Some Love for John Cena

Is it me or is John Cena the (not-so?) under-the-radar best wrestler in the WWE right now? When is the last time the guy was put in a position to have a good match and failed to deliver? Seems like it’s literally been years. He’s having **** matches on a weekly basis on TV and in the PPVs, on top of being pretty self-less about making his opponents (mostly young up and coming talent) look as good as he can, despite whatever the booking may be.

I know that very recently most people were sick of everything about the guy, and had been for years. I used to hit the fast-forward anytime that music hit. Now, his segments are about the only thing I don’t skip through on RAW, even though his promos are still hard to stomach sometimes. Everything else is such re-tread, but the U.S. Open Challenge has been so good for RAW and for John Cena.

I know it’s hard to call it a "revitalization" of Cena, as he still hasn’t really changed much from a character perspective. But maybe it’s the "second wind" the character needed to sustain its viability for a while longer, and restore some much needed credibility from older fans.

​I think Kevin Owens is pretty clearly the best right now, but it’s nice that Cena has found his niche later in his career. This version of Cena isn’t drawing, however, which probably doesn’t bode well for the longevity of the character in that role. ​

The Godamn Cena Sales Metrics

'​In a word, yes.  On a recent radio show, Meltzer said that pretty much immediately after the first Cena loss to Owens, WWE got business metrics that indicated almost immediately that people were not down with the whole "John Cena doing clean jobs" deal and they made sure to put him over in match #2. '

I'm sure that I probably already know the answer to this, but surely the business was based for nearly a century on swallowing a short term loss for longer term gain? Is there not a chance that the financial losses would ultimately be recuperated, and then some, if they allowed the feud to really build and develop over a serious time frame?

It all seems a little myopic…

​Yeah, but that's the business now.  Look at how Vince panics just based on the wild swings of the ratings these days, like bringing Brock back a month early despite having no clear story to tell with him as a babyface.  And now he's already ruined that bit of drawing power based on this past Monday's show going into the tank as well.  ​Vince books for the shareholders and everyone else books for Vince.  

In Defense of John Cena Poopy Promos

Hey Scott,

Just a quick thought, Cena (or by extension WWE booking) gets a lot of heat for being very flippant about challenges and losing and not booking main events seriously. I agree for the most part.

HOWEVER, considering this is a weekly show we're talking about, wouldn't treating main events that way every time have eventually gotten monotonous?  To wit, HHH. No one could every accuse him of not treating every title match like it was Clash of the Titans and that led to the classic, "I, uhhhhhhh, am, uhhhhhhhh, the Game,uhhhh" promos that got insanely boring, in part, because, for the most part, everyone knew HHH was winning one way or the other.

Obviously, Cena has the same problem. We know how Cena vs. X, for the most part, is going to turn out. Argue about the merit of Super Cena at another time, but the writers know Vince wants Cena to win, so Cena wins, so everyone knows Cena's going to win. So why not keep the dial at 6 or 7 until it's time for 11? If given a Strawman choice between constant Super Serious and constant Super Cena, I imagine most people are likely to pick the later. In any event, Cena has the capability to turn on the heat when it's important. So why not keep things light until it's time to get heavy?


​The problem is that he never does get heavy.  And he's shrugged off some of the biggest potential money-drawing angles ever, like the Brock match in 2012 and the Nexus angle, just to name two.  It's great that he has the ability to pull out a money promo when he needs to, but he rarely does and it makes it all the more frustrating when you want to like him but just can't because his primary method of building up a big grudge match is to show badly photoshopped baby pictures or something equally silly.  ​

Where Does Cena Go?


With the talk about Cena's current position on the card/with the company, where does he go from here? Most of the guys who had runs at the top (Hogan, Bret, HBK, Austin and Rock) were gone within 5-10 years. Hogan obviously having the longest of those runs. It doesn't seem like John is planning on riding off into the sunset anytime soon.

– Anthony

Well, Billy, when a wrestler gets too old to continue any longer, Vince McMahon takes him to a very special farm where he can run around and bump with other wrestlers just like him.  And then you can visit him any time!  Just not this weekend, Grandpa is coming down from chasing the dragon.  Plus I think there's some sort of legal thing about kids and 100 feet of space or something.
​Sorry, what was the question again?​


Cena beating Flair’s record

Hey Scott,
If Cena is staying in the midcard and "I honestly don't think they see Cena at the top of the card any longer, and I think this midcard US title," does he beat Flair's world title record? Right now he has one less than Flair.

