WWE recently celebrated ten years of John Cena being an active member of the WWE roster. Debuting as a rookie with "Ruthless Aggression," then evolving into his rapper persona to finally finding his niche as the leader of the Cenation—it's been quite an interesting ride for Cena.
I'm gonna divide this article into two parts: "Lets go Cena" and "Cena Sucks," because quite frankly, that sums up John Cena's career the best. People either like him, or they don't. There is very few people in the middle. WWE even goes as far as to acknowledge that fans don't like him, which is quite surprising for a guy who is the focal point of the company.
Apparently they feel as long as the fans are saying something, then that's a good thing. What they fail to realize is that one of the reasons the ratings fail to even hit 3.0 these days is because many from the "Cena Sucks" camp have stopped watching completely.
Let's Go Cena
For seven of the `0 years of his WWE career, John Cena has been the featured performer of the company. That is no easy task. He has already eclipsed the longevity of The Rock, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Randy Savage, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Triple H as time spent as the featured main event wrestler.
The guy on the marquee who people pay to see. The guy who sells the most merchandise. Basically, the franchise player.
The next name on the list of legendary all-time greats that Cena is set to pass is Hulk Hogan. Hogan is arguably considered the greatest all-around pro wrestler of all time, not for his technical mat wrestling, but for his drawing power.
And that is something that both Cena and Hulk share in common. Their wrestling ability is not at the level of Bret Hart, but their enormous worldwide popularity and ability to connect with the fans is much greater than that.
I have to give Cena a ton of credit. His work ethic is really amazing.
Since the late 1990's, it has become standard that the top wrestlers in the company are expected to wrestle on TV every week, in addition to the monthly PPV events, the weekly untelevised live events and company-mandated appearances. Not only that, but the physicality of the matches the wrestlers perform in now are considerably greater than the matches from the Hulkamania era.
Also, due to extensive media expansion across multiple outlets, more eyes are watching and critiquing the shows like never before. So for a guy to remain on top for so many years in this generation really says something about their longevity.
Cena has had major high-profile matches against guys like Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, CM Punk, The Rock and Brock Lesnar.
A many time WWE Champion.
A great company ambassador, recognized for his role in working with charity groups.
Music, movies, TV commercials, talk shows, and guest appearances.
Traveled around the world multiple times.
John Cena has truly done it all in WWE, but...
That's a long time to watch someone on your TV every week if you don't like them—even harder if pretty much every major WWE match or angle in the past seven years has featured that person.
John Cena still sits on top of the WWE mountain.
Don't be fooled by the fact that he hasn't held the WWE Championship in over a year. He is still the guy most fans around the world pay to see, and he is still the guy who excels in pretty much every business category the WWE has, such as ratings and merchandise sales.
All roads still lead to Cena, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if Wrestlemania 29 will feature John Cena's winning back the WWE Championship.
John Cena has been the face of what is referred to as the "PG Era," an era of wrestling that has been toned down and covered up. Censored and silenced. Giggly and goofy. And to be even more clear, just flat out lame and juvenile.
I can't blame the critics. I'm one of them. I have been watching wrestling since 1984, so I have seen generations come and go, and the watered down, kid-friendly PG product is not that appealing to many fans.
John Cena has not only been the face of this era, he has also embraced it with a smile, a smile that has been a source of controversy for belittling his heel opponents and making them appear like less of a threat. It's the old theory: If he doesn't care, why should I?
John Cena's "comedy" is terrible. Even his most loyal fans have a hard time laughing at some of the material he comes up with during his promos. (He panders to the military more then Sgt. Slaughter and "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan combined.)
Back in 2011, John Cena had a tremendous oppurtunity to do something to completely reinvent himself and make the weekly WWE program way more interesting. When he was set to face CM Punk at Money in the Bank, many fans wanted a heel turn, which would have made John Cena the biggest heel in the company, and Punk the biggest face.
It was reported that Cena wanted nothing to do with turning heel. So the effect was, we had John Cena, who was the conditioned golden child of WWE as a face, and CM Punk being pushed as a face in more of a second fiddle role.
Cena had yet another golden opportunity to freshen up his scale character as he prepared for the biggest match in recent times against The Rock. Once again, didn't happen. John had to "rise above the hate."
It's pro wrestling. It's entertainment. The goal is to keep fans interested and entertained. Twists and turns. Compelling stories. A heel turn would have been best for business. All the best in the business have turned heel and face. Hogan, Austin, Rock, Bret, HBK and many others. Why not Cena? Why were fans still forced to have the same old routine thrown in their faces every week?
Bottom line is this. John Cena has been the focal point of the company for a long time now. From a business stand point, it makes sense. But creatively, there are millions of fans who are beyond tired of every big thing in the company, eventually revolving around John Cena.
It's too much, too long, too often and too predictable.
There is even non-WWE, custom made anti-Cena merchandise available. Pretty nice if I do say so myself.
So my question to all the readers is this. What camp are you in? "Lets Go Cena" or "Cena Sucks"?
I look forward to reading your comments.