Heading into the 1000th episode of Raw, John Cena has challenged CM Punk for the WWE Championship, cashing in his Money in the Bank contract. Numerous critics have been upset with various factors in this situation. First that Cena won the contract, secondly that he didn't cash it in at an opportune time and third they are certain that Cena will become the champion on the 1000th episode.
There are a group of people who watch the WWE programming that do not care for the character John Cena. I will not classify them as a large group because I don't have actual numbers of the group as compared overall to John Cena fans.
For rudimentary comparison if I type into Google "I hate John Cena" the possible results are 7,300,000. If I type in "I love John Cena" the results are 29,500,000. Type in "I love the WWE" and the result is 170,000,000. Thus, of those that love the WWE, 4.29 percent hate John Cena and 17 percent love him. At the very least, it would appear that more people like him than hate him.
A problem, however, is that it seems, based upon the pitch of the voices heard at WWE events, those supporting Cena are of a younger audience and/or female. While those that chant "Cena Sucks" have a much deeper tone, leading to the presumption that this group is an older, male audience.
This older male audience quite often uses the term Superman when it comes to John Cena. This is not an unlikely term to use in the WWE as nearly every week when you watch you can look in the crowd and find at least one person wearing the shield of Superman on their T-shirt. He's received this nickname as somewhat of a backward insult. It implies he's indestructible, always the good guy, never loses and his character is old and stale. I am an analyst here on Bleacher Report and have been collecting comics for nearly as long as I've been watching wrestling so I feel qualified to look at this subject.
Let's break that down:
Indestructible: We've seen Cena injured, broken and bleeding, most recently by Brock Lesnar, but the insult is that no matter what happens to Cena or what he's hit with, he'll get up and keep going. How is that an insult? Is the fanbase upset because he's able to keep going after being hit or is it that he is not making the hits seem real?
Triple H has said in an interview that John Cena is the strongest man he's ever been in the ring with and he's never seen such determination. This was during a promo for a John Cena piece by WWE. This past Sunday at the Money in the Bank ladder match, Chris Jericho climbed on top of John Cena and placed him in a sleeper hold while he was on the ladder. Cena, despite being in the hold, climbed the ladder with the the 226-lbs Jericho wrapped around his neck. While this might not imply the never-ending stamina of Kal-El from Krypton, it is an amazing feat of strength.
Forever the good guy: Batman refers to Superman as "The Boy Scout" because he is the nice guy who always tries to do the right thing in the nicest way—the type of guy that saves the kittens from trees. Batman is the darker hero, breaking noses and dangling men from roofs to get information. But, to be fair again, this group of Cena haters are uninformed when it comes to Superman.
I suggest they go and watch Superman vs. The Elite, an animated film based on an Action Comics storyline. In it The Elite challenge Superman, telling him his nice guy ways are outdated and unfit for the world we live in—that defeating villains with violence and death is the only true way to win. Superman of course denies this course of action. In an amazing final fight scene that I won't spoil here because it is really a great movie that you should see, Superman says this to Manchester Black, the leader of The Elite, after he's told Superman he lives in a dream world if he thinks his ways will keep working:
"Dreams save us. Dreams life us up and transform us into something better. And on my soul, I swear that until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice are the reality we all share, I'll never stop fighting. Ever."
I suppose John Cena's hustle, loyalty and respect can be looked at in the same manner.
He always wins: On profightdb.com it lists John Cena's win/loss record at 66 percent win and 25 percent loss. In comparison, The Rock's record shows 57 percent win to a 33 percent loss, Stone Cold 57 percent to 29 percent while Undertaker is closer to Cena with 66 percent win and a 23 percent loss, but the top one I found, HBK, had a 75 percent win rate and only a 17 percent loss.
Going through all of the pay-per-view events for 2012, John Cena has won five of the matches and lost twice. In 2011, however, he won five and lost five, in 2010 he won six and lost four and in 2009 he won four and lost five. Since 2009, John Cena has only won once at the Royal Rumble, he's lost twice and won twice at WrestleMania, he's won all four Extreme Rules matches but only one one of three Summer Slam matches. Since 2009, he's never won at Hell in a Cell and this past Money in the Bank PPV was his first win at the event. John Cena does not always win, but the odds do seem to be in his favor.
His character is stale and boring: He's no longer the doctor of thug-anomics, he's not wearing sports gear or his chains. His character is similar to that of Triple H or Chris Jericho or even CM Punk—his character is himself. The days of characters and gimmicks seems to be long gone in the WWE, the only current superstars who don't use a name for themselves are Kane and The Undertaker.
John Cena is constantly televised as being the person who has granted the most wishes for The Make A Wish Foundation, he's obviously liked by children and he's an honorable man who fights the good fight. Apparently that's a stale character these days. The constant wanting of a heel turn, or a dirty win, has made John Cena unpopular in some fans minds.
But is it John Cena or even the WWE's fault that a hero who doesn't cheat or flip-off fans is not popular with everyone? What does it say about us as a group that we don't want the guy to be good, that we want him to be a little bit of heel or more intense? Is it because we can't live up to those standards so we can't relate and therefore don't enjoy it?
John Cena posseses no super powers, he's not from a far-off distant planet nor was he bitten by some radioactive insect. His character is that which the WWE Universe has made it—loved by a lot and hated by many as well. What could he really do to change that formula? If he were to turn heel, some would like him and some would hate him, keeping the same balance we see now.
I personally have no idea who will win this coming Monday for the 1000th episode. The WWE has said they want surprises. Would it be a surprise for CM Punk to win? He's held the belt for over 200 days now and he's on the new video game, so the company has some faith in him. The actions of the Big Show and Cena this past Monday may play a factor as well. Will Big Show interfere, will The Rock interfere?
So many questions, sadly I also have no superpowers and am no precog. We'll have to wait for Raw next Monday to see what the future holds.
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