​a)  Right now he has about 6 or 7 less than Flair.  16 is only the kayfabed number that WWE history lists as official.  Even then you get into the grey area of whether the big gold belt World title counts that same as the WWE title.  
b)  I would be willing to bet that no one in WWE really cares that much anyway.  ​People online are about as worked up over this as they were for the possibility of Undertaker v. Sting, and it turned out that no one in the real world really wanted to run that match, either.  If #16 ever happens, it won't be a big deal, I can almost guarantee. 

Two ways you can go with Cena vs Owen’s II to set up a rubber match down the line

> Option 1: You do the Bret/Diesel finish from survivor series '95. Cena suckering him into a fluke win by the way of small package makes sense. He's the smart veteran who knows some tricks.
> Option 2: Owens loses to the stfu, but never taps.
> I feel either option does nothing to hurt Owens. Option 2 turns him babyface.  Probably not what they want.  I think some sort of non finish is more likely.

Cena v. Owens

Hey Scott, huge fan of your work. With Owens' clean win over the face of the company, where do you see Kevin going from here? With the rematch coming at Money In The Bank, I don't want a Cena win ruining his momentum. 

​Got a bunch of these e-mails about 5 minutes after the show.  And yeah, they've really booked themselves into a corner by throwing the rematch out there so quickly.  Ideally what you'd want is Owens running through a bunch of midcarders and doing the NXT title Open Challenge to mock Cena while he's injured and on the shelf until Summerslam and thus people will actually want to see the rematch.  Unfortunately what we're getting these days is a lot of desperation booking to compensate for ratings declining.  And another free month of the Network!  I'm pretty sure Owens will at least stay protected, however, and is now set for life as a top guy after that.  More importantly, they need to get the albatross of the NXT belt off him yesterday and give it to someone in developmental who needs it.  ​

Make Reigns the John Cena Champion

Hey Scott,

After watching Payback, I started thinking about Reigns. I know it's just a matter of time before he's champ because WWE are waiting for the crowds to accept him. But, if John Cena has taught us anything, it's that the Smark contingent will change it's mind about a wrestler. Once you're a heel/face, in their eyes, it doesn't matter how well you're work or how well you're booked, you'll always be their first impression of you. So by that logic, Reigns will never be "ready."

But, if all that is true, why the heck does Reigns even need the title? Why not just make whatever match he's in the main event, regardless of what's at stake. In other words, make him the John Cena Champion. You could even christen this new era by having him beat Cena in a main event, while Rollins fight whomever. As you said, the title is not the title. As an added benefit, if Smarks start seeing Reigns fighting, and winning, in the main event enough, they might even became resigned the fact that, ehhh, who cares. Might as well make him champion. At this point, that's the best you can hope for, I think, with Reigns.

​I suppose they could always build up to him finally being the guy to win the John Cena Open Challenge, too.  But yes, in general if you start treating a guy like a main eventer, eventually fans will accept him as a main eventer.  Sometimes you just have to do it like HHH in 2000 and completely sacrifice a guy to get there, but it’s generally do-able.  It’s still a problem that Reigns is getting title shots and not winning, but at least fan support for him is becoming a tad more organic now without Bryan around. ​

Saint Cena

5 True Stories That Will Restore Your Faith In Famous Pe…

Sometimes we need to take time to bask in all the wondrously selfless things famous people do for their fellow man.
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Yeah, he's not turning heel.

​And keep in mind that those 500 Make-A-Wish grants are just the ones he WANTS us to know about.  He does way, WAY, more charitable stuff that he keeps quiet on purpose.  Basically donating entire trucks full of toys to children's hospitals and personally delivering them.  Say what you will about the character, but the real person makes us all look like Hitler by comparison.  ​

Cena… Again

Sorry to beat the dead horse but I REALLY don't get this Cena thing.  So in London, they have him BEAT Barrett cleanly after taking and kicking out of Barrett's finisher.  Kill the crowd early by beating their hometown favorite, but also Barrett is "# 1 contender to the IC Title".  So by default Cena already beat D-Bry's top competition, a subtle nod that Cena is above Bryan.  What's the end game? Does Rusev win in back?  Or does Cena win and keep defeating mid carders until it's time to break Flair's record?

