by Craig Higham - December 04, 2013
This is my final part of my 3 part series discussing who and how have become the face of the WWE, why John Cena will be the face until he retires, and some possibilities of who might replace John Cena when he final does retire or move to a part time role to pursue other interests. If you missed those previous two articles then here they are:
Before nominating who I feel will be the next face of the WWE, I will quickly break down the formula that I feel makes a ‘face of the WWE’. By using these criteria we can quickly rule out possible options, making it easier to choose who will be John Cena replacement and become the new Face of the WWE.
We will start with what I mentioned last week and that (initially at least) the new face of the WWE has to be a ‘face’/good guy/hero. This way they will appeal to the younger fans just like Hogan and Cena, and give them a role model to look up to. In the attitude era, Stone Cold while not being an ideal role model for kids, suited the times for that type of anti-hero (as the likes of The Punisher, Spawn, Wolverine were all the most popular comics during the attitude era). To get over as the face of the WWE, our superstar will have to overcome great odds and opponents (Hogan against Andre, Bret Hart against Yokozuna, Austin against Vince McMahon). Accomplishing this, will cement their ‘hero status’ amongst the WWE younger fans.
This rules out all those superstars who are associated with being heels, such as Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barret, Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro
While the face of the WWE needs to be a hero to the kids, he also need to be wanted by women (and some men). The face needs to have the look that attracts the casual fan, and makes them want to buy the shirts and the posters to put up in their rooms. These fans do not even have to be wrestling fans, just the casual men and women who know the wrestler purely and solely due to their good looks. Hogan had that look in the 80’s, The Rock had it in the 2000’s and Cena has it now. These guys have the look that transcends the wrestling ring into mainstream media such as TV and the movies. These are the wrestlers that talk shows want to have on their shows, people want at their openings and people want at their conventions.
Current WWE superstars who like myself do not quite have the look include The Wyatt Family, Kane, The Great Khali, Tensai and Brodus Clay.
Since this is the WWE that we are talking about, then we know that the next face of the company needs to be well built, chiselled and have some size about them. Rey Mysterio, Shawn Michaels are main eventers and Hall-of-famers (Rey will be) but they were never the face of the WWE as they both were under 6 foot. Hulk Hogan 6 foot 7, The Rock 6 foot 5, John Cena 6 foot 1, while not giants (like Andre and The Big Show), still had size and build that make them stand out in a crowd. Vince McMahon wants his face to be able to standout, look huge against an average man, and have the body that other people want.
There is always an exception to the rule, and Ric Flair showed that, however he was never the face of the WWE, which is what we are discussing here.
On the flip side, the face cannot be too big that they cannot produce quality in the ring. Andre The Giant, The Big Show, The Great Khali are all giants in the ring, but are not known to be able to produce 5 star matches and hence will not lead the company.
With size being a crucial factor, then while they can still be main event performers the likes of Daniel Bryan, and Seth Rollins have to be ruled out as possible options. Currently while CM Punk and Cody Rhodes may have the height, they lack the size, build wise to fit into the image of the face of the WWE.
The face of the WWE cannot have a cartoonish gimmick. While The Undertaker will possibly go down as the greatest WWE superstar of all time, he was never the face of the WWE. The face of the company needs to have an exaggerated persona of themselves so that when fans meet them outside wrestling they feel like they are meeting their in-ring heroes. Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, The Rock, Stone Cold and John Cena all had ‘normal’ style in-ring persona’s which made them realistic people towards us fans.
So we can forget about the likes of The Wyatt Family, Fandango, Brodus Clay, Tensai and Sin Cara as John Cena replacements.
The Face of the WWE must be able to perform in the ring, or have the skill and ability to constantly have great matches against a variety of opponents. Now while Bret Hart is currently the only face that has some solid technical wrestling background, the likes of Hogan, Cena, The Rock and Austin all could tell a story in a match, and made each match they were in feel like a main event. Hogan has had memorable matches against the likes of Andre the Giant, as well as Randy Macho Man Savage, while Bret Hart looked comfortable in the ring against the likes of his brother Owen or the massive Yokazuna. With a roster full of different size, shape and styles, the new face of the WWE must be able to make each of his opponents look like they are able to beat him at any moment.
This currently rules out the likes of Jack Swagger and Sheamus who so far have struggled convincing us they could lose against smaller opponents. As well as we have seen the likes of Ryback show he is no-where near ready to carry a main event match.
A catch phrase that is embraced by the fans, can be splatted over t-shirts and posters, is yelled by the crowd is needed to complete of John Cena replacement. WHATCHYA GONNA DO…..THE BEST THERE IS, THE BEST THERE WAS, THE BEST THERE EVER WILL BE,…. CAUSE STONE COLD SAID SO….IF YOU SMELL WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKING,….YOU CAN’T SEE ME…all catchphrases that were embraced by fans. Our John Cena replacement is going to need to come up with something cool and unique that will also be embraced by fans.
Taking into account of all the above, and using the current WWE roster, then I feel there is only one superstar that could fill the role as the new face of the WWE, that is……… ROMAN REIGNS. Here we have a wrestler that has the size 6 foot 4, the body, and the look that suits the WWE. He could easily follow The Rock into movies at a later as he has the look of an action hero, and he already has a strong female fan base. He has already shown he can look great in the ring against giants such as The Big Show, as well as smaller guys like Daniel Bryan. He is gradually building his fans base through participation in The Shield (just like The Rock did with The Nation, and Bret Hart with The Hart Foundation). He has a good variety of moves, and a great looking spear as a finisher. While he is currently booked as a heel, he could easily fill a face role similar to that of Batista.
At 28 year of age he still has time to develop (as John Cena is not leaving anytime soon), and can be manoeuvred into a replacement position by the WWE (just like Bret Hart) when Cena decides to move on. He has plenty of time to develop catchphrases and his current gimmick is not cartoonish.
If the WWE is patient with Reigns, bring him up slowly (i.e. do not make the mistake they made with Ryback), then they have their Face of the company replacement ready. Other mistakes they need to avoid with Roman Reigns is place him on any type of losing streak (this ruined the likes of MVP’s WWE career, as well as the likes of Drew McIntyre and Ryback.) Placing him in a over the top carton gimmick, like they did with Brodus Clay or change his gimmick like they did with Albert (Tensia).
Do you agree or disagree??? Who would you like to see as The Face Of The WWE???
Hooroo and see you next week
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