Though there were still lingering issues from TLC 2012 to be resolved on Monday Night Raw this week, the show instead saw much of its emphasis placed on the presentation of the WWE 2012 Slammy Awards.
And upon reflection, it could be considered an overall success.
The ceremony saw a number of greats return to present or receive various awards, including the New Age Outlaws, Triple H and of course the Nature Boy Ric Flair.
And it was Flair himself who was granted the honor of presenting the award for Superstar of the Year. The winner of which, as decided via a RawActive poll, was none other than the face of the WWE, John Cena.
While the debate rages on as to whether these RawActive polls are fixed, that is not what this article is attempting to determine.
Instead, I’m more concerned with whether Cena actually deserved to win the award, regardless of if it was the WWE or its fans that ultimately decided upon the outcome.
Sure, he remains the face of the company and has been involved in a number of main-event feuds throughout the year, but he hasn’t actually experienced a great deal of success inside the ring.
At three separate pay-per-view events, he failed in his quest to win the WWE Championship, and he also lost one of the biggest matches of his career against The Rock at WrestleMania XVIII.
Meanwhile, CM Punk has enjoyed a phenomenal year; putting together the longest WWE Title reign in 28 years and contributing to some of the very finest matches of the past 12 months.
Similarly, Daniel Bryan has had a great year in the ring, possibly rivalling Punk for the title of “Best in the World” with some stellar displays, as well as managing to get himself incredibly over with the WWE crowd.
But I still feel that there’s more to come for Bryan, and he will reach even greater heights with the company in the coming years. As for Punk, for all his success with the belt, he’s still struggling to penetrate the mainstream and could not overhaul Cena as the poster boy for the company.
But perhaps most importantly, it must be noted that this is not an award for the best “wrestler” of the year.
If it were, Punk and Bryan would be clear favourites, and Bryan would probably be the more deserving winner of the two.
Instead though, the award was for “Superstar” of the year...a very different role altogether.
A Superstar is essentially a creation of Vince McMahon’s, and one that is very much in keeping with the entertainment side of sports entertainment.
When one considers the award in this sense, perhaps Cena really is the most deserving.
For starters, his feud with the Rock certainly reached the more mainstream and casual fans, and contributed hugely to the impressive buyrate of WrestleMania.
And he did the same the following month, engaging in an intense rivalry with a returning Brock Lesnar, so much so that it bordered on shoot fighting at times. Again, Cena helped yield a solid buyrate, eventually representing a 25 percent increase on the previous year’s show.
Combined with the increased viewership, his work outside of the ring was second to none.
Back in October, he became the first person ever to grant 300 wishes for the Make-A-Wish foundation, and in the same month he came up with the idea to partner with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and ultimately raise $1 million for the breast cancer research charity.
Such philanthropy was hugely telling of Cena’s value to the company outside of the ring as well as in it, and saw the leader of the Cenation reach unprecedented heights with his charity work.
Combined with his customary thank-you message when Raw goes off the air and at dark shows (even at PPVs in some cases), John Cena really does lead by example and live up to his title of Superstar of the Year 2012.
And furthermore, he managed to remain on the straight and narrow despite going through a difficult divorce with ex-wife Elizabeth Huberdeau.
Others before Cena have allowed such personal struggles and demons to get in the way of their professional careers, but for Cena to remain dedicated and focused on the company in such troubling times only makes his achievements this year all the more admirable.
Wrestler of the year? Certainly not; not by a long shot.
But his work for the company, both inside the ring and out of it, is what makes him deserving of such an award this year.
Admittedly, I’m not usually a fan of John Cena, but personal preferences aside, he deserves to be respected for the feats he has achieved this year with the WWE.
Whether it was the WWE Universe or the company itself that cast the verdict, I think on the balance of things it was a fair enough conclusion to arrive at.
Of course these remain just my thoughts, and I’m sure opinion is widespread on this topic as ever, so feel free to comment civilly below with your reaction to Cena’s awarding of Superstar of the Year as well as the article itself.
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