I was watching SummerSlam 1990 tonight, and was struck with a minor epiphany. When I saw this show as a first run ppv, I was 12 years old, and in my memory it was the awesomest show in the history of awesome things happening in awesome town. Babyfaces reigned supreme in all the high profile matches (save Dusty v. Macho) and two titles went to two sets of righteous face champions.
Watching it at a thirty-something, this show is freaking terrible, and I had no idea how deep the horribleness went as a kid. Kerry Von Erich is so messed up in his promo, I’m surprised he didn’t tell Mr. Perfect the blackjack dealer that he had twenty-two. The matches are largely junk, and even the best match on the card (Harts v. Demos) is so overbooked at the end that the whole situation is laughable.
Which got my brain turned in the direction of John Cena. Contrary to most of my fellow adult male wrestling fans, I don’t think that "Cena sucks", and I certainly don’t hold to the opinion that Johnny "can’t wrestle". CM Punk hasn’t been going out and having 4 star matches with the cliched broomstick. Ditto Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle. And if you need conclusive proof, it was John Cena who carried The Great Khali to watchable matches. Not "good", but watchable. And while that may seem like a backhanded compliment, consider this: In spite of all his accomplishments and his legacy, The Undertaker could never carry Giant Gonzales to a "watchable" match with a gun to his head. Or Khali for that matter.
So to my point: Much as I despair that my twelve year old self thought a show like SummerSlam 1990 was the greatest thing this side of WrestleMania, what do you think the current generation of 12 year olds will think of their Cena fandom twenty years from now? Will they stand by the guy who carried the company during a down period, and was much better in the ring than he got credit for? Or will they see the horrible writing of the character, the horrible delivery of that writing, and hang their heads in collective shame, just like I did tonight when I realized my parents paid good money so I could watch Jim Duggan and Nikolai Volkoff v. The Orient Express?
Well Summerslam 90 is kind of a shit show overall, so I don’t know that it’s particularly fair to judge Cena having high-level **** matches against it. I mean, I was only 15 for that show and even I knew that Duggan match was terrible. I think, much like Hogan, Cena fans will stick with him until ironic detachment kicks in and the merchandise stops selling, and then Cena will revive his career with a monster heel turn where he tells all the kids to shove it up their ass and forms the New New World Order with the corpses of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. It’ll draw MILLIONS.