Feature Article

WWE Wrestlemania 35: Book John Cena Vs. R-Truth, You Cowards

Damn you, John Cena

It's almost Wrestlemania, and the card feels pretty close to fully booked. However, there is still room for a match in which said storyline has been completely dropped in the past couple of weeks from Smackdown. That's right. I'm talking about R-Truth taking on his childhood hero, John Cena.

Whether you love him or hate him, John Cena has become a staple of Wrestlemania, since his main card debut at Wrestlemania XX. He's put on high-profile matches, year after year, and the WWE wrestler has star power. However, Cena doesn't have a match--yet--at this year's PPV, and with Undertaker seemingly not in the picture anymore, Mania needs Cena. But who will the leader of Cenation fight at the biggest show of the year? Kurt Angle's retirement match is against Baron Corbin--that's a sentence I never thought I'd write. And all of WWE's main players have been spoken for. That's why I propose John Cena faces the most obvious choice of opponent at Mania this year, R-Truth. If you're one of those wrestling fans that hates when WWE does anything remotely comedic, go watch the trailer for Avengers: Endgame again or something. This is not for you.

Wrestlemania is coming to PPV and the WWE Network on Sunday, April 7 at 4 PM PT / 7 PM ET, and it should be a pretty fantastic ending to a week of wrestling events. There, now there's a buffer between the information I dropped on you and everything that follows because you're probably in shock and yelling at your screen (shut up already), even though the headline of the piece completely lays out my agenda. There have been plenty of rumors stating the two will NOT face each other at Mania, even though it seems like the obvious conclusion. But will it be tough for Truth to pull double duty as the Host of Wrestlemania AND a competitor? Yes, I'm aware Alexa Bliss is the host. Roll with me, please.

Let's dive into a little bit of history. Whether WWE likes it or not, they've been setting up this match for months. At the end of January this year, R-Truth won the United States Championship on Smackdown, in one of the weirdest finishes I've seen in years, which was meant to look like a ref botch (Mike Chioda don't botch). I guess it was a way to transition the title without making Shinsuke Nakamura weak? It was a dumb finish, regardless, and made R-Truth start his run as a seemingly paper champion, which I hated.

R-Truth and Carmella's "7-Second Dance Break" bit had run its course, and the new US Champion needed to add some more flavor to his character. A few weeks later, R-Truth transitioned his character into a new gimmick: the young wrestler who idolizes his heroes. It's something we see time and time again. Young upstarts pay homage to the WWE superstars who got them interested in wrestling, like when Sasha Banks does the frog splash to honor Eddie Guerrero. However, as you probably figured out, R-Truth is older than John Cena, so what we're left with is comedy gold. Enjoy one of the many fantastic segments from Truth and Carmella during this time.

What's interesting about this non-feud-feud is that is goes back farther than this 2019 gimmick. Back in 2011, Truth interjected himself into the title picture when Cena was champion. This led to a solid segment of Truth destroying a merchandise booth because John Cena was everywhere. In the grand scheme of things, it was a short run but memorable nevertheless. In 2011, Truth hated Cena because he is everything he wanted to be. In 2019, Truth loves Cena because he is everything he wants to be. Personally, I think the latter makes for better storytelling, but I'm one of those annoying '80s wrestling fans who gets way too hyped over a face vs. face match because they rarely happen. I like seeing the audience split when it comes to who they are cheering for.

Anyway, back to the present.

So R-Truth decided to hold the US open challenge like his childhood hero, John Cena. The promo he cut on March 5, right before losing the title, was hilarious and brilliant, as you can see below.. And, in a sense, he's not doing anything exceptionally new. He's just borrowing something we've seen younger superstars who are new to the company do and adding the Truth-flavor to it, which works exceptionally well.

I want to make a quick note. When Lacey Evans walks out--yes, I hate whatever is happening here too and want it to stop forever--look at Truth. He's ready to fight her and does a crane kick. Bless you, Truth. Anyway, he takes the bit even further, copying Cena's moves like the Five-Knuckle-Shuffle. R-Truth has always been a fun character when he's working as a face. He makes really stupid ideas work exceptionally well, and it's obvious he has fun doing it.

So let's push it to the limit.

Why not have R-Truth face John Cena at Wrestlemania? What's Cena doing that weekend that he can't be in this match? What, is he filming a movie I'll probably enjoy, and after I see it, I'll tell all my friends, "Cena was a lot of fun in that one?" And yes, Cena vs. Truth may sound like a Kickoff Show match to you, and yes, the match card already has a lot of bouts booked, but why can't we have something fun? Look at the match card. Every storyline building up to each of these matches is super-serious, and this new match could interject a lot of fun into the show.

Better yet, have R-Truth do a build towards Mania where he's calling out John Cena, who never shows up to Smackdown--do you know where I am going with this yet? So R-Truth buys a ticket to attend the PPV as a fan. Then, Cena shows up, and R-Truth runs from the crowd to face him in the ring. "Mat, that's what Cena did last year with Undertaker!" Yeah, I know, but this is perfect for R-Truth. It could also help me create more fire content like last year's "Every Time WWE's Cameras Cut To John Cena In The Crowd." Click that. It's the best.

Look, I'm already pretty excited for Wrestlemania, as this has been one of the best builds toward the event in years. But if you want to put this show really over the top and deliver a solid comedic spot that has been building up for months, book John Cena vs. R-Truth (you cowards). It's the natural conclusion. And frankly, it's a lot better than what R-Truth and Carmella seem to be doing which is "fake hosting Wrestlemania" and getting confused randomly throughout the evening. Who am I kidding? I'll still enjoy that too.

Oh yeah, come to GameSpot on Sunday, April 7 for live coverage of Wrestlemania and a review of the show.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com


Mat Elfring

Editor of GameSpot Entertainment. Continues to Bolieve. Very snarky about wrestling on the Twitter.

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