WWE: Why It Is Time for John Cena to Change or Risk His Legacy

Brent TurnerCorrespondent IIIJuly 15, 2011

The always colorful John Cena
The always colorful John CenaDrew Hallowell/Getty Images

As I watch Monday Night Raw or Smackdown week after week, I am always interested in watching the guys that have tweaked their roles and personalities over the years in order to stay relevant.  

One of the prime examples over the last few months has been the drastic change that Cody Rhodes has gone through.  As he was toiling around the mid-card status, a few different quirks here and there have brought him a new audience—when you watch, notice how many fans are eagerly trying to get their hands on a paper bag.  

A wrestler's career can be extended for years if the right role or character is found.  

When Hulk Hogan turned and joined the nWo, it gave his career a massive boost, almost to the point where that persona matched the popularity of the red-and-yellow Hogan.  

John Cena has been playing the same style of character for many years. Since his debut on Smackdown in 2002, Cena has been the fun-loving, fan-friendly wrestler that so many enjoy cheering for.  

He came out promoting ruthless aggression (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAJdjeV3ZuA), and for almost 10 years, we have seen the same act over and over.

When his music hits, people erupt. When he does his promos, people erupt. When he does his five moves of doom, people erupt.  

However, in recent months, especially with the rise of CM Punk, not as many people are erupting when Cena enters the building.  

Sure, Cena is still the top draw in an otherwise-boring roster of WWE superstars, and his marketing allows many kids to wear the red, orange, and purple, or whatever color the shirts are going to be.

What little kid doesn't want to be a member of the CeNation?  

Spare me the "he-can't-change-because-of-the-financial-effect-it-would-have-on-marketing" comments. The problem with this is that the kids are not the ones that add spice to the shows.  

Remember the electricity in the building when college kids and grown men would chant and yell for their favorite superstars? Watch any clip on the Internet, and it will show why those shows from 1997-2001 were epic for fan participation.  

Kids do not add to the live events or the television shows. 

Cena needs to change his gimmick, and probably the easiest way to do that is by turning heel.  

However, before he turns heel, it should be carefully planned. I don't want another one of those "the-fans-made-me-do-it" storylines in which the wrestler blames the fans for his acting the way he did.  

If done right, Cena's heel turn could be at a time when most fans would never expect it, thus giving his character a new identity.

New identities, or at the very least twists on their certain characters, help all wrestlers at some point in their careers.  

Look back at the Undertaker when he went through the motorcycle phase of his career, coming out to Kid Rock and taking care of business. That persona had nothing to do with the Deadman, but it worked for him. Now that he is back, albeit in very few appearances, to the Deadman personality, fans everywhere can appreciate both styles.  

John Cena continues to be mocked by CM Punk and the Rock because of his image. No one takes Cena seriously when he is in the ring, and all of his promos seem goofy.

CM Punk has the people's attention, whereas John Cena says the same things over and over.

When the most interesting thing Cena says each week comes through his Twitter account, that is a problem.  

All great wrestlers have great promos, and it is important that Cena elevates his game to match that of wrestlers in the past.

A heel turn for Cena would do wonders for his career, which is starting to reach the critical 10-year mark where one establishes himself as an all-time great.  

However, even if he reaches that level of greatness, who puts him ahead of names such as the Rock, Steve Austin, the Undertaker, or even Triple H?  

No one puts him up there above those names.  

Cena must protect his legacy and show that he has the ability to be a different character, and once he does, people can then appreciate what he means to the business.  

In your opinion, should Cena change his image?