10/14/15 by Rennie Detore
John Cena started with WWE on its main roster in 2002. Thirteen years later, he's easily the company's biggest star and largest draw financially.
And now, he's walking away from the ring.
Although Cena leaving WWE is only a temporary hiatus, the absence of WWE's main attraction is likely going to sting initially in the form of decreased television ratings and pay per view interest waning.
Cena is quite the polarizing figure, and despite wrestling not being nearly what it was in the late 1990s, the company generates millions on the back of Cena as its featured performer. Cena is marketed as a fan favorite, and no one does more publicity for the company that Cena.
He loves his job, and what the WWE and Chairman Vince McMahon has done for his career. He's made him a superstar and in turn, Cena is loyalty personified and the perfect face for WWE and its PG rated, kid friendly product.
But Cena is loved to be hated by anyone who isn't 10 years old, and that's part of what makes his character work: kids love to see him win, older, teen age and adult fans love to watch him lose.
No matter what the reason, Cena draws in viewers.
So him saying so long for what can only be described as a mini vacation or respite ultimately is going to hurt WWE.
Or, is it?
Wrestling has always been about building new stars. No WWE superstar lasts forever. When Hulk Hogan left WWE initially in the mid 1990s, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels grabbed the reigns. When Hart left the company in the late 1990s and Michaels was out of commission due to injury, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin took the company to heights even higher than Hogan.
Austin's injuries caught up to him in early 2000s, and Triple H, now the company's Chief Operating Officer, stepped up and carried WWE until Cena arrived as the perfect foil.
Cena leaving the company for a little while in 2015 opens the door for younger, unproven talent to finally do what he did 13 years early: become a mega star. Granted, WWE isn't the platform it once was, but the company now more than ever since Cena established himself as "the man" needs someone to take the torch and run with it.
Certainly, some superstars stand out more than others, such as Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, the current heavyweight champion and arguably the best performer in the company right now. You also can throw Kevin Owens, the veteran on the independent wrestling scene, and Rusev, a Russian bad guy with a ton of upside.
No matter who it is that steals the show and, as Jim Ross, former WWE head of talent relations and broadcaster extraordinaire would say, put butts in the seats, the time is now for that to happen. Cena isn't here to save the day and bail out WWE in its time of need.
These wrestlers, these athletes and these would be superstars are about to have a window of opportunity to assert themselves as stars.
Missing out on that is going to mean waiting that much longer to make their mark, and WWE having to once again trot out the same stars with no new, legitimate, money making faces in sight.
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