How do you do it?
How do you create a WWE Superstar from the ground up, building him one promo, one match, at a time? How do you present him in the right way, making fans care about him, so much that they can’t get enough of him? How do you then base the entire company around him, counting on his popularity, and his ability to draw a crowd, to be financially successful?
And, after you have built John Cena, how do you replace him?
Vince McMahon is actually the man who can answer that question. But, he’s ducking my calls. Dude owes me 10 bucks.
We all knew it was coming sooner or later, and since John’s elbow surgery, fans have begun to question not if, but when, the 12-time champion will be slowly worked into the background.
And for some fans it can’t get here soon enough.
I know it’s hard to believe, but John Cena has his critics.
For those fans, Cena’s shelf life is set to expire, and they are ready to move on to the next top guy.
A drawback to being on top is that eventually, your routine becomes a little too routine. Despite how good a superstar is in the ring, or how over he is with the crowd, he will become predictable. It has happened to the best of the best, and it all depends on how respected and loved the superstar is, as to when and if fans will become bored with him.
This may never be more true than in the case of John Cena, who has essentially been running the same gimmick and the same character since 2005.
To his credit, John has endured some very harsh criticism. To his detractors, he represents everything that is wrong with the company now, the spokesman for the PG era who is happily dumbing down the product for his adolescent fans.
Then, there’s the fact that he is booed mercilessly in nearly every city that WWE runs. Fans love to hate him, and for any other superstar, the time to demand a fresh direction and change of pace would have happened a long time ago.
But, not for Cena. He’s good, thanks.
The guy honestly doesn’t mind the criticism. He lets it roll off of him as if it never happened. He is very aware that being the face of WWE means that he consistently wears a target on his back. He knows the deal.
And he also knows that the day could be approaching, perhaps sooner than later, when Vince McMahon will decide that it’s time to move on.
But, who will he move on to?
Who would want the responsibility, to carry the world’s largest pro wrestling company on his back? Who would want to step into John Cena’s shoes, taking all the pressure to deliver, and all the heat when they fail?
Honestly, is there any talent in WWE who would not want that opportunity? To be pushed to the moon, recognized the world over, to perform in main event after main event?
Who in their right mind would say no?
And, when it comes to the question of how do you build a top guy? The truth is, you don’t.
What Vince wants, what he’s always wanted, is to find a superstar who is hot, or has the potential to get hot. “Catching fire” is not something that can be preplanned. WWE can provide the platform, but no matter what is written ahead of time, the fact is that whoever is put in front of the fans may, or may not, be able to get over. It’s really all up to that man to go out there and make it happen, to take what he’s been given, and play it to the hilt.
After all, if he doesn’t believe in himself and what he can do, then why would we ever believe in him?
As we look at WWE today, who do we see? Who has the ability to not only get over, but to kill it, in a very big way? Who is sitting in Vince McMahon’s locker room right now, that would take the opportunity to shine as seriously as John Cena did?
Who has it in them to get red hot, at the right time, and be able to sustain that momentum, to carry WWE into the next era?
Who will replace John Cena?