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Sunday, June 11, 2017

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Eyes On WWE: What If John Cena Stayed On Smackdown In 2011?

By @AmeenKnows 

For a little background on how I came up with the idea for this article, I work a 16 hour shift every Sunday. So that means I have a lot of time on my hands and what I do with that time is I look up random episodes of wrestling and watch them. For those who may want to go back and watch the 2011 Draft, it happened on April 25th. Anyways, back to more important matters.

The 2011 Draft kicked off with The Big Show and Kofi Kingston eliminating Mason Ryan to earn the Smackdown brand the first pick in the draft, which turned out to be none other than the man who called the blue brand home 6 years earlier, John Cena. However, by the end of the night, there was a 6 man Raw vs Smackdown tag team match. Team Raw consisted of The Miz, CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio. Team Smackdown consisted of John Cena, Christian and Mark Henry. Team Raw won this match and Cena was subsequently traded back to Raw. Why even waste our time or a draft pick to keep Cena on the same show? That's when I started thinking what if Cena had stayed drafted to Smackdown.

Raw Without Cena
Now since Raw won the match, they still need to have someone drafted over to their show so let's just plug in Jack Swagger in that spot since he was brought over to Raw in the supplemental draft. The day of the draft, Cena was already penciled in to face The Miz and John Morrison in a Triple Threat Steel Cage match for the WWE Championship. Cena won that match so that means in this scenario that Cena loses and let's give the title to Morrison. Okay, so Morrison beat R-Truth for his Number One Contender's spot at Extreme Rules. Truth turned heel that same night so moving forward Morrison beats Miz to retain the WWE Title, then proceeds to feud with Truth. Without the company's resident Superman in the fold that means there is a realistic chance that the ever-so entertaining Conspiracy Theorist R-Truth could finally have a taste of Gold. The problem with that is there's a lack of babyface competitors on the roster to carry Raw for the rest of the year. So this means we miss out on the 5 Star Classic between Cena and Punk at Money in the Bank. This is not to say that Punk wouldn't become a WWE Champion, but he'd have to go an less interesting alternate route whether it be with Morrison replacing the role of Vince's Batman to Punk's Joker. Or maybe the momentum created during the "Pipebomb" turns Punk face a few weeks early to feud with a heel Truth, although the dynamic of that feud would change with Truth laying under a crushed table instead of Cena while Punk sits a top the ramp, letting everyone know how he really feels. Even though ADR cheated his way to the WWE Title he doesn't have the notch in his reign of beating Cena at Vengeance and Hell in a Cell, but then again he also doesn't drop the belt just a month after winning it at SummerSlam.

Smackdown with Cena
With Cena on Smackdown, the entire brand experiences a shift in power. In reality, Cena was involved in the WWE title picture in some form for the rest of 2011. Over on Smackdown, Christian wins his first World Heavyweight Championship. However the question is, does Randy Orton still come out on Smackdown 2 days after Extreme Rules and beat Christian for the World Title? We got an entire summer worth of great matches between two fresh opponents who have insane chemistry. Orton was a boring World Champion and having Cena as the leading babyface may have been better in the short term, but it also gets in the way of Mark Henry's Hall of Pain arc. I doubt Henry cleanly beats Cena for the World Heavyweight Championship so if they did add Cena to the Hall of Pain arc, I think they'd do it early in the arc to let Henry at least beat Cena down to boost the credibility and let Orton and Christian continue feuding. That also gets in the way of Daniel Bryan's cash in at the end of the year if Cena is the one holding the title at the end of TLC instead of a beat down Big Show.

When I started this article I actually had a positive mindset about Cena's return to the blue brand. It had been so long since he was really a big part of Smackdown at that point so I thought it would be a good thing. However it hurts a lot of great things that happened that summer. Taking away a 5 Star Classic just for possibly a month or 2 of Conspiracy Theory R-Truth as WWE Champion just isn't enough. Also, having him on Smackdown could possibly threaten a great Orton/Christian rivalry, threaten Daniel Bryan's Cash In and derail the Hall of Pain. So maybe it was a good thing after all that he got drafted back to Raw that night, but if that's the case they could have used those 2 picks to make different moves. Maybe they did it for ratings, but it's still a confusing move nonetheless.



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