For months and months, the most heavily debated topic has been the possibility of a John Cena heel turn.
Countless fans have predicted it as each pay-per-view or Monday Night RAW would approach, while countless others have bemoaned WWE’s unwillingness to change him.
As we sit, awaiting Extreme Rules, it is clear that Brock Lesnar is the heel role in this feud. However, are we actually witnessing a heel vs. heel match?
I put an idea to you: Cena is already a heel. In fact, he is the best kind of heel for the WWE. Please allow me to explain.
In a changing global landscape, the average WWE fan is also changing. We are no longer as easily manipulated into being told who to cheer for and who to boo.
Nothing proves this more than Daniel Bryan. While WWE have clearly positioned him as a heel, he has never been so over with the fans. The “YES!” chants are often deafening and the emergence of his new shirt is proof the WWE executives know he’s currently a hit with the fans.
So what have we got with Bryan? A heel that is treated more like a face. The American Dragon, by outdated WWE measures, should be heavily booed everywhere he goes. This is not the case.
Which begs the question, “why?”
It is because we are clamoring to see new faces and better action in the ring. We are tired of the same old poor ring-work, tired angles and flaccid story lines. We are tired of a cookie-cutter Cena and his refusal to change.
But while Bryan may well be a heel that WWE accidentally put over with the WWE universe, WWE may well have done the exact opposite with Cena, without even realizing it.
What should be the traditional reaction to a heel? They should be heavily booed and truly put fans off. This explains the reaction to Cena perfectly. A heel's smarmy charisma should agitate fans to their very core. Again, Cena manages this without even trying.
Despite WWE’s best efforts to endorse him with former WWE stars and put him over with the fans, Cena is the new type of heel for a newly discerning fan.
Instead of being booed for abusing the audience, playing dirty or for total cowardice, he is booed because he is exactly what they don’t want. He will not change despite their pleas. As a result, he is slapping them all in the face. He is, in fact, already the heel they are asking for.
So why is he the perfect heel? Not only does he get a traditional heel reaction, he can put over new faces for the same reason. CM Punk is the perfect example.
Despite entering his feud with Cena as a heel, Punk finished up as one of the most over superstars on the roster. Yes, he has all the skills to back it up, but the heat for Cena truly helped to put Punk over.
To top it all off, Cena moves merchandise like crazy. Despite the fact that a large part of the WWE universe despises him, the kids still love him and will buy the new shirt he flaunts every couple of months.
To summarize, Cena is already a heel. For the majority of those who boo him, he is for all intents and purposes already the heel you are seeking: he is just the type of heel we haven’t acknowledged before.
He gets the boos, puts the faces over, draws the ratings, appeals to the kids, does all the humanitarian work you could ask for and moves the merchandise. How is this not considered the best heel in the business? All that is missing is the traditional actions of a heel. But we are no longer traditionalists.
We have a heel in Bryan who despite his best heel-ish actions is still over with the crowd more than ever before. We also have Cena, a man that says and does all the right things, but is booed out of the stadium, even in his hometown.
What we have seen is the traditional model of heel and face go out the window. Sure, we want to see Cena change, but he is already a heel. What many of us would like to see is Cena take on the traditional characteristics of a heel and change up his character toward the dark side.
When this or some equally large change occurs, I believe we will see Cena more over than he has been for a long time now.
While Cena seemed to get a decent pop in interrupting Brock Lesnar's very average promo last RAW, I wonder if it was more out of relief that the promo was ending rather than actually seeing Cena.
The fact is, we live in a new and inverse WWE universe, where heels can be cheered and faces can be despised. However, we are all still screaming for change within the WWE. It a stale product. This is also the case with Cena.
As we head in to Extreme Rules and standard clamoring for a Cena heel turn, I tell you this: Don’t bother demanding or expecting a Cena heel turn. It has already happened.