Before November of 2009, Tiger Woods was arguably the most popular, marketable athlete in the United States, maybe even the world.
However, it all came crashing (pun intended) down for Mr. Woods during a fateful early-morning accident that resulted in police being called to the Woods’ home. In the months to come, it was revealed that Tiger had numerous (some reports indicated the number to be as high as 19!) mistresses, and Tiger’s wife filed for divorce.
Since the accident and a divorce that included Tiger losing custody of his children, Tiger has at times seemed like a broken man.
Due to both physical and mental injuries, Tiger took some time off from professional golf, and since his return he has struggled to regain his pre-scandal form, as he has only one tournament win as of this writing, and many have called that victory unimpressive since it came in a tournament that invited only 18 players.
On the bright side, Tiger has regained some (but not all) of the popularity that he lost due to the revelation of his messy personal life.
He still attracts large crowds at the tournaments he enters, and televised golf ratings have improved since his return, The corporate world seems to have forgiven him as well, as he has even regained a few endorsement deals.
There are many comparisons that can be made between Tiger Woods and WWE superstar John Cena. Both are—or once were—at the pinnacle of their respective sports. Tiger Woods was (and may still be) the most popular golfer in the world, while John Cena for years was the most popular babyface in the WWE.
Another similarity between the two is their squeaky-clean images. Pre-scandal Tiger Woods was arguably the most marketable athlete alive due to his clean image, while John Cena sells millions of dollars in merchandise to small children who adore him and look at him as their hero.
Tiger Woods and John Cena also greatly value their private lives, as very little is known about the private life of Cena (Wikipedia lists two of his hobbies as Japanese anime and collecting muscle cars), and Woods’ life was kept very private until his accident.
Tiger Woods had an ugly, messy public scandal. It rocked him to the core, and two years and three months later, he still has not fully recovered. What would happen if John Cena suffered a similar accident/scandal?
One can use his or her imagination to play out an event in which John Cena is injured in an incident that results, long-term, in an ugly public divorce and the loss of child custody. How does he respond? How does America respond?
On a global level, no one would argue that John Cena is a public figure on the level of Tiger Woods, but he arguably—no, undoubtedly is the Tiger Woods of the WWE. At most, he is a god-like figure, a “Superman,” a hero to most women and all of the “little Jimmies.” At worst, he is a guy that marks respect, but ultimately dislike due to his over-saturation in storylines and media.
John Cena's mottos are "Hustle, Loyalty, Respect" and "Rise Above Hate," and this scandal would forever tarnish his image and his ability to portray a role-model character.
Would John Cena be as hated by the public as Tiger Woods was in the aftermath of his scandal? Probably.
Would he finally take time off from the WWE? Again, probably.
Would he lose all of his endorsements? Definitely.
How would small children respond to Cena after he returned to the WWE? And how would the WWE handle the incident? They would have to discuss it on air, right? If fans refused to support him upon his return, would he finally turn heel?
There are almost an endless number of interesting talking points to this hypothetical situation, and I ask you to leave comments on this article. Tell me how you think the scandal would play out, how the public would respond, how John Cena would respond, and how you think the WWE would respond.
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