​Cena keeps defeating midcarders until the night after Extreme Rules, when Finn Balor answers the challenge and footstomps him to win the title.  And Barrett lost 18 times in a row leading up to Wrestlemania, no one cares at this point about his credibility anyway.  ​

Cena buries roster

> So let me get John Cena's new gimmick straight.  He "steps aside" from main eventing to basically go over Rusev clean and then week in week out beat the entire mid card.  He takes ALL their offense (including finishers), kicks out, is allowed to vary his moveset (like he needs to), and you guessedit, overcome the odds.   They wonder why the Bay Area cheered to soviet in a tank over this guy?
> I really don't see the problem.  He's in a midcard position having good matches with young guys.  More power to him.

Admiring Cena

I've been thinking, and isn't there some things to really admire about Cena right now. First off, here's a guy who was a main stay in the main event now holding a secondary title in order to try to bring prestige to it. Would an Austin or Rock ever go from battling for the world belt for years to suddenly being OK with being shunted down the card? If the story about Trips wanting to bring back the world title in 2002 because he didn't want the IC belt then we know he wouldn't. 

Then I'm thinking about how he could bring new life to his career and guarantee himself into being a  fixture all over again in the main event with a heel turn, yet he doesn't. People will say selfish reasons, but if he was really selfish wouldn't it make more sense for him to do a turn?

​Oh, I would bet money that someone's gonna get injured by Summerslam and Cena is going to end up with that belt around his jorts again this year and he's well aware, so let's not write him off into the sunset just yet. But certainly his refusal to do a heel turn because he doesn't want to disappoint all the kids is a pretty noble goal on his part and to be commended.  ​

Cena WAS planned to turn heel in 2011

Normally I would post this somewhere in the BoD comments (HUSS!), but I figured it might warrant it's own post. Here's something for everyone who wants Cana to ever turn heel: Chris Hero just dropped on Rosenberg & The Masked Man's 'Cheap Heat' podcast that they actually had a plan to turn him heel after Wrestlemania in 2011, after the 1st Rock match was announced (and probably specifically for that reason). Cena spent $5,000 of his own money on new gear before being told they changed their minds & he said they decided he would "officially never turn heel."

Now whether that still stands after his merch numbers start to fall (if they ever do), who knows. But for all the theorists, there was at least an official plan at some point in the fairly recent past.
​I would be somewhat dubious towards the veracity of that information.  But it's certainly been discussed before, no doubt.  ​

Cena vs. NXT?

Hey Scott,

I'm kind of tired of all the Roman Reigns shit, so let's talk about NXT, and more importantly, NXT being name-dropped on Raw in a Cena promo. And it wasn't Cena being a corporate shill either, he said lines to the effect of "NXT is Triple H's vision of the future, and so every guy in NXT is being trained to replace me." It's a line that was super tacked-on and basically completely irrelevant to the rest of the promo, so do you think that there's something deeper going on?

Maybe it's Cena's earnest attempt to get over the NXT guys as threats to Cena's position and future stars? 

Do you think this is Cena trying to patch together WWE's freaky continuity and explain why Triple H is babyface-ish on NXT and an ultra-heel on Raw and maybe establish that Rollins was the chosen one from the beginning or something like that? 

Is he being a puppet for Vince or Dunn in the bizarre WWE civil war by attempting to turn every NXT guy heel?

Or is attempting to analyze John Cena promos a waste of everybody's time and effort?

I just thought we could get some good conspiracy theories going on, and maybe get people's hopes up about The Nexus 5.0 or something.

​Analyzing a Cena promo is a waste of everyone's time. Often literally, as they're just thrown out there to use up part of the three hours.  That being said, the civil war angle is far more interesting as a story than anything else they've dreamed up in the past few years.  Crazy out of touch old man Vince and his chosen one Roman Reigns opposed by HHH and the NXT guys and forced to team up with hated enemy Daniel Bryan, fighting for the soul of the WWE?  That's compelling TV.  The fact that they don't ​even see the storyline they're creating with their own stupidity makes them even more stupid.

Title chain: lesnar-> cena-> Rollins-> reigns

Hi Scott –
Longtime reader, bla bla. There seems to be a groundswell lately – and rightly so – to just get the belt off lesnar at the rumble and have cena put RR over at mania.  That's fine, but doesn't this make even more sense: cena beats Brock in a war, Rollins finally cashes and either with Brock's help, or because cena is so worn down, takes it from cena. Now you have a ready-made feud from the shield breakup (why would cena have an issue with RR in storyline terms?), and we get the face going over the cowardly heel and taking revenge for the "sellout" at mania. Too logical?

