The Royal Rumble is less than 2 months away. While WWE doesn't technically have seasons, the classic pay-per-view is the closest thing to a clean slate they offer. Even more, the Rumble is the only event that carries WrestleMania implications.
With the customs of the Rumble in mind, the January show is one of the few must-watch programs WWE produces. Whether they achieve it or not, WWE will at least attempt to make the show significant.
This year's Rumble will at least anoint a WrestleMania challenger for RAW or SmackDown's Champion via the battle royal, but perhaps Brock Lesnar's defense of the Universal Championship is just as important. With that said, who the Beast Incarnate meet in Philadelphia is crucial to WWE 2018 course.
So as novel as it would be to see Finn Balor or Jason
Here are the 3 reasons why:
Remember when WWE hyped Jinder Mahal vs. Brock Lesnar for several weeks before Survivor Series? They actually created a series of video packages for the Champion vs. Champion showdown. But just days before the event, WWE yanked Mahal and replaced him with AJ Styles.
Now, it all worked out just fine as Styles and Lesnar put on a match of the year candidate but that does change the fact that WWE pulled one of the better "Bait and Switch's" of all time. So what was the reason for this?
Money; or at least the drawing power of AJ Styles that would eventually lead to more cash. It was a simply solution, too; demonstrably more people preferred to see AJ Styles than Mahal in that match, so, WWE flicked their wrist and made it happen.
While certainly surprising, WWE tipped their hand ever so slightly that they weren't so sure about giving Mahal such a premium spot. Knowing that Mahal is only marginally popular, WWE was rumored to be targeting The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and, wait for it, John Cena as the Special Guest Referee for that match. As much as WWE would like you to belive that they like Jinder, when it comes to making money, Vince McMahon knows who his cash cows are.
And in that same logic, WWE could use John Cena at the Royal Rumble. Like Survivor Series, the Rumble is one of WWE's pillars, even more, it's the official launching pad for WrestleMania. WWE simply cannot punt away the rare Brock Lesnar match particularly since they are building him for Roman Reigns. WWE will be hunting casual fans as soon as 2018 hits and the best bait for wrestling's version of swing states is nostalgia and star power.
John Cena has both.
Bless Finn Balor's heart.
The 36-year old Irishmen has had a rough go in 2017. Upon from returning from injury, he and his fans have been clamoring for his shot at Lesnar's Big Red Belt like Milton and his red Stapler from Office Space. But like the precious office instrument, that belt is never coming back to Finn.
Well, it might, but not anytime soon. As of late, Finn has passively agresively protested the allegations that Vince McMahon doesn't think he's "over." Balor's efforts even summoned a WWE poll that decidedly pegged him as the fan's wish to face Lesnar at the Rumble.
However, Finn's version of Wrestler vs. Authority needed to start in July ir order to change Vince's mind.
Like Jinder Mahal's Survivor Series fake out, WWE is going to reach for the biggest gun. Than means guys like Balor, Jason Jordan, Samoa Joe, and Bray Wyatt aren't the right fit for the Beast Incarnate.
It's not personal, it's business.
Look, no matter who gets this opportunity, the results will be the same: they'll lose. Likely in an obvious manner.
John Cena can afford a high profile loss. As a matter of fact, he's on a main event losing streak (Reigns at No Mercy, Styles at 2016 SummerSlam). Even more, by Brock Lesnar disposing of arguably the greatest WWE Superstar of all-time, the legend of the Beast Incarnate would continue to balloon.
Like all legendary beasts in storytelling, WWE will send their hero to chop off the beast's head. That beheading will take place at WrestleMania 34 where Roman Reigns pins Brock Lesnar to become the new Universal Champion.
But to maximize moment, WWE will have to facilitate a memorable program between Lesnar and whomever his opponent is at the Rumble. Furthering Cena's case is his ability to hype his own programs. No matter how much fans may like Finn Balor, it is silly to even attempt to compare his marketing ability to John Cena's.
By osmosis, Reigns beating Lesnar would be indicative of him beating Cena (again). This gives Reigns the biggest trophy of all and if history has taught us anything it's that WWE creates colossal opportunities for Reigns.
Cena challenging Lesnar at the Rumble is the best option for WWE and its future making the 16-time WWE Champion the consummate option for Vince McMahon and Co.