Report: McMahon almost turned Cena heel and replaced him as the top babyface
“We talked about turning John Cena heel when I was there. We were very close. We had Vince signed off on it at one point and Cena was on board to do it. We started making plans for it, and Vince got cold feet. We had just signed a John Cena exclusive merchandise deal with Wal-Mart and Vince came into a booking meeting one day with the head writers, and he said ‘I know you guys really want to do this, but we just can’t do it. We can’t do it.’ And those plans were off the table, but Vince not only considered it, he was almost there to pull the trigger on it.”
One of the biggest problems that comes with turning John Cena heel is that WWE needs someone to replace him as the top face. They’ve been trying with Roman Reigns for years now, but it still seems that Reigns isn’t quite there yet.
Eck went into more detail about the potential heel turn for Cena, and he revealed that Vince McMahon wanted Sheamus to replace him as the top face.
“I can tell you the reason why it wasn’t done, and it was because Vince didn’t know, if John Cena was our top heel, who’s our top babyface? It can’t be, you know, Punk was over at that point, usually over as a babyface, but he can’t be the guy, and it can’t be Randy Orton because he hates people. He can never be that guy. In real life, Randy’s a little prickly. He’s not a bad dude, I’ve never had a bad experience with him, but I think even he would admit, he’s not somebody who’s gonna go out and shake hands and kiss babies, and embrace people the way John Cena did.
If you want to try and pinpoint the timeframe, I can tell you it was around the time Sheamus was World Heavyweight Champion and was being really protected with the booking. Vince loved Sheamus and Hunter did too. When he walked into a room, he had that aura of ‘he’s somebody.’ I think Vince, it was really his project to make Sheamus that guy, and he was very hands on with him, and we started doing things like 1-800-FELLA on #Raw Which every writer there hated and knew was garbage, and Vince obsessed about those things.
I think Vince trying to get him over with the crowd actually hurt him more than helped him. I think Vince after a while started listening to the crowd and thought, ‘well I guess it’s not him, so who’s next?’”
source: THE SpOTLight