Could it be the at times cartoonish and uninspired promos? Could it be the closet of shirts that look like it belongs in a Skittles Commercial? Or could it just be the fact that his shtick as the Hulk Hogan 2.0 has finally worn thin?
Yes. All of the above.
Let me preface this first of all by saying up and until a few months ago, I was a true Cena "mark." I stood by the code of "Hustle, Loyalty, Respect." I would defend him against my friends when they spewed their venom on him.
But then I paused and took a step back to review the man who had been my favorite WWE superstar since The Rock moved out to Hollywood. It was then that I realized that I didn't like what I saw, but was finally seeing what everyone else (over the age of 17) was.
Cena, in my opinion has been phoning it in for the past few years now, both on the mic and in the ring. His wrestling matches have become stale because we all know that no matter how many people he's fighting against at one time, he'll "Hulk"-up and beat them down, like in those cheesy action films.
He's stopped selling moves a long time ago and letting another wrestler have the last word is unheard of now. For wrestling purists, seeing Cena choose to pander to the crowd with weak mic work and then not deliver in a match is hard to swallow.
Go back and check out Cena when he was coming through the ranks as the "Doctor Of Thuganomics." While his rapping wasn't on par with Jay-Z or Eminem, he was clever and witty and interesting. Sure, you could blame his recent PG-rated microphone crapfests on the writers of WWE, but let's be smart. Cena has the free reign now to write his own material. So to that point, it should be a lot better than it actually is right now.
Most of us who grew up watching wrestling feel that Cena is a poor man's Rock, Stone Cold, Hogan, etc. wrapped into a ball and then shoved down our throats. (Vince made sure Cena was seen EVERYWHERE, to a point where the cheers turned to jeers.) He's almost to the point of no return. His only redemption in the eyes of male fans would be to do a heel turn so we can continue to boo him. But this time for the "right" reasons.
Then he has the audacity to call out The Rock for making a personal decision to seek Hollywood fame at a higher rate? Really? To what end does that matter to you, Cena? How will Rocky's decision actually affect the lining of your wallet (which seems to hold every 10-year-old's allowance money and their mother's hair styling cash).
If I'm correct, John Cena has put out several films with absolutely no success. Now I'm not in Cena's head, but it seems to me that if any of those flicks of his (The Marine, 12 Rounds, Legendary) had made more money than a street performer gets for playing plastic spoons, then he might have gotten a seat at the "big boy" table in Hollywood.
But alas, he's bombed in Hollywood. So as he calls out Rocky's commitment to the WWE, it's ironic that The Rock, a man who's been gone for years and probably should be getting booed still, has a more loyal following than Cena.
Any arena Cena walks into he's not the most popular wrestler there, which is not good if you are the face of the company. At a recent SmackDown taping I attended, Randy Orton was, without a doubt, the king of that show. There were maybe a handful or boos thrown his way whenever he was shown. Cena, by contrast, was showered with boos and "Cena Sucks" chants.
He panders to women and kids, which is fine, but then tries to act smug base on the fact that he is the best wrestler on the card. Maybe that's why he phones in his matches?
Don't believe he phones in his matches? Check out his work at Money In The Bank against CM Punk or at WrestleMania 27. He actually seemed more energized and more focused on the moves and the storytelling in the match. That's in direct opposition to most Cena matches in the past 5 years where he looks content to ride the wave until it's time for him to seal the deal and win the match.
CM Punk said it well when he said, "Cena, you have become what you hate...the New York Yankees."
Rocky summed it up even better: "Men don't like you...because they can smell BS a mile away."
And that is what Cena has become.