It struck me early in the wee hours of the AM this morning; the WWE might very well be sitting on a gold mine for which they have only struck the surface.
You've seen him many times before, heck, we all have.
But what if the WWE could turn something that most of us can't stand into the very thing we need to make us crave tuning in every Monday night?
As my insomnia got the best of me this morning, I decided to turn to some classic John Cena material as the source of my remedy.
I was supposed to be bored.
I was supposed to be able to go to sleep as Cena's theme music serenaded my bedroom with that classic sound that had tortured my formative fan years.
But I noticed something, something that perhaps might have flown over the heads of most.
As his music hit, I noticed that the fans...
The crowd erupted for his ridiculous match against Kevin Federline (see WWE’s New Years Revolution 2007 DVD).
Cena came out with emotion, but it was real.
I think that over time, Cena began to adopt that manic-intensity and incorporated it into his character.
I see it all the time; I saw it this past Monday.
All WWE Superstars act, but I'm talking about something deeper than that.
Cena took the intensity and enthusiasm he once had and incorporated it into his character so much so that he now simply...goes through the motions.
It's his job to come out excited and to work the crowd into a frenzy; and somewhere along the line, he began to devote himself to delivering the performance the people expected instead of emitting emotion because it is real.
I'm not saying that he doesn't have his moments, and I'm not saying that he's currently performing bored; I'm simply saying that the John Cena we see every Monday night is NOT "The Champ" we saw years ago.
I used to hate John Cena; I really did.
Nothing made me more sick than to throw $40 away each and every month to simply see an instant replay of the prior months' PPV.
But there was something different in the air back then; a sense of stability perhaps.
A time when even the likes of Jonathan Coachman provided more stability than the current "guest-host" gimmick going today.
We had a General Manager (and when we didn't, we had Vince McMahon).
And we had ourselves a champion.
Not a champion that most people liked but the line that separated Cena's fans from his haters created one of the most unique dynamics in the business.
People hate Cena today because they can't stand his personality, his (often times) stale sense of humor, and his tired act.
Back then people hated him for similar reasons; but there was more to their hatred than the impatience that came from seeing him hold that ridiculous looking WWE Championship belt month after month.
His fans adored him beyond reason and his haters wished nothing but the worst for his career.
But as we stand here today, I can tell you that there is a middle-ground that few would imagine to exist.
A strand of grey between the black and white that is John Cena's character.
A potential gold mine that the WWE has yet to utilize.
Allow me if you will, to offer a few suggestions that I feel would help improve John Cena's character to the benefit of all fans (supporters and haters alike).
1) A slight make-over can turn this soldier from a comic-book character into a "buyable" WWE Superstar
Aren't those colors so bright and vivid?
Knock it off!
Stop trying to appeal to children with the bright clothing and the colorful wardrobe. A decade ago, children bought countless "Austin 3:16" t-shirts with no regard for color what-so-ever.
Give Cena the opportunity to look credible.
His "soldier" colors circa 2006 were a great touch but if you are so anti-throwback that you'd think that to be a stale idea, try to at least use a color scheme that doesn't shout "Toys R Us" to the fans.
If Cena could cease to look like a marketing puppet and begin looking like his own man again, maybe the fans would take him a little more seriously.
2) Cena can keep "face" by sticking it to those who tell him he "sucks" every week
Not everyone is going to love John Cena.
There are those who love him and those who can't stand him.
After five years of trying, give up on the hope that the entire WWE Universe will embrace him like they did Steve Austin or The Rock because it "aint gonna happen."
If Cena stands up for himself by insulting those who insult him, it won't turn his loyal fans away. All he has to do is display appreciation for those who support him and he can be free to "stick it" to those who don't.
I want to see Cena gloat about his accomplishments.
His fans will love him all the more for it and his haters will hate him more than ever (if that’s possible).
Either way you will elicit emotion and reaction out of the crowd in a way that we're just not seeing these days.
Give it a try.
3) Let the champ be "The Champ"
When the time comes (as it undoubtedly will) to put the championship back on John Cena, allow him to remain hungry.
If he's joking about guest-hosts and resorting to funny "name-calling" when talking to his opponents, he is not displaying true passion for the championship.
He is displaying his devotion to entertainment exclusively.
When his primary goal becomes trying to make the fans laugh, he ceases to be a passionate champion and simply becomes stand-up comic with plastic "Toys R Us" gold strapped around his waist.
It's a waste of the WWE Championship and it's a waste of John Cena's efforts, so please spare use the uselessness.
With these three simple suggestions, you could morph John Cena from being WWE's poster-boy to being WWE's lucrative future.
It's not that John Cena isn't currently a marketable top-player in this business; it's simply a matter of utilizing his services to their full potential to make for a greater asset than we are currently having delivered to use each and every Monday night.
If any of the readers feel as though my suggestions are poor, unreasonable, or unrealistic, please feel free to chime in with your thoughts detailing why and I will be happy to tell you exactly why you're mistaken.
I'm joking around, of course...sort of.