There is no way for WWE to hide it: John Cena's return to Raw and SmackDown simply hasn't worked as yet.
With WrestleMania season just around the corner, it's inevitable Cena's opponent for the biggest show of the year will become clear in the coming weeks, but for now—with the veteran floating between both Raw and SmackDown—WWE simply hasn't got the goods from the 16-time world champion.
Someone of The Champ's standing, reputation and prestige should be given a clear purpose whenever he returns to WWE programming, and at the moment, it doesn't feel like he has any sort of booking direction.
With that in mind, here are three ways WWE can correct what has been an uninspiring return from Cena over the coming months.
Put Over Younger Talent
Per ProFightDB, Cena's two in-ring matches since returning to television have both ended in victories. On both occasions, he's tagged with babyface talent such as Becky Lynch (more on her later) and Finn Balor, but it's interesting to note the heel talent that has come up short against the 41-year-old.
Andrade "Cien" Almas, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley, guys who are all capable of being pushed into the main event scene in 2019, have all been bested by Cena and his respective tag partners, and that doesn't feel like the best use of his time.
The weeks leading up to the Royal Rumble should be about Cena struggling to keep pace with guys such as Almas and McIntyre. Having declared he's entering the Rumble match, have The Cenation Leader be beaten by McIntyre on Raw, before Almas does the same on SmackDown the following night.
It would add an intriguing air of vulnerability to Cena, something fans haven't really seen before. Position him as the veteran who looks like he may be struggling to keep pace with WWE's core group of young, exciting talent, all the while helping to put them over in the process.
It would give Cena's character a new and interesting dynamic that's never truly been seen before. Sometimes, the best storylines don't have to be one wrestler against another; it can be an individual struggling with themselves and the ability of a talented roster. This could be one of those opportunities.
Keep Becky Lynch's Popularity High
It felt as though WWE was about to kick off Cena's return with a real bang when he showed up on the New Year's Day episode of SmackDown.
However, Cena's angle with Becky Lynch didn't amount to too much, apart from that aforementioned tag match against Almas and Zelina Vega, which didn't make a great deal of sense.
However, the door was left ajar when Lynch appeared to show little compassion or interest for Cena post-match, and that's an angle that can be revisited by WWE in the coming weeks.
The Irish Lass Kicker has been riding high in WWE throughout the latter part of 2018 and was the hottest talent in the company at one point.
With Asuka now claiming the SmackDown Women's Championship, and a likely showdown with Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 35 still some time away, it's important WWE keeps Lynch's momentum high over the coming weeks.
What better way to do that than by having her interact with Cena, and potentially even attacking him to underline how she really is "The Man" on the blue brand these days, not someone like the veteran?
Give Cena Something to Chase
Wrestlers are arguably at their most interesting and relevant when they have a purpose or something to chase. Cena has neither in his booking right now, so the most obvious way to fix what has been a disappointing return is to give him one of those two things.
That's not suggest something so extreme like him positioning himself as Daniel Bryan's challenger for the WWE Championship right in the middle of WrestleMania season, but there are plenty of options and ideas the company can consider.
A push at one of the midcard titles is one option, though with a babyface in Rusev in possession of the United States Championship, that perhaps rules that out.
Dean Ambrose on Raw could be a far more realistic challenger, however, and it would be intriguing to follow Cena over the coming weeks if he declared he had one title and one opponent in mind, but fans would have to wait to discover just who it was.
Cena could show up on both Raw and SmackDown and tease potential feuds with all the company's male champions, before finally attacking Ambrose just in time to set up a WrestleMania feud.
That would make fans more interested in what Cena's doing back in WWE, rather than the seemingly aimless booking he's having to endure right now.