Maybe it’s the weather. That’s usually a good excuse. It could also be stress at work or that I just need to get more sleep. For whatever reason, I’m irritable lately. I find myself getting easily annoyed at things that’s shouldn’t bother me. Actually, it is really not several things bugging me, but only one thing: John Cena. I am not upset with the Cena himself, but the circumstances surrounding him, particularly the fans’ perception of him. Over the past few years people have been talking about how he should turn heel or how he sucks. For whatever reason there are so many people who have a bad taste in their mouth when they say the guy’s name. The topic of the Cena’s mixed crowd reaction was brought up in a segment on Raw this past Monday. For those who didn’t see it, Roddy Piper returned and did a Piper’s Pit interview with Cena. Piper proceeded to try lighting a fire under Cena by bringing up the crowd’s lack of respect for him. For someone who is supposed to be the top guy in the industry, Piper thought Cena ought to hold the fans accountable for their actions. Cena was able to brush it off and walk away. Still, it got fans talking once again that Cena might be doing a heel turn soon. This may sound mean, but I am dumbfounded as to why any wrestling fan thinks this should happen. As wrestling fans, we all share a common bond, but the attitude of some of my fellow fans frustrates me when they bring up Cena’s immediate need to turn heel.
For those of you who are Wrestleview VIP members, you have heard the Wrestleview staff discuss this topic in depth and I certainly do not want to steal their arguments, nor regurgitate what they have said. I do want to ask two questions to those out there whom believe Cena should turn heel:
1. Why should John Cena turn heel?
2. If John Cena turns heel, then what?
Let’s start with getting him to a heel persona. What in his character would warrant him turning heel? His character is not at any stage where a heel turn is even close to happening. Also, it’s not like the company has any other baby face who can step into that role. I know what some of you are thinking. What about CM Punk? Surely he could step into hat role, right? Wrong. I enjoy Punk as much as anyone else, but his character works only because John Cena exists. Without Cena as the centerpiece of the roster, Punk doesn’t fit in with his current direction. The course Punk has taken in the last several months has been in reaction to Cena. He is not so much an alternative to Cena, but a contrasting character who is a finger of the WWE body, in which John Cena serves as the heart.
Another reason people want him to turn is because he sucks. Seriously, if you ask someone why they don’t like Cena, they say he sucks. They don’t like him so he should just turn heel. So does he suck because people don’t like him, or do people not like him because he sucks? Either way, he doesn’t suck. John Cena has been the top guy in WWE longer than anyone since Hulk Hogan. Bret Hart was the guy for maybe five years. Steve Austin was the top act for about five years as well, but was out for a year with an injury, and also had a nine-month absence when he left the company in June of 2002. Shawn Michaels and The Rock had their time in the sun when Hart and Austin weren’t around or were away. After Brock Lesnar didn’t quite pan out, WWE put its faith in Triple H until they could find the next guy. John Cena was the one who came down the pipe. He has now been wrestling’s top star for nearly seven years, and he is still fairly young. There is a lot of gas left in his tank. He also knows how to have a good match. There’s also the backstage factor. How many times have fans been upset with tops guys because they feel like they are backstage politicians? Hogan, Warrior, Hart, Michaels, Nash, Austin and Triple H have all been on the list. Cena never once has. You don’t go to a wrestling website and read a headline about how Cena refuses to work with a guy or never puts anyone over. He is a team player. So he has youth, skill and lack of douchebagness on his side. What else could we ask for in a top guy?
Cena is in a tough spot. We are in a PG Era where fans long for the days of old. Steve Austin and The Rock used to rule the wrestling world, and now, years later, John Cena is the guy transitioning the company to a different era. He is in a tough spot, but nobody else could handle it better than him. Cena will have made it easier for when it is his time to step down and let the next king take his throne.
So now to the “then what” part of the heel turn. If he turned heel, does that mean that fans would like him? That seems like an oxymoron. Why would I like a guy more if he turned his back on me and became a villain? Fans are not going to start cheering him if he turns heel. Merchandise will not go through the roof if he becomes a bad guy. Once he is on that side he has thrown off the balance of the entire roster and things would once again need to be restructured. For those who think he sucks, a heel persona doesn’t make him not suck. It just makes him a heel.
If the time ever comes that Cena does take a turn for the heel ranks of WWE, it will be an amazing transformation to watch. However, it will not make him better. Instead it will demonstrate talent he already has in how he pulls it off. Cena is such a unique talent. The dynamic he has with the crowd is so amazing. His character allows for people to both love and hate him. Those who hate him do so because they feel his character doesn’t have an edge to it like Rock and Austin did. Going back to the strange way of thinking I mentioned above, it is an oxymoron to think a wrestler is more likable for becoming a villain. Yet the oxymoron exists today in how Cena gets is edge. The people who boo Cena, the ones who feel he isn’t edgy enough; they give Cena his edge every time he steps out onto that stage.