Week after week, John Cena walks into the WWE arena with a mixed crowd reaction. The kids cheer him while the adults boo him. The fact of that matter is that nothing is going to change this. WWE do not want to turn him heel, so the kids will always love him and the older fans will always hate him.
WWE may be aimed at kids, but 74 percent of WWE’s audience are over 21. So, if the older fans are unable to like Cena, does not it seem like his character is kind of a defeated disappointment?
Cena debuted on SmackDown on June 27th, 2002, as a young ruthless rookie trying to make his way up the roster. He had guts and potential. He eventually went on to have a rapper gimmick and released his own album. He was the sort of heel you loved to hate. However, that soon changed when he became the kid’s Superman.
As soon as Cena’s character changed and became who he is now, the older fans lost interest and did not hesitate to hide their disdain whenever he entered the ring. Despite WWE’s attempts, the older fans have never been able to connect with Cena’s character. For WWE to have one of their main wrestlers be incapable of connecting with the majority of its older fans, you cannot help but think they are missing something.
Has WWE lost touch with what its older fans want? I would not go as far to say that WWE does not know what the older fans want, because CM Punk is WWE Champion right now. But I think when it comes to Cena, he makes the children happy and his merchandise sells.
Despite all of this, I still think WWE has missed something with Cena. This became more than obvious when The Rock returned to the WWE. The Rock, whether a heel or face, always connected with the audience (excluding when he initially joined WWE and fans use to chant “Die, Rocky, Die!”; but this again is another example of WWE’s creative team not using a wrestler correctly.)
To the older fans, The Rock is the whole package and represents a generation and an era in WWE that they love—their generation. Whereas Cena will always represent the generation that they despise and the kids love. It’s not that Cena is incapable of connecting with the older fans, since his rapper gimmick went down really well with the older fans. But it’s just the WWE do not want his current character to connect with them, they would rather keep the kids happy and their merchandise sells up.
So to some of the older fans, Cena’s character may always be a disappointment and represent an era in WWE that they despise. But to WWE, they see his character as a success and achieving what they had set out to do—make the kids happy and sell merchandise.