WWE Hustle, Loyalty and Respect: Defending the Polarizing John Cena
Quick note: I actually wrote this just after Wrestlemania XXVI. It was on my website (http://www.harrison101.blogspot.com), and my friend I Am Da Real Deal advised me to post this up, so, at his request, here it is!
You know...I really don't need to defend this man. To say he's "over" with the fans is like me saying Chelsea FC likes to spend some money once in a while.
Vince McMahon could have a RAW with just him wrestling The Great Khali for two hours and he'd still get at least double whatever TNA gets in the ratings. His first film, The Marine, made more money than The Hurt Locker (and that's an Academy Award-winning film).
He's only 33, but he's already a multimillionaire, in his wrestling prime, in the best state of his career and has women throwing themselves at him like he's the cure for their syphilis.
So, I bet you're wondering, why am I writing a column on this powerhouse A-lister?
Because, let's be honest here, even the most casual wrestling fan knows that as much as John Cena is the most popular man in wrestling today, he's also the least popular man in wrestling today. Listen carefully the next time you hear his entrance music. Ignore the women's and children's cheers...What do you get? A chorus of boos. Let's face it, sometimes, the nine-time world champion gets a full chorus of booing. If you don't believe me, just look at One Night Stand 2006 or on Youtube—there's a whole flock of examples.
But you're reading this anyway. I love my fanbase.
Now, before the haters start saying I'm a butt-kisser for Cena, let me say these things. His current gimmick is PG WWE all over, and he's nowhere near as good as he was two to three years ago. It bothers me that he salutes every time he comes out, even though he isn't directly in the military. I couldn't believe it when he got kicked out of the Angle Slam in the feud he had with Kurt.
I am human. I can spot flaws, too.
I'll come out right now and admit that I couldn't stand the man at first. But the more I've gotten into WWE programming, the more I've grown to like him. I've looked at all the topics that haters rant out, thought about it, and realized how wrong I was about the whole deal, especially in the latter parts of 2009 and early 2010.
My point is that everyone should like Cena, or at the very least, respect the heck out of the man. Here are some of the topics I've seen, which I will now decimate. Here goes...*cracks knuckles*
John Cena's Five Moves of Doom!
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Apart from his regular Five Knuckle Shuffle, and two finishers, he has a Fisherman's Suplex, Bulldog, Leg Drop from the Top Rope, Sidewalk Slam and Shoulder Tackle. That's what...eight moves right there? Yeah, we don't see them all due to time constraints, but that's what I remember.
Also bear in mind: Is Cena the only one who has five or so moves?
Look at Triple H and Shawn Michaels, guys who also have a very limited moveset. High Knee, Facebuster, Spinebuster, Pedigree. How many times has Triple H done that in a match? Even now he's adding more moves to his game, so he's adapting, too (a Gutwrench Suplex, as well as a delayed standing vertical).
Times have changed from people like Dean Malenko or Chris Jericho, where they would go out there and wrestle different styles in so many different matches. Also, isn't it better to master the same moves you do so well to avoid errors and botches? Why take more risks and botch more often? (I'm looking at you, Kofi.)
In addition, the guys who are more injury-prone (Shawn Michaels, Edge, Rey Mysterio) are the more innovative ones. If you're going to hate on Cena for only having five moves, you might as well paint 80 percent of the WWE with that same brush, because fact is, most of them do just that. I just can't see why everyone else isn't criticized nearly as much for it.
The Only Thing John Cena Sells is Merchandise
I get it. I've seen it, too, when Cena gets beaten up for 10 minutes only to come back and look 100 percent within seconds (Breaking Point 2009).
But the thing is, that isn't John's fault. I don't think he'd ever walk into a WWE creative meeting and ask to be a mix of Superman and a late 1980s Hulk Hogan. Furthermore, you don't see John appear in a lot of rumors in Dirt Sheets, do you? Or hear any politics surrounding him, do you? Fact is, peeps, as I said before, he's a giver.
In the last eight or so months, he lost the WWE Championship to Sheamus, got squashed by Batista and got beaten down by jobbers including Vladimir Kozlov, Drew McIntyre and Jack Swagger. I don't know about you, but if I were a headlining main eventer, getting Batista-bombed onto some steel steps is something I'd be trying to talk WWE creative out of.
Bottom line is, he's being a team player here. And that's always a good thing.
John Cena Can't Wrestle
Hmmm...Good one. Anyone who saw him come up from Ohio Valley wrestling in the early parts of the decade knows that's not the case (I do my homework, peeps).
Whether he "can" or "can't" wrestle, he's always stepped up when he needs to. Cena doesn't wrestle bad matches. He got some of the best performances of their careers out of JBL, Umaga, The Great Khali and others. When he's against another main eventer, like Randy Orton or Triple H, his opponent always steps it up because of Cena's intensity (no Vance Archer).
And let's face it, how could you NOT mark out when he had over three times his own weight on his back at Wrestlemania 25? Which brings me to my next point...
John Cena's on Steroids
OK, I'll give you this one...Let's imagine Cena is on all the steroids the world has to offer—send him to Jeff Hardy's house or something.
You're very naive if you think sticking steroids inside you instantly makes you ripped. You gotta work at it. Did you know he has a degree in Exercise Physiology? In other words, he knows EXACTLY how to work out. He's so fit and well because he's studied the damn thing. If there's one person who knows how to CORRECTLY work out, it's Cena.
John Cena is Selfish
Missed my team-player angle? OK, more evidence. If there's one man you constantly see selling the WWE product, who is it?
TV, magazines, movies, interviews, autograph signings—I could go on all day. He works his nuts off because he loves the business so much. Most guys, when they wake up for a 6 am interview, can't wait to get out of there. Cena relishes it.
He has surgery on his neck, he's back in the locker room the next day, and within days is on the plane to the Middle East for WWE's Tribute to the Troops in Afghanistan.
He worked 364 days the year The Marine came out. I'll say it right now, if more people had a work ethic like Cena's, the world would be a better place, for damn sure. Maybe that's why his phrase is "Hustle, Loyalty, Respect." It's more than just an advertising gimmick, folks. He is the face of the WWE because he is that character and he worked for it. Being made the company's No. 1 star isn't something that's given to you on a plate.
He's incredible. I don't know how he shakes off all the naysayers and negative criticisms.
Take ECW's One Night Stand in 2006. ECW was against everything Cena stood for in the corporate world. They wanted him to crash and burn. They waited for a mistake...It never came. Cena still wrestled an excellent match. Something Goldberg and Brock Lesnar couldn't do at Wrestlemania 20, and they were amazing talents.
They try, they try and try some more, but they never get into the man's head. I mean, just look at these douchebag haters at Wrestlemania 26, no fewer than six weeks ago...
Amazing how he just shrugged them off and was still smiling. Amazing charisma.
And that's why he's my favourite wrestler.
He's a role model, someone to look up to and proof that if you do work hard, good things can happen. So y'know what, he is the golden boy of the WWE, but by hook or by crook, he got there and he really does deserve it.
If I can turn one Cena hater into a Cena fan, my work here is done. I've been Harrison, and that was The Harrison Analysis. *plays The Time Is Now to exit*
(I hope you enjoyed that. Please let me know what you think, I'd love to know your thoughts on John Cena, and I love a spirited discussion as much as the next guy. Thanks for reading!)
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