WWE WrestleMania XXIX: Stop Reading Cena Heel Turn Articles; Then Read This

Alfred KonuwaFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2013

From WWE.com
From WWE.com

The John Cena heel turn discussion has been so common on the Internet it might as well be a virus or pornography.

Here’s just one example of an article speculating a Cena heel turn.  Here’s another.  And another.  Here’s one more.  And one more again.  Don’t forget about this oneThis one, too. 

I’ve tried my best to avoid this infinite squabble.  It’s all so unconscious at this point.  If it were a horse, it would be Barbaro. 

Yet still, I dipped my toe into the Cena-heel waters.  Even made a video of it. 

And now this.  I’m going to need a shower afterward. 

John Cena probably shouldn’t turn heel.  His heat, babyface or heel, is as legitimate as any reaction in professional wrestling.  His merchandise sells like crazy.  Usually in children’s size to accommodate his predominately young fanbase. 

By the same token, his detractors have made him a polarizing figure despite WWE’s best-laid plans to make him Hulk Hogan, present day.  Once a rebellious pocket of fans looking to stir the pot, the “Cena Sucks” bandwagon is now an enterprise.  They have found their voice.  There’s even a “We Hate Cena” guy. 

The hate was heard all the way in Stamford, Conn., where WWE is headquartered.  In 2011, the WWE debuted “Cena Sucks” t-shirts.  That’s right, hating John Cena is now just as marketable as loving him. 

Cena has masterfully diffused any talk of him becoming a being a bad guy whenever he chooses to discuss the issue.  His charity work is far too important for a short-term payoff. 

But if it’s ever going to happen, it’s now or never in terms of the turn meaning anything. 

The WrestleMania hype for Cena’s rematch against The Rock tells a tale of redemption.  Cena’s life imploded over the 365-day period following his loss to The Rock. 

He got divorced.  Pushed off a ladder.  Lost to a grown man wearing a leotard. 

John Cena is a desperate man.  To say he hit rock bottom would be too perfect of a narrative.  Not to mention one hell of a pun. 

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It would be understandable if Cena used underhanded tactics to beat The Rock come WrestleMania XXIX.  He needs the win.  It’s all about legacy at this point for John Cena.  Nobody would judge him. 

Nobody, of course, meaning everybody. 

Cena not-so-subtly teased turning heel in his final sales pitch for Sunday.  Cena spoke of doing something that fans "never thought possible in their lifetime.”  The seeds for a heel turn were planted, even if the flower is of the red herring breed. 

Cena is celebrating 10 years with the WWE.  Translation?  WWE’s prized race horse is closer to inevitably breaking down.  A replacement is needed, and like it or not, an heir apparent is lurking. 

His name is Ryback.  He’s a muscle-bound babyface, just like Cena, except less chatty.  Ryback also deals with the same mixed heat as Cena does, and at this point, the WWE will take it.  Who knows, maybe there’s a market for Ryberg t-shirts. 

Ryback will be in the limelight at WrestleMania XXIX when he goes toe-to-toe with Mark Henry.  The WWE’s plan for Ryback in this spot is simple.  Have him beat Mark Henry quickly, most likely with an impressive slam of the 400-plus-pound hoss.  This will begin the long, awkward process of supplanting John Cena as the WWE’s top babyface. 

The process would be much simpler and less awkward with John Cena as a villain.  Perhaps a long title run as head of The Shield?  Maybe Randy Orton gets in on this should he also turn heel?  Because a John Cena heel turn would only diffuse Orton’s if they were independent of one another. 

The possibilities create a scenario where Ryback would meet Cena for a summer program, where the WWE is known to experiment with first-time world champions. 

It could be a ceremonial passing of the torch to Ryback.  Whether or not fans blow it out is an entirely different discussion.