WWE’s long-time franchise player John Cena is the face of the company, having represented the company in this capacity ever since 2005. Incidentally, this was also the last time we saw John Cena appear as a heel character.
Given the huge merchandise sales that WWE achieve with John Cena, together with, his huge fan following and charity work, it is very unlikely that WWE will take the risk of turning him back heel.
However, given the ever falling ratings of the product, a big risk such as this may actually pay off for the company in the long term.
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If we consider the crowd reactions to Roman Reigns (in particular the constant booing and ‘boring’ chants aimed directly at him) it is clear that the WWE universe has become dissatisfied with the current product, and this namely due to its predictability.
WWE fans are very intelligent and consequently aware that the company wishes to get Roman Reigns over as the top face in the company, and the man to take over as 'franchise player' in the future.
Considering that Cena has also achieved a mixed response from fans in the past (even being booed once in his hometown of Boston, MA), there is never going to be a perfect amount of fan support if you are the face of the company. Even The Rock had his fair share of boos when he was the face of the company during the Attitude/Ruthless Aggression eras.
And speaking of The Rock, many older fans may remember his heel run in 2003. Interestingly, this storyline lasted for less than a year and The Rock had two major opponents in Stone Cold Steve Austin and Goldberg. This led to equally exciting matches at WrestleMania and Backlash respectively. The Rock was able to completely change the reaction towards him, creating intense heat that he hadn’t experienced since his debut and subsequent time with ‘The Nation of Domination’ stable.
What is even more important to consider about this was his return to WWE a year later when he competed alongside Mick Foley against Evolution at WrestleMania 20. He had returned to his face character and the fan reaction toward him reverted back to cheers as opposed to boos.
Essentially what's being implied here is that if WWE were to take the risk and turn John Cena heel in order to elevate Roman Reigns, it wouldn’t necessarily be detrimental to their sales or indeed the success of John Cena. As was proved with The Rock, it is possible to recover from the onset of a heel turn.
Considering that it is still early days within Roman Reigns’ WWE career, it might be a good idea for John Cena to put Roman over in order to give him the push he needs. This process has to be organic, it cannot be forced in the way that we’ve seen over the past two years.
John Cena's time might be up, because Roman Reigns’ time is now.
Would a heel John Cena make fans change their minds on Roman Reigns? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!