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Here Are Four Ways John Cena’s Final WWE Year Could Play Out

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John Cena will call it quits at the end of 2025, and the biggest question will be how the 16-time world champion’s final year in WWE will pan out.

The West Newbury, Mass. native made a surprise appearance at Money in the Bank in Toronto where he announced he will retire at the end of next year. It means WrestleMania 41 will be his last, and it will mark the end of a legendary career for the WWE superstar.

Of course, it is pro wrestling, so there are always doubts about whether or not a wrestler stays retired. Cena seems detail-oriented enough that he might actually stay retired, but “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels have proven that there always will be a temptation to return.

We can also rule out a swerve where Cena makes a surprise debut at All Elite Wrestling. The 47-year-old sidestepping questions about Vince McMahon and the Janel Grant lawsuit at the Money in the Bank post-show news conference showed his loyalty to WWE.

But how does Cena’s career end? He mentioned how the timing was a WWE decision so either Paul Levesque, aka Triple H, or someone up top has something planned for him, right? Well, let’s explore four possible scenarios.

World title No. 17
WWE recognizes Ric Flair for winning 16 world championships. In its records, he is an eight-time NWA world heavyweight champion, a six-time WCW world heavyweight champion and a two-time WWF champion. Cena tied the record when he beat AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble in 2017. While Cena remained in the world title picture since, he was never a serious contender given his increased Hollywood schedule. Does that change next year? It would be a crazy scenario for Cena to win next year’s Royal Rumble match to challenge for a world title and then win it at WrestleMania 41. WWE is all in on calling Cena the “GOAT” and what better way for him to do that than to win another world title and pass Flair for the most in WWE history?

Reigniting nostalgia
Let’s say WWE doesn’t want one of its full-time guys losing the world title to Cena. There’s still plenty of history for the company to go back to. That stare-down with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at WrestleMania 40? It might have been a callback, but what if it was a tease to complete the trilogy that was meant for WrestleMania 30? CM Punk likely will lose his feud with Drew McIntyre. The best way to heat him back up is for him to find the magic of his feud with Cena from 2011.

Putting over next generation
The adage in pro wrestling is that you go out on your back. The idea is that you step aside for the next generation. WWE views Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes as its two biggest stars. Cena could have one last feud with either of them to establish them as the next face of the company, something that wasn’t properly done when Cena became a part-timer. WWE also is very high on Solo Sikoa. Cena could feud with him as his new Bloodline faction to put them over.

Squash match
It would be hilarious for Cena to walk out of WWE without putting anyone over. Even if he did try to put over new talent, his match with Austin Theory at WrestleMania 39 showed there are mixed results when you walk into a feud with one of the best mic guys in WWE history. Let’s also address the fact that Cena likely will only work about 30-40 dates next year. You’re only offered so much time, and movie studios will cringe at the idea of Cena possibly getting hurt in the ring. The best solution for that is for Cena to work a one-minute match at WrestleMania 41. WWE appears to see Bron Breakker as the next big thing. A wonderful way to build him up is for him to feud with Cena and then crush him as Brock Lesnar did at SummerSlam 2014. It would be a memorable way to put a new talent over, and even if Cena continued to work dates, it would be something for his heel character to have over the WWE legend.

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