John Cena and Logan Paul will compete in two major matches at WrestleMania 39, but their paths could cross sooner rather than later in WWE.
It was only a few months since WWE reportedly scheduled a blockbuster WrestleMania match between Cena and Paul before the company decided to move on to Cena vs. Austin Theory and Paul vs. Seth Rollins. Those two games are among the most anticipated on this year’s Mania map, but there’s no denying that neither is as big as Cena vs. Paul.
And if WWE has its way, the dream match between Paul and Cena will still happen — only at SummerSlam instead of WrestleMania.
Accordingly Wrestle Votes (h/t WrestlingNews.co) is considering the clash between the two pop culture superstars for the WWE summer extravaganza as “Logan loved the idea and Cena was totally devastated” to contest the once-planned WrestleMania match. However, WrestleMania has already sold — it already broke the record for WWE’s biggest live gate of all time — because it’s WrestleMania.
Summer, on the other hand, is a different story. It’s not quite WrestleMania, but it’s trying to be WrestleMania-lite. What better way to accomplish this than building it around Paul vs. Cena?
For the past several years, WWE has attempted to turn SummerSlam into a massive event with a WrestleMania-caliber card and a WrestleMania-sized audience. In 2021, WWE set a SummerSlam record with more than 51,000 fans in attendance for the event, which was surmounted by a massive match – Cena vs. Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship – at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada.
A year later, WWE announced that more than 48,000 fans were packed into Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee for the event, although the actual number was reportedly around 38,000 fans. This event was headlined by Bianca Belair vs. Becky Lynch and another fight between Reigns and Brock Lesnar.
In 2023, SummerSlam could get even bigger, much bigger, with Paul vs. Cena as the main event.
SummerSlam 2023 will be based out of Ford Field in Detroit, where a major WWE event was last hosted in 2007. The pay-per-view, WrestleMania 23, had an advertised crowd of more than 80,000 fans, which at the time was good enough for the second-highest viewership in WWE history.
During this decade, WWE has made a habit of hosting blockbuster PPVs in stadiums rather than large arenas, giving the company the opportunity to set new records in revenue, attendance and live gates year after year. However, as evidenced by the somewhat disappointing attendance at SummerSlam 2022, WWE fans will not attend SummerSlam just because it is SummerSlam.
SummerSlam doesn’t have the same name value as WrestleMania, which has long been one of the most valuable brands in esports. Do you know who has proven themselves in the martial arts world? Cena and Paul.
Cena has been a notable magnet for WWE in his recent appearances, while Logan Paul has garnered a massive social media following that totals more than 25 million Instagram followers. Cena himself has more than 18 million Instagram followers, and he and Cena are clearly two of WWE’s most recognizable stars beyond the square circle.
Martial arts are thriving these days in large part due to gimmick-based boxing matches — just ask Paul himself — so Paul vs. Cena would have a widespread appeal that wouldn’t even exist with, say, a star like Rollins, Reigns, or even Lesnar. As big as the stars are, they’re not as well known in the mainstream as Paul and Cena, who may not be full-time WWE stars, but are perhaps the two biggest names alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who can realistically wrestle these days.
While WrestleMania 39 doesn’t need Paul vs. Cena because the WrestleMania brand will sell the show regardless of who attends it, WWE needs a match like Paul vs. Cena to make SummerSlam 2023 the biggest and most successful non-WrestleMania event in the world make companies history.