It’s the 23rd of April, 1977, and the world of pro wrestling is at an all-time high. The likes of Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage have yet to hit the company known today as World Wrestling Entertainment. In some corner of the world, a proud mom has given birth to a baby boy named:
John Felix Anthony Cena Jr.
As years rolled by, this little boy grew into a strong and tough human being, imbibing the qualities of hustle, loyalty and respect, which are displayed in his behavior and interactions with the WWE Universe.
Enter the millennium, and this fully grown adult “officially” decides to pursue a career in pro wrestling. The journey was tough, with twists and turns from all sides.
He did not have a family background, nor was he acquainted with the tough head-to-head competition in the world of professional wrestling. In fact, until he stepped into it, he had chosen to tread an unknown path.
Why? Because he wanted to live his dream.
“Shattered Glasses...Austin 3:16…Stone Cold…If You Smell What The Rock Is Cooking…Who in the Blue Hell Are You?”
One year removed from the millennium, fans were still being treated with the "Attitude Era." There was the “Sound of Shattered Glasses”—Stone Cold and his arch nemesis The Rock were busy raising Hell, along with sticking boots up people’s rears.
This soldier Cena, who had started his journey just a year before, signed a contract with the then–World Wrestling Federation. He was sent to its developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, where he is trained to develop his “wrestling skills.” From here, he is well on his way to the current-day World Wrestling Entertainment.
While people were relishing the antics of "Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla" and the Olympic Gold Medalist, one man dared to rise above the horizon and compete with these already proclaimed veterans. He knew then that he did not have the best move set one has to offer. He knew that he was not the best wrestler.
What he did know is that he was driven by a passion yet to be matched by anyone in the world of professional wrestling.
The Era of Ruthless Aggression: The Soldier Debuts and Makes an Impact
The Ruthless Aggression Era bid farewell to the Attitude Era and provided an opportunity for young stars to rise, one of them being John Cena.
He made his debut against one of the best athletes the company had to offer, Kurt Angle, and was able to make an immediate impact as a rookie.
Many people who have been going on a rampage saying “Cena can’t wrestle” need to see that match and then think, "Could a wrestler who can’t wrestle not only hold his own, but dominate against the best technical wrestler in just his first WWE match?
The Brave Heart’s constant improvement in the ring and his mic work, coupled with the positive crowd reaction, propelled the WWE to spotlight him when he debuted his gimmick of a street thug.
Cena was often cutting promos in the form of raps. He feuded with many of the biggest faces on the Smackdown brand while putting on near five-star matches with the likes of Angle and the Undertaker at WWE’s No Mercy and Vengeance in 2003. He was never carried in those matches; as a matter of fact, there were occasions when he dominated (albeit for short spans) these established veterans and was on his way to causing upsets.
Although he lost both his matches, he still made the crowd cheer for him. The sudden love he got from the crowd made the WWE consider him more seriously as a main eventer.
Cena continued his rise to the top and was given the main event push at Wrestlemania 21, where he won his first world title . The crowd was still behind him and he was riding an all-time high. But who knew what the future had in store for him.
Just a couple of months later, the scenario changed completely.
The crowd who assured the WWE that Cena could sell, the crowd who was always on his side—that is, until he made it—now, that same crowd spits on Cena. As he became the poster boy for the company, that same crowd chants “Cena Sucks! Cena Sucks!”
You Can’t Wrestle…(Clap)…You Can’t Wrestle
John Cena, who was living a Dream, was suddenly subjected to nothing but hate from the majority of WWE fans. He was the WWE Champion and the face of the company, but rather than being on his side, these same fans went against him.
This sudden turn of events was shocking, to say the least. But can anyone derive a reason for this sudden change? Can anyone discern the reason for the popularizing of such a chant?
Apparently everyone can, but no one wants to. Everyone wants to join in, jump on him and devise ways to bash Cena up.
Is he the best wrestler to enter the ring? No.
Even a die-hard Cena fan like me can accept it. John Cena himself has accepted it and said so in an interview. But no one sees how much he gives to the ring, how many bumps he has taken and how often he does wrestle.
A wrestler is a person who is supposed to give offense, take offense and tell a story: That's exactly what Cena does.
But he sucks all this hate up, never says a word and still carries on. He carries the belt on his shoulder with pride and is not subdued with the constant hate he gets.
One more thing that the fans forget: John Cena is just doing his job.
He could very well revert to his original aggressive move set and dominate opponents at will, but he can’t because he is employed by and works under a boss who wants to use him as a marketing tool and wants him to do all those flashy moves on a regular basis.
(The Brave Soldier might be the face of the company, but he is the only one who is unlucky to be a face.)
He masks such activities and soaks up all the hate that is directed to him. He does not direct it towards those who deserve it; nor does he open up about it via social networking sites.
Not that it is a bad thing, but the moment he breaks kayfabe, he will have to kiss his status goodbye. When someone puts his life, blood and sweat on the line to achieve it, why would he let it go?
