Will John Cena be WWE Champion again in 2013?

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January 03, 2013

We might ordinarily disagree with John Cena’s self-evaluation this past Monday on Raw, where he responded to Dolph Ziggler’s insults by admitting 2012 wasn't exactly his year. But truth be told, Cena (and Ziggler) were both pretty much on point: 2012 was decidedly not “The Year of John Cena.” And even if the 10-time WWE Champion had beaten The Rock, not eaten that F-5 from Brock Lesnar the night after WrestleMania XXVIII or suffered the embarrassment of losing to John Laurinaitis and a romantic entanglement, Cena didn’t hold the WWE Championship once in 2012. Given Cena’s own meteoric standards — and in more or less his own words on Raw — it apparently means the last year was not up to snuff.

To be fair, Cena had a better year than he gave himself credit for Monday. He did ultimately defeat Lesnar at Extreme Rules in one of the more brutal matches in recent memory, and toppled Big Show at No Way Out in a match that got Laurinaitis fired. He also captured the aforementioned Money in the Bank contract, as well as a Superstar of the Year Slammy as voted by the WWE Universe.

He also didn’t fall short of the WWE Title for lack of trying. The Cenation leader challenged for the prize on a few occasions, but a bizarre combination of fate and interference from his enemies meant he fell short each time. The closest he came was a controversial pin of CM Punk at Night of Champions that was ruled a draw because both men’s shoulders rested on the mat. Cena’s most memorable failure was at Raw 1,000, where he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on Punk and failed to win the title thanks to Big Show’s interference, a shortcoming that landed Cena squarely on the wrong side of history (he’s the first Superstar to cash in Money in the Bank and walk away empty-handed). His last attempt at the title was at Survivor Series in a Triple Threat Match against Punk and Ryback, but The Shield took care of that bit of business and left Cena in ruins, allowing Punk to pick the bones.

In other words, it’s easily argued that Cena’s off-year — if there even was one — was simply due to a streak of bad luck and not any shortcoming of his own. But Cena’s vowed a fresh start anyway and gone appropriately big with his New Year’s resolution: He’s promised to become WWE Champion again.

Can he pull it off? Well, it’s a tough one to call. On the one hand, this is John Cena we’re talking about. But on the other hand, even the greats can have a hard time bouncing back from a bad year. Cena’s dealt with disappointment and injuries ever since losing the title at Hell in a Cell 2010, which means it’s been a full 15 months since he sat atop the WWE mountain. To get to the title again, first up will be the Royal Rumble Match, which Cena has already declared for alongside fellow former champions Sheamus and Randy Orton (WATCH: CENA'S MEMORABLE RUMBLE MOMENTS). If the Rumble isn't the answer, he’ll likely have to beat a Superstar along the lines of CM Punk (who’s proven to be Cena’s Kryptonite), Ryback (who he has yet to beat in any capacity) or maybe even The Rock, who seems to have had Cena’s number since the minute he returned from laying the smackdown on Tinseltown.

That’s a big monkey on Cena’s back and a tall set of obstacles in the way. And despite Cena’s optimism in the face of his task, it remains to be seen how (or if) he’ll pull it all off. So will he be WWE Champion again in 2013? Let us know what you think by posting your comments below.

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