John Cena is just never going to win over some fans, no matter how many great matches he produces.
Whenever Cena puts out a clunker, his detractors are all over it, ready to pinpoint the blemishes of his worst matches and promos. Whenever he is a part of a classic match, those same fans dismiss it.
That his opponent carried him is an argument one hears far too often.
This is an industry where the winner and the loser work together to create the best possible show. No one man makes a classic.
As much as folks have joked that Ric Flair or Shawn Michaels could have made wrestling against a broomstick interesting, it's obviously just hyperbole. Michaels and Flair would maximize that human versus cleaning tool clash, but each of those men's best work has been against other top stars.
Too often, fans claim that it’s Cena's foes who are solely responsible for his greatest masterworks.
Cena and Christian have a good match, and fans subsequently send out tweets like this one.
His opponents apparently carry him even in his bad matches.
Cena Wins.. But That Match Was Kanes He Carried Cena From Start To Finish Awful Match Attrosious PPV Overall...— Matt (@JericholAddict) February 20, 2012
If it's not Kane who carried him, it's Edge, Michaels, Kurt Angle, CM Punk or Brock Lesnar doing the heavy lifting. Maybe a broomstick has one fluky, great showing against The Heartbreak Kid, but after a certain number of memorable performances, you start to wonder if that broomstick actually has some skill.
While Cena certainly has his flaws, WWE has awarded him the top spot partly because of his ability to turn matches into classics. It's a fact that some fans will never acknowledge.
Take a look at Cena's growing greatest hits collection and you'll see a variety of names. You'll see big men and legends, brawlers and technicians.
One or two critically acclaimed matches could be attributed to luck, but a resume like Cena's is an indication of his ability to deliver in the big moments and tell compelling stories in the ring.
His matches with Punk have been among the best in both men's careers. They followed a five-star match at Money in the Bank 2011 with fabulous performances at Night of Champions 2012 and on WWE Raw this February.
Giving all the credit to Punk for those matches is ridiculous.
Punk is an excellent performer, and his skill, energy and experience certainly played a part in elevating those three clashes. The question is what would they have been like without Cena?
Cena and Punk have a contrast in style and personality that benefits their battles. They simply have fantastic chemistry together.
This was not a case of one superior star leading an inferior one to success by force of will—it was two of WWE's best performing at a high level.
Cena's other great matches include tour de forces against Edge at Unforgiven 2006 and Backlash 2009, Michaels at WrestleMania 23 and Lesnar at Extreme Rules 2012.
Give Cena credit for being a part of the best match in Bobby Lashley's WWE career. While Punk, Edge and Michaels have been known to produce fireworks against a variety of opponents, Lashley's career retrospective DVD wouldn't have a lot to choose from.
His power-against-power battle with Cena delivered drama and theater, and both men deserve credit for its greatness.
Cena can also boast that he has fought in arguably the best WWE Raw match ever. Yes, that classic from April 23, 2007, was against Michaels, who has enough Match of the Year awards to build a house with, but Cena was just as responsible for the excitement fans experienced that night.
If Michaels was capable of simply carrying some no-talented hack to a match like that, then why didn't he have a five-star outing every night?
The fact is, Cena is really good at what he does.
He's certainly not the most graceful man to ever step between the ropes, nor is his sometimes juvenile promo work without reproach, but Cena can churn out classic matches.
Check out his work against Umaga in the Last Man Standing match, his Triple Threat against The Miz and John Morrison at Extreme Rules 2011, his battle against Randy Orton at Breaking Point 2009 or his TLC 2012 match against Dolph Ziggler.
His track record is phenomenal, and he'll certainly get opportunities to add to it. His rumored SummerSlam match against Daniel Bryan is sure to be awesome, for example.
Cena's past successes can't be denied.
Either Cena has left a wake of tired backs from men having to carry him to these excellent performances or the WWE champ is skilled at one of the most important aspects in being a WWE Superstar: generating entertaining matches.