, we are in for a treat. Because after Wrestlemania 34, there are no more dream matches for Reigns and no more legends to put Reigns over. Reigns will be the #1 man. Beneath him there will be this pool of talents. This means two things:

    a) they will either feed everybody to him or
    b) they will try to place new names alongside Reigns in order to create a strong elite

    I hope for b. Right now my interesting in WWE is very low. What I'm most looking forward is the day after Wrestlemania 34.
     
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  15. shooter_mcgavin

    shooter_mcgavin Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Don't forget Piper. Watching The War to Settle the Score I honestly believe Piper had as much to do with the initial 85 Wrestling boom as Hogan.

    Same goes for Austin I guess. Granted part of that was Austin being hurt but remember Austin wasn't on TV all the time. Obviously there's the period from 99 to 2000 where Austin was hurt so The Rock took over. But there also periods like in December 1998 when Austin was no on RAW so the show was focused heavily on DX, Mick Foley, The Rock, and Vince McMahon. WCW Nitro could have won that month if it wasn't for the other talent.

    Cena despite being a face also had a pretty deep roster pool when he was "the guy" with people like Batista, Orton, Edge, Jericho, HHH, HBK, Angle, Undertaker, CM Punk, and Jeff Hardy. Cena started out as kind of a disappointment since he was pushed pretty fast. But his weakness was masked by the talent in roster when he was the guy.

    Right now WWE is putting all their basket on Reigns. Which would be fine if he was a draw but ratings and live attendance does not indicate that and that period between 2010 and 2015 where WWE has failed to create new stars has started to show it's consequences. The only "draws" WWE could rely on now are part time guys like HHH, Angle, Lesnar, and, last year, Goldberg. Bigger problem now is that WWE has relied on this model that they can't get past focusing on these guys as opposed to building up the current talent they have. I mean Survivor Series 2017 kind of shows that with how that main event turned out.
     
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  16. sikkbones

    sikkbones the root of all evil

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    Piper, steamboat and Andre had a lot to do with those early years too..
    But if you're looking for a solid number 2 and/or the guy that drew the adults in compared to hogans action action figure it was always randy.

    Warrior was the hair apparent for a while too.
     
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  17. JoeMallard

    JoeMallard Getting Noticed By Management

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    Reigns will headline Mania 35 against Rock, guaranteed! Rock is the last one left for Reigns to beat.
     
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  18. HeenanGorilla

    HeenanGorilla Championship Contender

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    Hogan absolutely carried it on his own for much of his era. Savage's title reign during that time was simply a year-long build up to a match with Hogan. They tried Warrior towards the end and it wasn't great, but from 83-88 at least, it was all Hogan. He and his merchandise were EVERYWHERE while everyone else had varying levels of success as supporting players. Hogan was THE guy for much of his era though and to suggest Savage and/or Warrior were even close to as comparable as Rock was to Austin is horribly incorrect.
     
    #18

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