WWE Realizations: The Rock Went on to Bigger Challenges While Cena Got Comfy

Marc MattalianoCorrespondent IIIMay 24, 2011

WWE Realizations: The Rock Went on to Bigger Challenges While Cena Got Comfy

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    You know that feeling when things just click?  You fight tooth and nail, you get set in your ways, and then your cranium gets knocked the right way, or your cerebrospinal fluid gets swished a little, and suddenly, you see the light?

    Yeah, I'm getting that right now.

    If you click on my name above and look at my article archives, you'll see a vast number of pieces written on one John Felix Anthony Cena.  I've written about why he's bringing the company down.  I've written about why he's seen as a good figurehead for business transactions with sponsors.  I've even completely psychoanalyzed him and deconstructed his on-screen personality.

    I've done all these things in the hopes of finding out what's so special about the man that WWE would keep him at such a high level, despite at least half of the WWE Universe wanting him to lose to the point of booing known heels!

    Last night, I came to a realization, one that has probably been discussed by droves of IWC members at length, but one that feels new to me.  That realization is stated in my title, however please take this journey with me and see how I came to this conclusion.

Cena's Beaten Everyone! You Happy Now, John?

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    It's been at least a few weeks since the 2011 Draft, but whether you look at the Raw locker room before or after the event, you'll see a slew of guys John Cena has beaten. The remainder are low-card folks who might physically and techincally have a chance to beat Cena, but haven't gotten their opportunity yet. They wouldn't stand any chance at all if they were to face him tonight on the Smackdown tapings (don't count on it).

    Not only will you see a slew of guys John's beaten, you'll see a slew of guys John's beaten decisively.  No question, he's beaten them and shown "he's the better man."  No wiggle room on that whatsoever.

    Thus, it compells me to ask John a very simple question...John Cena...are you satisfied?  And I don't mean to ask that question rhetorically, as a response for something done.  Usually that's how and when that query comes out.  No, I mean it as an entirely genuine question.

    Are you satisfied where you are?

How Does One Measure the Value of How Far One Has Come?

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    Most really driven and motivated people, when they do everything they can do in a certain field, in a certain genre of activity, in a company, whatever, tend to seek out bigger and better challenges to overcome.  The logic there is easy...they want to test themselves, because succeeding at every single thing is wildly boring.  They want to know how far their skills can take them.

    When they hit that wall, they have choices.  They can either practice, train and attempt beyond any struggle they've ever pushed in their life to cross that wall.  They can find ways around that wall.  Or, they can turn away and quit trying to scale walls altogether.

    Sure, we all like winning.  We all enjoy it when we try hard and persevere to the point where we emerge victorious over just about anything:  an opponent, an arch-nemesis, our own natures, etc.  But there are individuals out there that actually do appreciate the "sport."

    You know what I mean by sport, too.  When you play a game, you pursue a goal, chase a dream, there's always a chance that you'll fail.  Or, most of the time, there's a chance.  Defeating that failure.  That's the fun!  When there's no chance of failure, there's no intrigue.

    I love video games, and although I do shy away from games that are far too hard for me, I also shy away from games that are either too easy or that I've beaten a million times.

    If casinos had a game that actually offered 100% odds, there'd be lines out the door to play it, sure, but that's just because the American economy is crummy and people need cash now!

    Gambling isn't exciting because you can beat the system and win all the time.  Gambling is exciting because the risk of failure is great, but if you're lucky enough to defeat it, you're rolling in riches!

How Valuable Is Cena at This Point? Really?

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    Listen, don't think me a fool.  I understand that John Cena's being somewhat protected from a business-savvy booking standpoint.  I get that Creative and Vince are working behind the scenes to make Cena look like the unstoppable force he's always been, in order to keep (what they believe to be) the majority of fans happy enough with the product to keep watching.

    Thing is, I'll bet a lot of those people who love Cena more than anybody are also not buying as many PPVs these days because they know Cena will win all the time.  What's the point? 

    He's your hero, you know he's going to succeed.  At what point does he become so reliable, that even fans of his don't want to buy PPVs to see him win anymore?

    And that's just from a business standpoint.

    From a character standpoint, John Cena is just an awful person.  From what we've seen recently, the guy's basically proven he's good enough to hold a major title and just stand there while new people pop up randomly and challenge him (as seen in the video here).

    Honestly, if next week on Raw, he went around and found new people to put the belt up against, he'd have a fan in me once again.  The truth will set me free, Ron Killings?  That is the doggone truth right there.

    I'd respect Cena a hell of a lot more if he went out and sought challenges, started fights, expressed his opinions outside of just reacting, maybe even put the belt on the line as a way to convince someone who has no interest in fighting him to fight him!

    Perhaps if he put the belt on the line against anyone, open challenging anyone who wants to stick their nose in his business, no matter how big or small, than just sitting back in his BarcaLounger throne like some hedonistic king, "oh my, yes, bring on the next victim, goodness my-oh-me, it's another day, another challenger falls at my fingers, oh heavens."

    Truthfully, he doesn't have to turn into a mean, angry person for me to like him.  He just has to show some initiative.

    When we compare this lacksadasical attitude with that of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, we see where the real difference lies.

Rock Leaves Us High and Dry...and Proves He's the Man!

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    When The Rock was at his peak, he could look at the WWE roster and see a similar slew of superstars he'd bowled through as a main event level competitor.  Granted, maybe getting beaten by Goldberg at Backlash shows that perhaps he did have greater challenges still to conquer in WWE. However at that point, even in getting beaten, he still had nothing to prove.