He knows that if he goes against the Boss, he will definitely be given a cold shoulder. No one would screw his own life, his own love, his heart! Especially Cena, who has tons of passion and has worked his way to the top because of it.
Let's go, Cena-Cena Sucks...Let's go, Cena-Cena Sucks
The brave soldier is fighting in the ring and is currently taking offense. Those who are his fans are trying to cheer him up by chanting “Let’s go, Cena." This rally is followed by the constant “Cena Sucks” rally. Some bit of hate is generated due to his “Superman” gimmick as well.
One thing that needs to be kept in mind here is that the WWE is PG; hence, you can’t expect your Face to be an edgy, aggressive character.
WWE is a business first. They are marketing the product, keeping in mind the younger demographic first and Cena can sell; hence, he is the hero of this Era.
Cena has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He is the source of inspiration for millions of kids, who are huge fans of his. If he disses his fans by being edgy, then the whole purpose of being a Face will fail.
He would love to entertain the crowd but he has his money-minded Boss at the helm directing him to do what he does.
Can Cena be blamed for becoming a Superman? Apparently not!
Did he request that Vince McMahon allow him to portray that role? NO! He can’t and considering how competitive and aggressive his boss is, no one who loves his job would dare to.
"If Cena Wins. We Riot": Is That Actually Screwing His Haters More?
It is a well-known fact that Cena is the most talked-about WWE Superstar.
This has made many people say that he is shoved down our throats. But is the die-hard worker to blame, or are his critics playing a part too?
The more they hate and criticize Cena, the more he is talked about and the more he sells. This leads to endless debates, which further make Cena a trending topic in the world of wrestling.
His gimmick might be watered-down, which he himself has accepted, but he has to keep his job and has to do what he is asked to, without any creative control.
So where does this hate come from?
It is his unmatched passion and his love for wrestling that has made him stick with the business, in spite of the abuse that he takes. This passion is never really cared about, and all he gets is hate!
Comparing Cena with the Other Wrestlers
Being the face and a main-eventer, Cena is often subjected to comparisons with The Rock and Hulk Hogan, and the majority is anti–John Cena.
I, for one, am not a fan of comparisons, but I if I were forced to comment, I would say that Cena has been wronged!
Surprised? Move on.
Let me ask you a question: Who is the wrestler who used the WWE to gain mainstream popularity and then went to Hollywood and has not shown any concern for the WWE fans one bit?
Who is the wrestler who "people consider" be ten times better than Cena and is still cheered and made to look like a king in front of him but has yet to make a single WWE appearance in six years after becoming a star?
Sure, we all know that he has a tough schedule as well but does it mean that The Rock has been:
A) away from US
B) working and shooting for a film
C) That too, on every Monday and Friday Night?
The answer is no!
(This is by no means a rant against the Rock, who happens to be my favorite along with Cena. But being pro wrestling fans first, we ought to avoid bashing Cena, who is still wrestling even though he is pretty popular beyond the WWE and has vowed never to quit.)
So now I ask the wrestling fans another question: Who wrestles more and busts his rear for the fans and goes on promotional tours and takes bumps for you more than The Great One does?
The answer is John Cena.
As far as Hogan goes, he is a World Wrestling parasite.
On how many occasions has he refused to take a loss, and on how many occasions has he been selfish enough to keep himself in the limelight and screw the other deserving main event players?
Perhaps a good look at the sorry state of TNA is a fine example to illustrate my point.
Cena is the face because he earned it, and yet he had no problem losing. Just look at the amount of humiliation he has suffered at the hands of the Nexus, and he has still been enthusiastic.
Would someone like Hogan, who refused to lose to Michaels at Summerslam 2005 and on many other occasions, be ready to take so much of humiliation?
His track record screams a big fat NO!
Cena is often compared to many other main event players of the current generation as well. They might be better than Cena at every aspect, but no one can sell more than he can.
IWC'S darling Randy Orton is the champion right now, and he deserves to be. Anyone would happily accept that Orton is better in the ring than the Charismatic Worrier. But in spite of that, who is the most talked about wrestler?
The answer, though tough to digest for many, is John Cena.
Who can be as unique as Cena and sell both as a face and as a heel? Why don't people use that argument? We can, but it still won't matter to Cena; he will take the abuse and get up and say "Is this all you got?"
The bottom line, ladies and gentlemen, is this: Whether we like it or not, Cena is the face of the company, but he is cursed because he still gets hate from the majority, even though there isn't one solid reason to hate on him.
He is worthy of a lot of things but what he is most worthy of is respect.
Those who don't like him will continue to drift away. He will carry on with every lame and watered-down concept that is handed to him, courtesy of the worthless creative staff. He will take orders in one ear and take abuse in the other, but still, the Soldier in him will make him continue to walk the path to greatness.
But he will always have honest supporters like me and many others to defend him until he gets what he deserves, and that is respect!
Will he finally get his due and be recognized for what he has given and done for the world of professional wrestling?
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