WWE Analysis: John Cena, the Hate He Shoulders, the Blame He Deserves

Kevin Berge@TheBerge_Featured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2011

WWE Analysis: John Cena, the Hate He Shoulders, the Blame He Deserves

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    John Cena: a name that will forever strike emotion in the hearts of pro wrestling fans.

    It doesn't matter if you are a WWE, TNA, or independent wrestling fan. Everyone has an opinion of John Cena.

    He is the face of WWE.

    He is the most decorated full-time wrestler in WWE today.

    He is a 12-time World Champion. He holds the record for number of times as WWE Champion at 10. He has held the US Title three times and the tag titles twice. He has ranked No. 1 twice in PWI 500. He has had feuds of the year. He has been involved in amazing matches with Shawn Michaels, Edge and CM Punk. He has been considered the most popular star in professional wrestling for years. PWI, Wrestling Observer and the WWE itself have all ranked him as the Superstar of the Year on two separate occasions.

    There is very little in the WWE that John Cena has never done. In fact, John Cena's only missing accolade is being a triple crown winner because he has never held the Intercontinental Championship. Not that he will ever need that achievement.

    John Cena is the WWE's biggest draw and a name that transcends the business.

    When he retires, he will probably be entered into the WWE Hall of Fame that very year.

    So why is he hated by so many wrestling fans?

    Here is a man who has worked himself to the bone for the WWE. He has done great charity work and held the WWE together when it had no one else to help it.

    Yet, there is a gigantic movement of professional wrestling fans against John Cena. He plays a face persona, but he gets louder negative reactions than almost any heel star.

    He has incited chants that he "can't wrestle" and that he "sucks." The same guy who has done everything in this business is being told that he cannot do the job he has done his whole life.

    Why would anyone with John Cena's work ethic and heart be booed out of a stadium by his own fans?

    The answer is not a simple explanation. It needs to be addressed in parts by looking at:

    1. His ability.

    2. His character.

    3. His behavior.

    4. His actions.

    5. Who's at fault.


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    For those who say John Cena cannot wrestle, please watch some of his best matches.

    This man can sell and has immense power. Most importantly, he can tell an amazing story.

    Cena has wrestled with legends and icons, and he has looked incredibly strong regardless of the result.

    He has many moves in his arsenal that transcend the five moves of doom that Cena is notoriously accused of doing repetitively.

    Cena's latest masterpiece was at Money in the Bank where CM Punk and John Cena took one of the greatest buildups in recent memory and performed a match that has seen no true equal this year.

    Regardless of what Chavo says, Cena is a great wrestler. Maybe not a legend but certainly a high-class talent.

    On the mic, John is spectacular. Of all current wrestlers, only CM Punk can rival John in terms of charisma.

    Sure, at times, Cena gets some wretched material that comes off as ridiculous and corny. Sometimes, the material is not even in character.

    Regardless, John takes this material and makes it appealing and convincing.

    John Cena's ability should never be questioned. He is one of the best performers in WWE today thanks to his immense charisma and ability to tell a story in his every move.


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    John Cena has had two real characters in his nine-year run in the WWE.

    He has been a rapper, and he has been the model of Hustle, Loyalty and Respect.

    Around 2005, the Master of Thuganomics disappeared, and the man who never quits was born.

    At the time, it was exciting to see this young star growing into a main-event-caliber talent.

    Now six years later, he stands as the stalest character in the WWE.

    He is intense and focused, or he is corny and rude.

    The character had a lot of potential at its inception, and it fulfilled that potential.

    Now, there is nothing that makes John Cena seem interesting anymore.

    This is mainly due to the WWE who has given him wretched material over the years, along with sticking him in the main-event scene for far too long. At times, he has created great and memorable work while most other times, he just uses his never-die attitude to pull off amazing comebacks out of the blue.

    John Cena, as a character, simply doesn't work anymore. He is at an age now where he needs to find a gimmick that will excite for the rest of his time in the WWE.

    Hustle, Loyalty and Respect are not going to give Cena a character that is as great as The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin. He needs to find the character that makes John Cena stick out positively in the minds of fans for the rest of his career and beyond.


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    Before anything is said against John Cena's attitude, it has to be said that Cena is an amazing guy.

