5 Superstars John Cena has never faced one-on-one
This past Monday saw a rare occurrence in WWE. Okay, well, two: Braun Strowman crushed Elias under the combined weight of Megadeth puns and a baby grand piano, and John Cena faced somebody for the first time ever. The lucky opponent (so to speak) was Goldust, who confronted the 16-time World Champion in an attempt to reverse his WrestleMania fortunes. The Bizarre One fell short in his efforts, but the unexpected sight of the 15-year veteran Cena facing someone for the first time got us thinking who else he hasn’t locked up with one-on-one. As it turns out, some of the names are surprising.
“Woken” Matt Hardy
Easily the most entertaining prospect on this list is the current vessel of Matt Hardy, who has been entangled in a “Great War” with Bray Wyatt since a string of losses propelled him to a higher plane of existence. Cena has clashed with Hardy’s previous incarnations before — he and Shawn Michaels once lost the Tag Team Titles to Matt & Jeff — but a battle with “Woken” Matt is a positively wonderful prospect we hope happens sooner rather than later. Cue the maniacal laughter.
This is probably the least-shocking of the bunch, as Bobby Roode has only been in WWE for about a year, and Cena hasn’t been a consistent enough presence on SmackDown LIVE to have mounted a challenge. That said, there is a clear motivation for The Cenation Leader should he choose it: His own stint as United States Champion in 2015 was marked by the beloved Open Challenge policy. If he truly is approaching the twilight of his career, there are few better ways for him to do so than by reclaiming his old title from The Glorious One, bringing back the Open Challenge and seeing who thinks they can stop him.
Now here’s a surprising one. Kofi Kingston and Cena’s careers are only separated by a few years, and they have squared off in a handful of multi-man matches. But The Dreadlocked Dynamo has thus far missed out on a singles match against the 16-time World Champion. Funnily enough, it looked like this bout was coming down the pike a few years ago, again during the U.S. Open Challenge era. Big E and Xavier Woods had both taken a crack at Cena and come up short, and it seemed like Kofi was the logical next man up. Alas, it never came to pass.
Believe it or not, this one is true as well. Which is a shame, because Shane McMahon has never shied away from facing larger-than-life Superstars with the biggest possible spotlight on him (See: Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, The Undertaker). The occasional death-defying leap aside, The Prodigal Son has transitioned primarily into the managerial phase of his career, and since Cena has no interest in hanging up his trainers any time soon, this match seems like it’s destined to remain a dream. Of course, if Cena can’t find a WrestleMania opponent, there is precedent for Shane-O-Mac volunteering himself as tribute …
In all honesty, this is the one that has us the most under-the-radar excited at the prospect. Cena and Jason Jordan — Chad Gable’s former tag team partner — put on a stealth mini-classic last year when JJ jumped ship to Raw. And before Gable linked up with Shelton Benjamin, he carved out some solid Suplex City-adjacent real estate for himself as one of Team Blue’s most promising singles competitors. Last we checked, Gable seemed focused on reclaiming the SmackDown Tag Team Titles with Shelton, but should Cena decide he wants to tussle with the other half of the former American Alpha, it’s hard to imagine Gable wouldn’t be ready and willing to do so.