    At that point, when he wanted to disappear from the ring and take on Hollywood acting roles, he wanted a much bigger challenge than just clotheslines, body slams, irish whips and Rock Bottoms.

    Not to say that kind of choreography is easy.  It just wasn't his typical element.  It wasn't the comfortable situation he'd gotten used to in WWE.  Every time he stepped on a Hollywood film set, it wasn't going to be another week of "If you smell what the Rock is cooking," "know your role and shut your mouth," "it doesn't matter what you think," etc.

    He'd have to be a football player, a hero, a mystical warrior from Egypt, even a hocky player turned tooth fairy.  Believe me, it's roles like those that cause me to not acknowledge Dwayne Johnson as a classically trained thespian, but taking on those challenges, and succeeding at them, has allowed for a wider audience to accept the Rock as the Great one.  He was around for the TV-MA rated Attitude Era, and after that was over, he did kids' movies.

    Thus, another realization has come to mind.  John Cena's responses to Rock's accusations upon his return are completely and unequivocably wrong, and for a number of reasons.

John Cena claims that his staying in WWE shows his loyalty to the business.

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    Well, that's true to an extent, but no matter how loyal you are, how long can you stay in a business that offers you absolutely no challenge, no motivation to try harder, and no reason to step up your game?

    Chris Jericho stepped away willingly to perform music with Fozzy and be on Dancing With the Stars, and even if he didn't win the dance contest, when he comes back, he'll still be the supernova of charisma he was when he left.  The Rock left willingly to pursue a movie career and has done sensationally. 

    Cena?  Still here, and losing more fans everyday.

Cena Claims Rock Shouldn't Judge Him Based on His Fanbase Being Primarily Kids

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    As I said, Rock was around for the Attitude Era, and as a result, he's ingratiated himself with millions and millions of adult fans.  Cena started by appealing to adults, but what he's choosing to not acknowledge is that adults are smart enough to want more out of their superstars.

    Kids don't care if their hero comes out to the ring and pulls the same nonsense to win every single match every single week.  Adults do.

    Despite his immensely popular status, Rock has to try ten times as hard to keep adults entertained.  That's because it's a bigger challenge.  Cena can crack a little pun or flippantly BULLY a weaker heel (isn't that ironic) and kids will keep following him like sheep.

    On the other hand, if Rock says the wrong thing the wrong way, endorses the wrong guy, whatever, there's far greater a chance that adults will turn away than children.

    Kids are far more loyal, because they're blindly loyal.  Cena barely has to do anything to entertain them.  Rock?  His timing, delivery, speaking ability in general, everything has to be spot on, because grown-ups are watching.

    Huge difference.

Cena Claims Rock Shouldn't Judge His Music and Clothing

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    Again, only true to an extent.

    Rock never had to lean on superficial identity traits like the color of his shirts or the music he listened to.  He had to build a personality for himself on-screen.  When he shed the flowery, frilly blue outfit he wore as Rocky Maivia, he went with a much simpler black tights and boots emsemble, much like Stone Cold was doing.

    Thus, it was much harder for Rock to express his personality without flashy colorful clothing, slogans all over him, and a catchy hook.  Rock only got the cool music after he had developed that personality.

    Years ago, Cena had personality, but it was personality rooted in music that, frankly, he only now references when challenged harshly enough.  The only association he has with hip hop on WWE TV is his theme song, and unless he turns heel and changes the intention of the melody and lyrics, he could really use an updated theme song.

    In essence, Rock had to build his persona on his own.  He wore shirts with slogans, yes, but they were new slogans, variations to keep things fresh.  It wasn't just the same slogan plastered on each new line of brightly colored fabric.

    Most of Rock's shirts were black and had words on them.  Thus, you weren't picking out a shirt based on your favorite color.  That's for kindgarteners.  Rock's shirts worn by people who appreciated the creativity that went into the sayings.

    You picked out your favorite saying, not just your favorite color.

Rock Did the Right Thing All Along. Dwayne? Man to Man, I Apologize

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    Case in point: while my distaste for the Rock years ago is now balanced my newfound IWC wisdom, and while I humbly admit that my prior ignorance years ago makes me realize that I had been taking Rock for granted all this time, I now finally realize that The Rock made exactly the decisions he should have made.

    I was once one of the people who booed Rock when he vanished from wrestling screens.  He was turning his back on fans and leaving wrestling by the wayside when wrestling was what gave him the notoriety and marketability to have film studios want him to act for them at all!

    For him to leave was a travesty...I once thought.

    Now, to see Cena constantly re-defeat so many opponents, and stick around longer and longer and longer, forcing us to deal with him destroying peoples' dreams and never sharing the spotlight with anyone outside of a randomly paired up tag partner?

    Am I suggesting Cena vacate the title of sheer humility and generosity?  Absolutely not!  But John's gone way too far.

    His lack of motivation to find tougher challenges, his complacence regarding never wanting to climb rockier mountains and scale harder peaks, and his own conscious decision (whether in character, or John's own backstage decision that we're largely unaware of) to monopolize the main event scene and hold back two whole rosters worth of potential mega stars is what you call "good reasons to hate someone."

Real Simple Conclusion...and Thanks for Reading

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    Lemme break it down for ya like this...

    If you knew a friend that had the ungodly potential to do more for themselves, and was willfully refusing to rise to that potential even though they were already successful, would you consider them an unmotivated jerkface for letting their skills stagnate and wilt in a position that they've mastered?

    Or would you clap and worship them as the most successful person on the planet?


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