On face value, Chris Jericho and John Cena aren't too different. They are both former WWE Champions who have released music albums and have had questionable hairstyles. If you were a casual wrestling fan, you would think the two were one in the same.
We're not casual wrestling fans, though, are we?
We're the Internet Wrestling Community. We love great wrestlers and we never forget them. We go out of our way to hate on the wrestlers that bore us. We read about the industry's inner workings and we know what makes good programming. That brings me to my main point.
The recently retired, much speculated about Jericho is the antithesis of John Cena. And having John Cena featured on WWE programming so prominently hurts the product so much that Johnny Ace should be on his knees at a Fozzy concert begging the Ayatollah of Rock N Rolla to come back.
Chris Jericho is the type of wrestler to build a brand around. He has unrivaled microphone work and superior in-ring work. He brings his own ideas to the company and he knows talent when he sees it and he is willing to get younger talent over. He even lost a 2009 singles match to JTG just so Cryme Tyme would be over for their tag match at SummerSlam. He was even the first one to see main event potential in Cena—he even asked Vince McMahon to let Cena get over on him at the 2002 Vengeance PPV.
And when Cena was a face character getting booed while WWE Champion in 2005, it was Jericho that initially got him over as a legit champion. John Cena has not re-payed the favor. Jericho made wrestling better. Jericho made you want to watch Raw is Jericho and he made guys like Cena, Christian, Edge, Kane and Shelton Benjamin look like main event talents while they were on the mid-card. His promos were brilliant and if you don't know, go check YouTube, junior!
John Cena isn't a bad wrestler and isn't a bad guy. He has a similar natural charisma and he speaks so eloquently there's no way he's from the city of Boston proper. When he takes the mic, we listen but we aren't excited to hear what he has to say. He rarely makes us laugh, but his former heel character as Vanilla Ice (RIP Vanilla Midget) shows us he's capable of doing so.
The reason I personally hate on Cena is his systematic burying of younger talent. Where Jericho could and would make Christian look like a million bucks, Cena wins handicap matches against the tag team champs (New Nexus), former World Champions (Ziggler and Swagger) and he's even responsible for burying main eventers R-Truth and the Miz who are left picking up the scraps as a mid-card tag team.
John Cena is good for business. Kiddies love him and he sells a ton of t-shirts. Jericho is good for wrestling. He makes other wrestlers better and that's what the WWE needs in this transitional period.