John Cena is without a doubt the most dividing force in wrestling. Those who don’t acknowledge him as a force are just the flat out haters. Five moves of doom and all of that stuff might be valid but the guy has positioned himself to be the number one guy in the game. His merchandise sales and his overall mainstream appeal can not be denied. This came from Cena’s tireless work and effort that is truly legitimate.
So why does everyone hate him so much really? Well a lot of reasons but at the core of it he is a sell-out to his former persona in the WWE. He is that rapper that has stopped rapping and started making television and movies instead of doing what we loved about him to begin with.
The John Cena persona of the Doctor of Thug-o-Nomics was against the system and the John Cena of today is the system. In a C.M Punk Promo he summed it up best when he said “John you have become the thing you hate, you’re….The New York Yankees and he (Vince) is Steinbrenner and your Jeter.” That is it right there in a nutshell. We like the John Cena that smacked Stephanie McMahon on the back side and made double meaning expressions that flew over the kids heads but that we all got.
John Cena now has become the corporate face of the WWE in real terms not in some storyline. He appeals to the younger fans with a message that has been modernized for the train, say your prayers and eat your Hulk Hogan vitamins. Hustle, Loyalty and Respect has been the new mantra for this generation.
Cena claims to live that credo not just in the ring but out of it. Well I have to take issue with if that is actually true. John Cena hustles when he feels like it in a match with a guy that pushes him to do so. Like in the recent match with Antonio Cesaro he busts his butt. At Money in the Bank with Punk and Summerslam with Bryan all the same effort. If he isn’t pushed it is those 5 moves of doom and the effort level is very low.
Loyalty he has to the people that have stayed loyal to him. What about the people like me that use to be loyal to the old John Cena character? No love for us he makes fun of us with his corny attempt at humour, like his cute little heel turn joke where he literally turned his foot in a promo on Raw.
As for respect, he respects the people he works for. He claims to champion the people’s right to express their views. What he fails to realize is that expression and his own lack of being over with the fan base is the key problem with what is wrong with the WWE.
If you are positioned as the top baby face of the company and are met with a variety of reactions from town to town that is not what is best for business to use the party line from WWE storylines. It makes the entire system flawed from the top to the bottom. If you don’t have an over baby face than your top heel can’t be your top heel it is that simple. The fans that hate Cena will rally behind that person. What’s worse is if they hate him too (Randy Orton this means you) than they (Fans) will just go into business for themselves as the baby faces.
This trickles on down the card and leads to many characters development being altered by the lack of consistency at the top. So when people say that John Cena is the problem with wrestling right now they are right. They may not truly understand why they are right as laid out here but they are none the less.
The thing that is best for Business is to turn Cena into what he actually is a guy that is out for himself to keep his spot at the top of the food chain. We have moved past the days where John Cena can’t be used to promote the company as bad guy. In fact in the wrestling world it enhances his heal persona. No one likes a kiss ass and John Cena comes off as that without trying.
Stone Cold Steve Austin took some heat for defending Cena after having him on for a podcast. Saying how he respects all that Cena has done and he can relate and know how hard that is to do. Steve is right I am never going to know what it’s like to be him or John Cena and the pressure that comes with being the face of that company.
What Steve fails to realize or acknowledge is he was always kept cool on T.V in the wrestling storyline and still was able to do all the media and promotion in the mainstream with not coming off as a corporate kiss ass. His feud with Vince McMahon and his anti-authority character was the reason. John Cena is shoved down are throats and they desperately try to sell what a wonderful guy he is. He can grant a million wishes to sick and dying children but it isn’t going to sell him to the wrestling audience. In fact it makes them resent him all the more. Not that wrestling fans are against kids getting a dying wish more that you are going out of your way to promote it. John Cena is not the first guy to do wonderful things for people with his WWE Stardom. They all have from Hogan to Savage to Austin. But just like in the world I have spent 6 years in when you get told that the NBA Cares after awhile you see it for what it is which is while great acts that help people when you broadcast it than it becomes positive PR.
WWE has always tried to do as much as they can in this regard as a way to validate themselves as good corporate citizens in the main stream world. The work they have done with BE a Star Campaign is tremendous and should be applauded. For the mainstream audience it becomes more of a joke when they contrast it with the on screen and behind the scenes realities of wrestling. Still it is a good thing and deep down we all know that. Tying these things so tightly to just one top guy is not the way to do it though. NBA isn’t using just Lebron James to show you the NBA Cares they use everyone.
So as much as John Cena thinks he gets it I am not sure he neither does nor does the company that is so obsessed with making us like him.