    He is one of the nicest guys in WWE. He even was awarded the Chris Greicius Celebrity Award for his work in the Make a Wish foundation.

    There is no doubting that John Cena is a great person.

    At the same time, Cena loves the WWE.

    While others have turned their backs or balked at the company, John still holds onto his loyalty for the company. Regardless of mistakes the company has made, Cena has never spoken out against the company or its employees.

    If I were running a business, I would love to have Cena as an employee due to his hard work and loyalty.

    While others go around doing drugs and speaking out in ridiculous fashion, John Cena is a model citizen and employee.

    Now, there is always a negative to these positives.

    John Cena does have a tendency to shirk his work ethic in the ring.

    He has notoriously shown a lack of focus and commitment to certain storylines that he does not agree with. The latest example being his feud with R-Truth where John simply seemed uninspired. Reports said that Cena wanted to feud with CM Punk, and instead Cena had to help the new heel in R-Truth grow.

    This is something I'd like to get into more on the next slide.


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    Here is where John Cena is partly to blame.

    Yes, Cena is a great athlete and a charismatic star. He has always been loyal to the company and devoted to his fans.

    Where Cena falters is his lack of commitment and action.

    Why do so many hate Cena? Because he doesn't wrestle. Key word here is "doesn't." He can wrestle, and he has done it in spectacular fashion with great stars, but Cena decides who he wrestles with.

    If he is in a feud with a weaker or lesser talent, he seems to slow down and allow them to do most of the work. Eventually, he will come back to win without doing much else.

    This is all Cena.

    Cena mentally decides when he is going to work. When he is fighting CM Punk, Edge, Chris Jericho or Shawn Michaels, he throws out all of the stops. He wants the match to be great. When he is stuck with lesser stars such as The Miz, R-Truth or Wade Barrett, he simply lets them do the work.

    I remember loving Cena's early work because there was a drive and a focus to them. He was green, but really wanted to succeed.

    Now, the crown lies heavy on Cena's head as he decides who is worthy of his talents.

    That is not the way a main-event star should act. John Cena should be trying his hardest to put over young stars like Dolph Ziggler or Jack Swagger even when he wins.

    Sleeping on the job is not a valid way of acting when the future can be made or broken with every match you wrestle.

Who Is to Blame?

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    Looking at everything that Cena has done and accomplished, it would be hard to see why people hate him, but watching him for years makes you realize the truth.

    Cena's character is stale and not extremely exciting.

    He can pull out great matches when the time comes, but this is not a regular occurrence.


    Does Cena decide when he is going to be corny and go Superman? Has WWE decided that Cena should not overexert himself against lower-level talent?

    It may not be possible to understand the full politics here, but both sides are at fault.

    WWE loves Cena and gives him a lot more than he needs at too fast a rate. It is afraid of change, so it holds onto Cena as a face who is a message to the young kids. He carries the message of Hustle, Loyalty and Respect.

    John Cena lives on the mountain, and he is not coming down. He seems to lack commitment to change. He just goes out there and works each night.

    Is Cena a bad person? No.

    Is Cena a bad wrestler? No.

    Cena has, however, become desensitized to the emotion of pro wrestling.

    It is Cena's fault that he does not come off as a great worker and interesting talent.

    It is WWE's fault that Cena has not been allowed to grow and develop over time while finding ways to fight and thrive without the main-event scene.

    Each side is at fault in the creation of one of the most polarizing figures in WWE today.

John Cena: Martyr, Schmuck, or Victim

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    John Cena is not a perfect competitor.

    He has been weighed down by the company around him and influenced to simply not work.

    At the same time, WWE is not the monster with all the control here.

    John Cena has time and again shown that he can take himself to a higher level and put over individual talents.

    While others strive for the main event, John Cena has become lax as he sits on his throne.

    He is a legend and has gone above and beyond many other greats, but he needs to sit down one day and look back.

    Does he really want his legacy to be that of the last great superstar? Does he really need to be the greatest and let the company he loves die when he leaves? When he realizes the answer is no, he needs to sit down with WWE and discuss his future.

    No more Superman antics. No more lackluster work. No more simple pandering.

    John Cena has created a legacy that will end up being revered as one of the greatest in sports entertainment. Now it is time to decide whether he wants his legacy to be that of the great worker who dominates all or a great performer who elevates the company to a higher level.