​I just feel like Reigns winning the belt from Rollins doesn't do anything for him.  Lesnar is at least a top level star, as is Cena, and either one of those can kickstart the push.  Changing the title three times in a two month span is counterproductive as well.  
Really, the best thing would have been not putting the belt on Lesnar in the first place and letting Rollins cash in on Cena at Summerslam so that he could have been champion during this whole terrible dead zone from Sep-Jan.  ​Lesnar could have destroyed Cena but decked the ref to get DQ'd, Rollins pins the corpse of Cena to win the title, faces chase him from now until Rumble when Cena gets his title back.  

John Cena: Zero F***s Given?

After years of the same old boring storylines with the same old boring Cena character (makes Hogan's run look brief and fresh), it's obvious to most diehards that something needs to change.  However, most of those same diehards and other smarky style fans still give a strong live reaction whenever Cena appears, even if it is a "John Cena Sucks" sing-a-long or loud booing.  Problem with that behavior is that it communicates to Vince that, good or bad, it is still a strong reaction and Cena's consistent merch sales with that means more and more Super John.

If people really want true change, I propose a "meh" movement for Cena reactions where everyone fights the urge to boo and just sit down and "Don't give a F***" whenever he appears.  Silence is a much more powerful communication tool than booing in the carnival style wrestling world anyway.  (Then again, they may just overdub the crowd regardless to justify anything Cena related).

Just a Christmas wish from a bored fan who's best wrestling experience this month was watching CM Punk on Taking Dead.
​Yeah, but Cena's reactions are the least of his indicators.  He sells merchandise and is by far the biggest house show draw they have, so until either one of those changes you're out of luck.  In fact, your best bet is actually to cheer even harder for Roman Reigns when he comes back, because then that will instantly convince Vince that Reigns is the new top guy and Cena will get put out to pasture due to Vince's obsession with the newest and youngest.  ​

Cena = worst partner ever?

I read the Cageside review and I'm glad I wasn't alone wondering where the heck Super-Cena: defender of all that is true and good was while Dolph got beaten up by 4 guys and screwed out of his title, or when Sheamus was put through a table, or Show choked out.  Does Vince realize how unlikable their child friendly star appears to be to anyone over 12?   Is there a worse message to send the so called PG fan base than "sit around and watch your friends get beat up, don't worry they'll still defend your honor".  Not too mention, Cena is likely going over strong for the Brock-push, so literally the ENTIRE roster, face and heel will be buried by Cena's booking.  His team looks stupid and clueless for risking their jobs for a selfish jerkwad, and the authority will be jobbers for him.  He is the real life equivalent of the high school jock and NO ONE likes the high school jock!   They should just pair Nikki with him already
​Not to mention that now everyone who did stand up with him is risking their job (in storyline) if they lose.  And while we know Cena would get hired back somehow the night after, do you really think anyone is going to stick their neck out to get Erick Rowan his job back?  
This is what happens when they lose all their top stars and have never bothered to make new ones.  All Cena, All The Time! ​

John Cena on Howard Stern talking sex with fans and orgies…

Hi Scott,

I came across this interview on youtube of Howard Stern interviewing John Cena and was quite surprised. Being a guy that pushes the whole PG thing I was shocked to come across this interview where John Cena is open about sex with groupies. I'm only 6 minutes in to the interview so far… I wander what Vince thinks of this? Anyway thought it would be a really interesting discussion topic for the blog

​That was a pretty old interview, wasn't it?  But yeah, John is certainly not necessarily the goody-two-shoes superhero he portrays on TV.  But what human being is?  ​

No Cena = ratings?

Raw ratings went up this week, and Cena was not on the show.  Instead they focused on Orton/Rollins, Ambrose/Wyatt, and god help me, the two midcard titles.  The match quality and pacing seemed better.  Is there something to keeping Cena and his stale act off the occasional episode?

Sent from my iPhone

Nope.  Clearly what happened was that people were expecting Cena to show up and kept tuning in while waiting for whatever wacky exploits he would get up to next.  Plus the show was heavily advertised around him picking his team, if you're looking for legitimate and not just snarky made up reasons.