WWE Opinion: If John Cena Isn't Turning Heel, Then What Is Going on with Him?
The IWC has been calling for a John Cena heel turn for a while now, but the debate over its probability has escalated exponentially ever since it was announced that he would be facing none other than the Rock, one of the most popular superstars in WWE history, in his home town at WrestleMania XXVIII.
John Cena is going to be booed out of the Sun Life Stadium. Might as well turn him heel, right?
A whole lot of us thought it would finally happen at Survivor Series, as Cena's tag match with Rock against Awesome Truth seemed the "perfect opportunity" for a heel turn.
Well, as we all know, it didn't happen.
But thanks to Kane, everyone is foaming at the mouth for a Cena heel turn once again.
As Kane told Cena in his wonderfully metaphysical promo at the end of this week's episode of RAW, "Hate is the seed from which we are all born." He counseled Cena, "Once you embrace the hate, you become honest with yourself. You become free."
This is clearly the start of a Cena heel turn.
Or is it?
Obviously, WWE is still worried they have a lot to lose by turning Cena heel. Despite CM Punk's surge in popularity, Cena is still their biggest draw—after all, he remains the face of the entire company.
But then why the "Cena Sucks" shirts? Why leave him off of TLC?
If Cena isn't turning heel, then what's going on? Here are three possible answers to that question.
WWE Is Just Testing the Waters
When news broke that WWE was selling a "Cena Sucks" shirt, the very first thing I did was go to WWEShop.com to see if it was actually listed for sale on the site.
Not surprisingly, it wasn't.
It is now, but when it first came out it could only be purchased at live events. Either this is something WWE does with all its new shirts, or execs wanted to give the shirt a test run to see how well it would sell.
Well, it sold out.
Additionally, in a move that seemed utterly bizarre in today's WWE, Cena was left completely off the card for TLC. Not only that, but he didn't appear at all. TLC was completely Cena-free.
Perhaps, like the t-shirt, this was WWE's way of testing to see how well a Cena-free PPV would sell. We're still waiting for the results on that one.
A Cena heel turn could still be in the works, but it will come later rather than sooner. In the meantime, WWE is still trying to figure out if their product can stay afloat without the constant presence of Cena, or with the alternative presence of a heel Cena.
A lot of the fans certainly think so, but WWE is in the business of making money, and execs need to see monetary results and figures before making any final decisions.
Cena Is Undergoing a Change in Gimmick but Remaining Face
When it comes down to it, what Cena's detractors are complaining about isn't the fact that he's been face for going on seven years now—it's that he's played the exact same character for going on seven years now.
Hustle, loyalty, respect. Never give up. Rise above hate.
John Cena is the quintessential good guy, and a lot of fans don't like that.
Personally, the reason I'm not a member of the Cenation is the exact same reason I prefer Batman over Superman: I like my heroes to have a little edge to them.
Cena has no edge; there is no nitty gritty to his current character. He always stands up for what's right, he always wins in the end and his only known weakness is a scarcely available alien rock.
He's predictable, and therefore boring.
The characters of today's WWE are not as black and white as they were in the past. The traditional lines between heels and babyfaces are being constantly blurred, and today's fan is far more likely to cheer for an anti-hero than they are a full-blown hero.
Perhaps WWE is finally starting to realize that. Perhaps what they're hoping to accomplish with Kane is to make Cena a little rougher around the edges.
He used to be rough around the edges. Who's to say he can't do it again? If he were to bring back more of that nitty gritty and less goody goody into his character, it would probably make a lot of fans nearly as happy as if he were to turn heel.
Kane Is Just Another Obstacle for Cena to Rise Above
Of course, there is always the possibility that Kane is just another enemy for Cena to conquer.
However, Kane is a slightly different breed of enemy. While his attack on Cena started out very physical, it has taken a turn for the deeply psychological. He's preying on the hate so many fans have for Cena and hoping that it will turn Cena against them.
If this isn't going to result in a Cena heel turn, it will result in one of two things.
Either Cena will undergo an edgier gimmick change, as stated in the previous slide, or Super Cena will prove to not only be strong in body, but strong in mind. The little kiddies will get to keep their hero.
Here's to hoping the second option isn't the route WWE decides to take.
What Do You Think Is Going on with Cena?
A Cena heel turn is not impossible; with the crazy decisions Creative makes, it seems like nothing is impossible in the land of WWE.
However, if a Cena heel turn is in the works, it's not going to happen as soon as some of us may like—Cena isn't going to "embrace the hate" and start running around with Kane committing acts of arson. WWE is taking baby steps, and it will likely be awhile before they can fully commit to turning Cena heel.
But as long as those baby steps include some sort of change of pace for Cena, a lot of us will be willing to wait.
What do you think WWE's plans are for John Cena? Sound off in the comments section below.