I'm not sure if we'll see another "Cena" emerge in the next couple of years. I don't know if there's anyone on the current roster that can fill that spot. As much as the WWE would love it, Sheamus doesn't have the ability to fully replace someone as versatile as John Cena. He's not as strong in the ring, or on the mic, he doesn't have as much charisma, or marketability. The same could probably be said for Ryback, who I believe might be even less versatile than Sheamus.
What I think we'll get is a collection of superstars who are just below that level (in some cases, quite far below that level). Sheamus, Ryback, Punk, Orton, Bryan, Sandow, Ambrose, Cesaro, Miz, etc. I think that the WWE are making a coinsice effort to strengthen the entire roster, after spending a long period of time solely relying on John Cena - and it's about damn time.
After Cena leaves, we're looking at the new New Generation. A time where there isn't necessarily one "main" guy, but a selection of top-tier talent.
I agree with what you're saying about the collection of talent, generally, but Cena's not going anywhere for at least several years at minimum. He may begin to slow down in two or three years as he slowly approaches age forty, but he's still going to be around for a fairly significant amount of time.
It's quite crazy that people still over look Randy Orton who in my mind will be the stop gap between John Cena and the long term person to replace John Cena seeing as he is 32 years old, the second biggest full time star in the company, has a cemented main event position, believable in the spot, is loved by Vince McMahon and has the perfect look although question marks are still there about his drawing ability and ability to make WWE money in the spot.
In between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock being the top guys and WWE getting to John Cena they used a group of wrestlers as top guys to carry the company with Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Kane, Booker T and Rob Van Dam on Raw and then The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, Edge and Rey Mysterio on SmackDown although some see The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and Triple H as being the three main people in carrying the company. A similar thing could happen again with Randy Orton, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, Ryback and Cody Rhodes all carrying the company for a few years between them until someone comes around to do the job on their own.
I concur with a great deal of your second paragraph, but as far as your opening paragraph is concerned, there is no way Orton is going ot be given the keys to the kingdom as the top babyface, even as an interim choice. Unlike Cena, Orton gets no thrill from being a top babyface anyway. Moreover, Orton's time has come and gone as far as him being a potential #1 babyface is concerned. Two years ago it seemed like it was at least conceivable, but no more. He's sitting on two strikes, his character is becoming nearly as stale as Cena's and he's never proven he can substantively draw on his own at the very top, so Vince isn't going to go there. Furthermore, with all of his concussions, shoulder injuries and general wear and tear, Orton is an old
"32." By contrast, Sheamus is a couple of years older but has far less mileage on him, is more innately personable than Orton (particularly when we measure their face characters against one another), has no strikes, personally or professionally, against him. WWE tries to get Orton a movie project in Marine 3
and the military speaks out because of his AWOL history. He doesn't care for the media and promotional appearances; by contrast, Sheamus is far more open to all of it, as are other guys like The Miz and several others.
Originally Posted by QuietInRealLife
This is what makes me suspect that Punk is still in line for the throne, I think that's what his current heel run is all about. As much as I think a full on heel turn was unnecessary, no one can deny that Punk was slowly losing his momentum as a cookie cutter babyface. The initial fire had gone & the fans were slowly losing interest, only the younger fanbase were really still behind Punk & even there he was only getting mild pops.
Give it a few more months and the inevitable backlash from the older fans would've started, which would've snowballed, and we'd have a Cena situation all over again. This heel run freshens up Punk's character and means a face run will feel more fresh when it happens. (It also means WWE won't have a top guy that gets booed by half the audience.
I see this as being a bit likes The Rocks heel run in late 98/99, in that I don't see it lasting beyond wrestlemania/extreme rules.
What they're doing with Punk at the moment is exactly what they should've done with Cena in late 2006. A short heel run that allows him to keep fresh and get over with everyone in the long run.
Punk might even turn back babyface next year but I tend to doubt he'll ever be cleared to be the top babyface, especially for any genuinely lengthy period of time. He could be a stopgap of sorts, certainly, in that babyface role, but probably not much more than that.
Originally Posted by razzathereaver
Ricardo Rodriguez? Seriously. He's only 26, which is the perfect age for a new guy to be built as a top face as he's got years and years left in him, he's got decent wrestling talent (better than Shaemus at least), tons of experience on the mic, and has more charisma than most guys on the roster. He's the perfect candidate.