When well-respected WWE wrestlers Daniel Bryan and Steve Austin applaud John Cena for his in-ring skills, it's time for anti-Cena fans to take notice.
Cena, the oft-maligned Superstar, has heard chants of "You can't wrestle!" in arenas around the country. Fans like this one claim that other Superstars have 'carried' Cena to all his great matches. He's also been the subject of unflattering memes.
Bryan and Steve Austin recently said positive things about Cena's ring work as well they should.
Cena certainly isn't as good a mat wrestler as Dean Malenko, as fluid as Ricky Steamboat or as versatile as Chris Jericho, but his resume is filled with great matches, something that both Bryan and Austin both noted in recent interviews.
In an interview with AfterBuzzTV, via WrestlingInc.com, Austin said, "Cena can have a great match with anybody, but he needs somebody who can bring it out of him."
Austin seems to be saying two different things with this statement. In the first sentence, he says that Cena can work well against anybody while in the second it sounds as if he means that Cena only works well against certain wrestlers.
The list of men who can put on a classic no matter the opponent is a short one.
Austin's second comment speaks more to the truth.
Cena's greatest hits have come against Michaels, Jericho, Randy Orton, Edge, Umaga, Batista and CM Punk. He clicks against certain opponents and stumbles against others. That's no different from someone as legendary as The Undertaker.
Cena's SummerSlam opponent had much more to say about his wrestling skills and how they are perceived. Bryan told SkySports, via WrestlingInc.com, the following:
There's a sense that people question his wrestling ability and I don't think that's accurate. If you look at the matches he's put on, he's been part of great matches. Even his match with Mark Henry at Money in the Bank was a fantastic match. You know, people are saying he's not this great wrestler, but for someone who's not a great wrestler he's sure had some great matches! I don't think that's a fair assessment of him.
Bryan is absolutely right here.
The definition of a great wrestler can vary from fan to fan, but shouldn't the ability to put on great wrestling matches be on the top of the criteria? If so, Cena passes that test, even if he performs an ugly dropkick and is often wooden in the ring.
Regardless if one likes his persona or not, Cena's record is that of a great wrestler.
He was a part of perhaps the best match in WWE Raw history when he faced Michaels on April 23, 2007. He was involved in the best match on TV this year, namely his February battle with Punk. Add to that the fact that Cena was one half of Umaga's best match and one of Edge's best opponents and it's difficult to go against Bryan and Austin's comments.
Cena is fun to hate and often goofy when he should be serious, but downplaying his ability and saying 'he can't wrestle' is in Bryan's words not a "fair assessment of him."