This past Monday, BDSIR was privileged to have Shad Gaspard as our guest. Gaspard, via phone from L.A., spoke with Mike Knoxxx, Chris Spotface McClain, Chad Rivera and myself about a plethora of topics. If you haven't listened yet, I urge you to do so here.
The topic that has garnered the most buzz across the internet was that of John Cena and his reluctance to peal back the different layers of his character. Gaspard states:
It's a weird thing with Cena sometimes. I think guy's like Hunter, Taker, Rock, you know those guys are onions. They have layers to them Stone Cold, you know. They've changed their gimmicks up in so many different ways all the time and it always benefited them. They see the best in changing what they are doing up. And sometimes with Cena he doesn't really want to change it up. I remember we were doing the CTC thing and where at a house show and it was John Cena vs. Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes (in a handicap match). And I remember Randy Orton coming to me and he was like 'What the F-ck? Why is he facing two guy? You guys aren't facing anybody. You're doing a run in and I'm facing a random person.' You know, it didn't make any sense. He (Orton) was like, 'why not just make it a 6-man tag?' We were doing CTC but at the house shows it was CTB. It was Cryme Tyme/Batista. “We literally did more 6-mans where it was me, J and Batista vs. Jericho, Rhodes and Dibiase or Orton, Rhodes and Dibiase. You know, it was a weird situation. Everybody thought it was beneficial. I can't really tell you how Cena felt but I just know that it just didn't go any further than what it did.
Keep in mind, Gaspard is far from a bitter ex-WWE wrestler or even jealous, for that matter. Throughout the interview he had nothing negative to say about the WWE. He is a guy that is happy with the money he has made and the ability to move on and focus on his blossoming acting career.
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His comments do, however, speak to the issue of John Cena and his character's lack of maturity over the course of the last year.
WWE's business has been stagnate for the last few years. Ratings and attendance at live shows are down, and the WWE network that was planned for the summer is postponed indefinitely. Gaspard echoed the sentiments many of us in the internet wrestling community have been saying for months; Cena is just not that interesting.
I am not a Cena hater. I understand why WWE has him as their top dog because he is clearly a safe bet in this economic climate. Is it Cena's stubbornness that is to blame for his character's lack of growth, or is it the WWE to blame for not allowing Cena to develop his character?
Gaspard is not the first wrestler to state that Cena has an unwillingness to grow his character. Kenny Dykstra lamented his negative interactions with Cena over the summer and received a healthy dosage of flack from the IWC as someone who is just bitter that he did not make it and has an ax to grind. Tyler Reks has also gone on record to imply that Cena treated him like a child.
Gaspard did not say that Cena treated him badly. He had no harsh words for who Cena was as a person.
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He did, however, allude to the idea of Cena probably being not willing to work with Cryme Tyme during their brief run together as the CTC. Gaspard mentions the six-man tag matches where he and JTG partnered with Batista during the CTC run, and I actually remember going to house show where the threesome of Cryme Tyme and Batista faced Legacy.
Another comment that Gaspard made that caused a firestorm of debate amongst the IWC was the story of Cryme Tyme breaking up.
As Gaspard tells the story, he was in line to be drafted to Raw in order to feud with Cena but suddenly (and unbeknownst to him) had the rug yanked out from under him. When asked if he knew who was politicking against him, Gaspard said “I do. I know who some of them were, but you know me I'm a business man and I don't need to air all that on the radio.”
This has caused many on the internet to assume it was Cena himself who was not willing to do a program with Gaspard. Could it have been Cena who held Gaspard back? No one knows.
All in all, I think that 2013 will be a very telling year for the WWE. It is apparent that WWE knows that new stars need to be built. The question is, will main event guys like Cena be willing to step up to the plate?