JC’s Top Rope Report: What To Expect When Orton, Cena and Rollins Return
The WWE has been on quite the run over the last few weeks. RAW continues to show signs of improvement. The entire product looks to be on the upswing. Now of course, we have all had hope before when things start to look good. But then the rug gets pulled out from underneath us. For now, however, we will take the positives and go along with it.
If you ask me, the best thing the WWE has going for it right now is their roster. It is the most talented roster the WWE has had in quite some time. And for the most part the writing team is maximizing talent and using the talent in appropriate roles. And yes, that even includes how Roman Reigns is being handled as WWE Champion. It’s a fun time to be watching the WWE product right now.
I mentioned how there is a good amount of talent on the WWE roster right now. And it’s true. But think about this as well: There are a few stars out injured right now that will make a big impact when they return. There are three wrestlers in particular who will make a big impact when they comeback: John Cena, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins. John Cena is the most recognizable full time star the WWE has right now. Orton is a name people recognize as well. And Seth Rollins was the top guy in the company before he was injured. And I expect all three to have impact returns and roles with the WWE when they comeback.
What exactly will some of those roles be? Well lets take a guess!
Orton has been out of action since October with a shoulder injury. If we are being honest, Orton’s return will probably have the least amount of impact of these three. But that doesn’t mean he still can’t have a solid role on the main roster upon his return. My colleague Joe O’Brien is a big fan of Orton’s work and I know he will enjoy Orton’s return. Orton is obviously a guy you could plug into the main event of a PPV and he wouldn’t look out of place.
But for me, the time of Orton being a constant main eventer is a thing of the past. When Orton comes back, I see him taking on more of a “gatekeeper” role on TV. By that I mean Orton could be the guy that someone needs to get through to get to the main event picture. And that role can work if Orton is a face or a heel. Orton works the best in the “give no fucks about anything” mode he goes into from time to time. Usually the fans cheer Orton when he is like that.
One thing I believe will happen with Orton when he returns is that he will work more of a reduced schedule. I think Orton is someone who recognizes his injury schedule and knows he has to take a few steps back if he wants to continue his career for a few more years. I think Orton returns to a big pop but immediately turns heel by delivering a RKO to his unsuspecting victim. A feud with AJ Styles right off the bat might be a good one.
Some people may not like it, but John Cena is the biggest star the WWE has at the moment. And he tends to increase ratings when he is on TV. They aren’t by a lot, but people will tune in when he is on.
I think a good amount of Internet fans have made peace with John Cena. His run in 2015 with the United States Championship was great. He was putting on solid matches every week. He had a great feud with Kevin Owens. I think when fans look back at John Cena they will realize that he isn’t as bad of a worker as people made him out to be. Has his character been flawed and boring at times? Absolutely. But his in ring work is underrated by a good amount of fans. I would take 10 John Cena matches over 1 Roman Reigns match at the moment.
One of the original thoughts for Wrestlemania was John Cena vs Roman Reigns for the WWE Title. You know what? I honestly don’t have a problem with that match if it were to happen. I’d be really curious to see how fans would react to a John Cena return at this point. Would they cheer him against Reigns? I honestly think the hatred towards Reigns is different than it ever was towards Cena.
I’d be surprised if Cena didn’t return right into the main event scene. He just turned 39 years old and he doesn’t have a lot left. I could see him going the part time route as well. But I think he would appear more than a part time Orton. Another role Cena could have would be in a possible Authority power struggle storyline. Cena would (presumably) side with the Shane McMahon side of all of this. But I expect Cena to be a big part of storylines going forward when he returns, which is likely to be around May/June.
I expect Rollins to get a massive ovation when he returns, which is probably in the June/July time frame. I hope he gets the same return/hype promos that Triple H received when he returned from injury at MSG. Rollins doing some training/cross fit and talking about being rebuilt would be awesome.
Similar to Cena, I expect Rollins to be right back in the main event scene when he returns. And just like Cena, it could be in either the WWE Title picture or in a potential storyline involving the Authority/Shane McMahon. I should say that if there is a storyline for control of the WWE AGAIN, I want it to be a short one. RAW has been good in recent weeks, and it has been without the boring Authority promos going on. RAW should be run by a Jack Tunney like President character. The authority figure doesn’t have to be on the show 24/7.
Imagine how massive the pop would be if Rollins were to comeback and look like he was aiding the Authority to beat down Shane, only for Rollins to pedigree HHH instead. Or what if Rollins were to come down after a Roman Reigns match or promo and just staredown Reigns? Every scenario I think of has Rollins looking like a major star when he returns. He will be the only one out of the three that will work a full time schedule when he comes back. Rollins was also the best worker on the main roster upon his departure. And his return will make the roster that much better. Roman Reigns may be the guy now, but I expect Rollins to take that Title from him when he comes back. Rollins has evolved into a great all around performer and someone you can trust at the top of the card.
The WWE’s talent pool might be the best it’s been in quite some time. The addition of these three stars when they return from injury will make it even better. If the WWE screws this up, I won’t know what to say.
Until Next Time,
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka