Cena Most Titles?

Scott,
I am curious as to your thoughts about John Cena eclipsing Ric Flair for most World Title reigns.  With Triple H calling most of the shots, in addition to H's history with the Nature Bo, not to mention all of the heat the WWE would get for booking it to happen, but I wanted your insight into the matter.

Thank you.

As I've noted before, guys basically get titles out of a vending machine these days.  "Winning" 13 or 15 or 20 titles today means nothing, literally.  Considering one of HHH's World titles was literally handed to him on TV, that shows you the kind of prestige involved now.  

Cena For HOF

Quoting Mike Jenkinson on the insufferable F4W board…

Of these guys:
I’d vote for Cena on the grounds that through him, the WWE innovated an entirely new merchandise stream of replica championship belts and the actual title belt itself became a revenue stream for the company. Ever since then, the WWE has designed titles as saleable items rather than “mere” championships. A lot of people hate him for the Spinner belt (and I really dislike the design) but it was a hugely successful part of Cena’s persona and character.
 

That is an awesome argument for his inclusion in the WON Hall of Fame, actually.  Not many people can actually claim to have invented an entirely NEW way to make money for the company, which is what Cena did.  Although he’s already something like the top 20 money draw of all time, including headlining two of the biggest money drawing shows in history, so I’ll be pretty gobsmacked if he doesn’t go into the Hall on the first try.  Here’s the complete list of nominees for this year, by the way, in case anyone wants to discuss further.  Makes me wonder yet again how the HELL isn’t Bill Apter in there yet?    HISTORICAL PERFORMERS
Gene & Ole Anderson
The Masked Assassins (Jody Hamilton & Tom Renesto)
Red Bastien
June Byers
Pepper Gomez
Dick Hutton
Hans Schmidt
Kinji Shibuya
Wilbur Snyder
Chief Jay Strongbow
John Tolos
Enrique Torres
Kurt & Karl Von Brauner w/Saul Weingeroff
Tim “Mr. Wrestling” Woods
MODERN PERFORMERS
Batista
John Cena
Edge
Jeff Hardy
Owen Hart
Curt Hennig
Kane
Ivan Koloff
Brock Lesnar
Fabulous Moolah
Pedro Morales
Dick Murdoch
Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)
Buddy Rose
Sgt. Slaughter
Jimmy Snuka
Sting
Mr. Wrestling II
WRESTLING IN JAPAN
George Gordienko
Gran Hamada
Volk Han
Masahiko Kimura
Seiji Sakaguchi
Kensuke Sasaki
Mike & Ben Sharpe
Kiyoshi Tamura
Hiroshi Tanahashi
WRESTLING IN MEXICO
Perro Aguayo Jr.
Atlantis
Cien Caras
Karloff Lagarde
Blue Panther
L.A. Park
Huracan Ramirez
Vampiro
Villano III
Dr. Wagner Jr.
Dr. Wagner Sr.
WRESTLING IN EUROPE
Jim Breaks
Big Daddy
Horst Hoffman
Marty Jones
Billy Joyce
Mick McManus
Kendo Nagasaki
Jackie Pallo
Rollerball Mark Rocco
Johnny Saint
WRESTLING IN AUSTRALIA/PACIFIC/PUERTO RICO
Spyros Arion
Johnny Barend
Carlos Colon
Domenic DeNucci
Killer Karl Kox
Mark Lewin
Mario Milano
NON-WRESTLERS
Lou Albano
Bill Apter
Jim Crockett Jr.
Gary Hart
Jerry Jarrett
Gorilla Monsoon
Dr. Alfonso Morales
Don Owen
Jesse Ventura

Speaking of Cena…

What exactly was the storyline purpose of Cena winning the briefcase and failing?  He’s just getting another shot at Summerslam anyway so why didn’t they give the MITB to someone who could have used it?  Plus they haven’t even hardly mentioned that Cena cashed in and failed!   It’s all very weird to me.

Cena heel turn


Someone in the comments referenced how Cena never changes his matches or the way he performs due to the jeers he often receives.  My response is why would he, or the WWE, ever allow that to happen??
Hundreds of thousands of kids that walk into arenas forces their parents to drop $50 at least on Cena gear.  Not to mention PPV buys, action figures, DVDs, etc. and the fact that he has new gear at least once a year.  WWE knows that the kids are where the marketing is, so Cena is going to play smiling babyface all the time because those kids are always going to be there.  It's kind of redundant and pointless to scream "turn Cena heel" when its stupid to do so and the reason why is pretty obvious.  The only people who would jump for joy at that are people who don't buy WWE stuff and find the PPVs for free on the internet.
My question though, or my question of your opinion, is this: why do we, the smart/internet fans, clamor for Cena to change so much?  Think about it, Hogan did the same schtick for 12 years and made millions and millions of dollars for himself and a lot of other people.  Yet, you didn't have the same reactions back then.  Is it that Cena is on TV every week, sometimes more often than that, whereas Hogan was only on TV once every couple of months?  Or is it the influence that the internet has on the fanbase?  Hogan didn't have to deal with people checking the dirtsheets multiple times a day and once that started, the fans turned on him pretty quickly.  'Net fans are more prevalent in most arenas than net fans want to think.  The IWC isn't as small and niche as it was ten years ago. 


Gah, please don't say "IWC" on this site.  

Anyway, yes, the difference in reaction is definitely that Hogan wasn't on TV every week plus PPV.  Hogan was a special attraction who you generally had to pay money to see, and no more than once a month at that.  
However, Hogan may have done "the same shtick" for 12 years, but by 91 it was sure as hell not getting the same kind of reaction it did in 88.  And Hogan had most of 1990 off, so there was a long period where we had a break from him.  By the end of 95 Hogan was going to destroy his own career if he didn't change somehow.  Cena's been on top, in the same position and doing the same act, for more than 8 years now!  And the kids who were fans of his in 2005 aren't getting older and finding new people to cheer, because in fact the audience is stagnating or shrinking and they're not exactly adding new people to replace those lost fans.  And on the merch front, my only counter to that is "New World Order."  

Cena Divorce finalized

http://www.tmz.com/2012/07/18/john-cena-divorce-resolution/Guess we won’t get a messy divorce to scar Cena’s public image and force the WWE to chance Cena’s character.
Though the divorce settlement is apparently sealed, I would assume Cena’s lawyers (with the WWE nagging Cena to make it go away) caved like Superman on laundry day? IE gave her a number above whatever the pre-nup said she would get and told her to take it or leave it and to their luck, she took it?

———————
He was probably outnumbered in the courtroom and overcame the odds.

Top 50 John Cena Matches

WWE.com posted what they believe to be the Top 50 matches of John’s career.

I’m a big Cena fan, and think he’s Ric Flair-esq in his ability to get a great match out of almost anyone. That said, their list is a bitch skewed. vs Triple H in the Top 10? No sir. vs JBL at Judgment Day at 20? That one is easily Top 3. The Unforgiven bout is decent, but it’s ****1/2 at best. This list doesn’t even have John’s match against Jericho at Survivor Series, it’s fantastic. I also think the bout against Lesnar at Extreme Rules is very over-rated. Plus, I don’t even know what the Bragging Rights match with Orton is. I’ll assume it’s their Iron Man. Other than those gripes, the Top 10 does have some excellent choices.

Props to whom ever wrote out the matches, because WWE.com has it listed 1 by 1. I got this in an email, so. If anyone knows the original source, feel free to hollar. Unless it’s cracked. Then I did it.

50. John Cena vs. JBL: WrestleMania 21
49. John Cena, Hulk Hogan & Shawn Michaels vs. Christian, Tomko & Chris Jericho: Raw (June 27, 2005)
48. John Cena vs. The Great Khali: Judgment Day 2007
47. John Cena vs. Booker T: SummerSlam 2004
46. John Cena & The Rock vs. The Miz & R-Truth: Survivor Series 2011
45. John Cena vs. Kurt Angle: No Mercy 2003
44. WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Elimination Chamber 2011
43. John Cena vs. The Miz vs. John Morrison: Extreme Rules 2011
42. John Cena vs. Kane: Elimination Chamber 2012
41. Team WWE vs. The Nexus: Summerslam 2010
40. John Cena vs Triple H vs. Edge: Backlash 2006
39. John Cena vs. Randy Orton: Summerslam 2007
38. John Cena vs. Chris Jericho: Raw (Aug. 22, 2005)
37. John Cena, The Undertaker & DX vs. CM Punk & Legacy: Smackdown (Oct. 2, 2009)
36. John Cena vs. Wade Barrett WWE TLC 2010
35. John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar: Backlash 2003
34. John Cena vs. The Undertaker: Vengeance 2003
33. John Cena vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Edge: Raw (July 3, 2006)
32. WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match: New Year’s Revolution 2006
31. John Cena vs. Edge vs. Big Show: The 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania
30. John Cena vs. Triple H: Raw (Oct. 19, 2009)
29. John Cena vs. Eddie Guerrero SmackDown (Sept. 11, 2003)
28. John Cena & The Undertaker vs. DX vs. Jeri-Show: Raw (Nov. 16, 2009)
27. John Cena vs Batista: Extreme Rules 2010
26. John Cena vs. Sabu: WWE vs. ECW Head to Head (June 7, 2006)
25. John Cena vs. Edge: Backlash 2009
24. John Cena vs. Randy Orton Breaking Point 2009
23. John Cena vs. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: WrestleMania 28
22. John Cena vs. Triple H: Night of Champions 2008
21. John Cena vs. Kurt Angle: No Way Out 2005
20. John Cena vs. JBL: Judgment Day 2005
19. 2008 Royal Rumble Match
18. John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels: Survivor Series 2009
17. John Cena vs. The Undertaker: Smackdown (June 24, 2004)
16. John Cena vs. Big Show: WrestleMania XX
15. John Cena vs. Rob Van Dam: ECW One Night Stand 2006
14. John Cena vs. Chris Jericho: SummerSlam 2005
13. John Cena vs. Booker T: No Mercy 2004
12. John Cena vs. Rey Mysterio: RAW (July 25, 2011)
11. WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match: Elimination Chamber 2010
10. John Cena vs. Kurt Angle: SmackDown (June 27, 2002)
9. John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels: WrestleMania 23
8. John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar Extreme Rules 2012
7. John Cena vs. Batista: Wrestlemania XXVI
6. John Cena vs. Umaga: Royal Rumble 2007
5. John Cena vs. CM Punk: Money in the Bank 2011
4. John Cena vs. Triple H: WrestleMania 22
3. John Cena vs. Randy Orton: Bragging Rights 2009
2. John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels: RAW (April 23, 2007)
1. John Cena vs. Edge: Unforgiven 2006

Cena – Make A Wish

No one ever said Cena wasn't an awesome guy, he's just an incredibly stale character who's booked like Superman.  

Making Cena interesting

Scott-
Love your work blah-blah-blah. Anyway…
My wife is a huge John Cena fan.   I fall under the spell of Punk, Bryan and Beth Phoenix of the world. When Cena comes on these days I wince. As a result my wife asked how I would make Cena interesting again without changing the core character.
Challenge accepted.


John Cena is not going to turn heel. No matter who much the IWC, perhaps Cena himself, and the fans who boo him each and every week would like it – he is the cash cow that keeps giving.
The question is how can the WWE get it so he is, I daresay, more tolerable to anyone over the age of 13. Well, here are a few ideas.
1. Be vulnerable. Stop burying people – ADR, Big Show and Miz all were victims of Cena not letting them be a legitimate threat. He couldn’t even sell ADR as being rich, never mind a worthy opponent. If Cena is going to be hero then the hero must seem threatened – not overcome numerical odds but actually be threatened. The only people who have threatened Cena are Brock and CM Punk. Even The Rock wasn’t that big a threat since it was known Duane was going back to Hollywood. Speaking of Duane.

The vulnerability is HUGE.  One of the reasons that Rock got over so big as a babyface back in 99 and 2000 is that the odds were stacked against him and he occasionally got the shit kicked out of him and lost.  Yeah, he won the Rumble in 2000, but it was taken away from him and then he got screwed over against Big Show and then at Wrestlemania, before finally having his big triumph against HHH at Backlash.  For a while, you were actually left wondering if they were ever going to give him the big win.  Not with Cena.  

2. Emotional investment. Let it get personal. What was interesting with The Rock was everything did get personal. We knew Cena was staying, that the legacy mattered, and low-and-behold interesting confrontations abound. Kane was the opposite. Kane tried to get Cena to embrace the hate or admit getting booed bothered him. Cena didn’t react. Ever. If Cena doesn’t get emotionally attached then why should I?

The emotional detachment is fine, but then they need to stop booking him in storylines where he has to show emotion.  World title feuds are fine, because it’s all business and all about the money, but ironic detached Cena cracking jokes is surefire death for any other type of feud.  

3. Be the better man. Lose. Be wrong. Admit you messed up. Big Show made a great point about Cena just laughing it up when Big Show got fired. Cena replies that Big Show would have been hired back and somehow is segues into Big Show being a sell out Um, what? If Cena admits he was wrong then he comes off as a better role model and is a lot more sympathetic when the Big Show decks him anyway, well at least it is interesting. See: Ryder, Zach for additional examples.

See, the Ryder thing had such potential to freshen up Cena by letting him do tag matches with Zach on top and give him the rub, then he could be UPSET that someone was going after his partner, then his partner could turn on him or a million different things, and they just dropped them all.  And the better man thing is something that bugs me about Sheamus, too.  Like when he bumped into Big Johnny and had to be forced into a fake apology on Smackdown — just APOLOGIZE.  You’re the fucking GOOD GUY.  Just say “Sorry, didn’t mean to bump into you” and then if Ace escalates from there, HE’S the one who looks like a jackass, not Sheamus.  

Sorry, got sidetracked there.  

4. Raise the stakes. Go after the belt. There is a weird belief that titles are meaningless. Cena’s most brilliant feud was with Punk over the WWE belt yet he hasn’t challenged since. Even The Rock mentioned challenging for the belt at Wrestlemania. Do others need the belt more? No. A title holding John Cena could elevate more people if the challenges are done in such a manner where Cena cares and there is the possibility that losing has consequences. It has built in drama since there is a prize at stake.

I’ve said before and I’ll continue saying:  If Cena is the top guy, he should be the champion.  Either the WWE title or the World title, whichever one, but he needs a belt because the John Cena Championship of the World is clearly more important than either physical belt right now and they need to change that.  Clearly Punk is the #2 guy, so he should have the #2 belt for his midcard feuds.  I’m not saying that to trash Punk (although he is a pretty huge ratings liability at this point), but having the big belt on a guy they won’t push as the top guy is doing no favors for that title.  Cena should chase the belt for a few PPVs while putting over how much it means to him, win it at Summerslam in the big feelgood moment, and Brock can DESTROY him to take it away and give him another prize to chase. 

Let us not say this is all John Cena. There are writers and Vince McMahon, yet Cena is so close to sometimes being a character people could love instead of being someone where I  wince when I hear his music play.

Indeed.  But then I feel the same way about Kane.

The John Cena Show

Scott,
JR recently told a bunch of disillusioned fans that the titles don't mean anything. This was nothing people who regularly pay attention to WWE did not know already, but it had me wondering just what, exactly, is supposed to be the thing (or things) we root for? I know the company has tried to distance itself from the rassling reputation and they want it to be seen as a loose collection of soap opera, comedy and competition elements, but wouldn't you agree that this kind of format lends itself to horrible, disjointed television? None of the regulars outside of John Cena ever have a distinct purpose. They just randomly float in and out of segments, have unmemorable feuds then move on to the next random guy. Nothing of consequence ever happens so it's no different than "Saved by the Bell" without the campy and unintentional humor.
Maybe I'm over thinking it and maybe I'm wrong, too, but since I started watching regularly again last summer, it just feels like there's no focus and nothing for people to get behind. Well, except for John Cena.
Thanks.

I was having that exact same internal monologue the other day, my friend.  Like, let's say you're a fan of Randy Orton.  What did he get out of his feud with Kane aside from a few wins and a few losses?  Nothing, he just moves onto a thrown-together World title match and then BAM, gets attacked by Jericho because it's their time to be programmed together.  Or why would I want to get behind Brodus Clay at this point, when it's been, what, 4 months now and he's still doing the exact same match and going nowhere with it?  It used to be that fans would jump on that kind of bandwagon early and get rewarded for it ala Rikishi, but now the guy's literally become something to fill time in between segments on PPV.  Why should I care if the tag champs are Kofi/Bourne, Kofi/Truth, Truth/Miz, Miz/Morrison, or Swagger/Ziggler?  They're all the same person mixed up in the midcard interchangeably at this point anyway.
It's a bad, bad time to be a fan in a lot of ways.  

Cena v Austin

Hi Scott,
Big fan of your rants, read 'em after every show, and read old rants to pass the time at work. I got into wwe wrestling in 2001, so I missed most of the Attitude Era. I read a lot about Austin, my favourite wrestler, but I was hoping I could get your opinion on how popular he really was. You say a lot of times in the rants that Cena carried the company on his back, and Batista turned it around, but how does their popularity compare to Austin? And was he a bigger star than The Rock? Or was he bigger in 98-99, but The Rock took over in 2000?
Thanks,
Roel from Holland.

Cena and Batista compare to Austin like a bug compares to the person about to squash them under his boot as far as popularity goes.  Steve Austin transcended wrestling, taking an entire company from the verge of bankruptcy and making it into a billion dollar publicly owned juggernaut.  In 1998, you could walk down the street and see regular people wearing Austin 3:16 t-shirts, and these are people who would never have watched wrestling in their life before that.  Rock is a bigger star overall now, but Austin destroyed him in box office and merchandise.  The WWE's own quote on the number of shirts sold by Austin, according to Dave Meltzer, is "a shitload".  Basically so many that he still essentially lives off the residuals.  
So yes, Austin was a bigger star than ANYONE.  The only other person, and I mean the ONLY one, who is even in the conversation is Hulk Hogan.  

Cena vs Lesnar

First to begin based on mania and extreme rules, Cena is on his way to
being the best wrestler of the year. He's always been a tremendous
worker (and if people would look past the thing they hate about him
his character they'd see this) so this is no surprise.
Now then to me putting him over Lesnar is perfect.  What better way of
saying pro wrestling is better and tougher than UFC than the pro
wrestler going over the UFC superstar? Now was it way to early to do
this? Sure. In hindsight they should have had months of Lesnar not
wrestling but just kicking everyones ass. Then Cena comes back from
his movie or whatever and is the man to say enough. You do the match
at say summerslam and Cena goes over.
This then leads to Rock Cena II at survivor series or whatever because
Cena has the cred of doing something Rock never could do which is beat
Lesnar. Heck if you want to do Rock Cena 3 you can have a finish in
which Lesnar is standing on the apron (presumably to mess with Cena)
only to have Rock thrown into him leading to an FU and Cena pin. Rock
then goes off to take on Lesnar and win and then you do Cena Rock III
to finally settle it all. (maybe at the rumble or whatever then do
Cena vs Taker at mania if he can go as it's to me one of the last true
main event matches they have left) Then Cena goes over taker because
really losing doesn't hurt taker imo. Going twenty straight wins is
still impressive and something they can still stress will never be
done again

*Slow clap*
Bravo. 
For those wondering how to become a WWE writer, send them a scenario like this and you're a shoo-in.

Cena and Brock

———- Forwarded message — Hey Scott, quick question- What the hell was the purpose of Cena's going away speech after the match with Brock? Not only did it make Brock look even worse after the loss, but by the next day it was rendered moot. Why kill Brock's heat even further for what amounted to a meaningless speech by Cena? Maybe I'm an idiot, but I don't get it. Thanks, Jamie ———— Hey now, let's see how it plays out.

Memorable Cena feuds

Scott,
Long time listener, first time caller.  
Right now the raging debate on message boards (at least the debates NOT centered on Daniel Bryan or Brock Lesnar) seems to focus on just how super or un-super Cena was during his run as the man.  Most of the defense of Cena seems to center around his position being similar/identical to that of Rock's or Stone Cold's.  The Pro-Cena people argue that while they were top faces, both Rock and Stone Cold did not have to job (cleanly) and that Cena is just fulfilling the character arc set down by Hogan or Rock.  Also they argue that Anti-Cena people are butt hurt.  That salient point comes up a lot.  
I know you have said that Stone Cold Jobbed plenty, but putting wins and losses aside, I would argue that the reason most people got so very sick of John Cena has more to do with a lack of good feuds.  A good feud does not just show up in the win column, it also reveals a new side of the players involved.  HHH vs Rock showed that HHH was a politicking bastard, above nothing in his pursuit of the title, and it showed that Rock was willing to take obscene punishment and humiliation to achieve his goal.  Corporate Rock vs Mick Foley provided sympathy for the stubborn Foley  and showed that the Rock's God Given magnetism could be used for evil as well as good.  It also allowed the Rock to reveal that he was still nursing his ego from "Die Rocky, Die."  If you look at the Austin from Austin v McMahon and compare it to the Austin from the two man power trip, it's two different people.  One is a red neck SOB who's proud of his shit kicking life, and the other is a paranoid coward who's only sense of worth comes from the titles he carries to the ring (Austin's acting during two man power trip was Method Acting on par with some of the greats).
So that long winded intro brings me to my question:  In the time I stopped watching WWE (2005-2011) did John Cena have any memorable feuds that revealed new facets to his character?  And by new facets I don't mean his ability to rise above the hate, or his ability to become less visible.  This is not to start a war, I'm genuinely curious as I see nothing interesting about Cena, and would really like to know if I'm missing something.
Other than that…uh…Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar, Purple Monkey Dishwasher. 
Brian

You're definitely not missing much with Cena's run in terms of memorable feuds.  The Orton stuff was good and suitably epic for a while, but got run into the ground, and then dug up and run into the ground all over again until you just never wanted to see them even touch each other again.  They had mad chemistry in 08/09, though, and probably could have done well as a Megapowers type tag team if it was 1986.  The initial Edge feud was pretty great, too, especially when he got sucker-punched after winning the Elimination Chamber and actually looked vulnerable for 5 seconds.  Then he won the belt back right away.  However, Lita was SMOKING HOT during that period, so there's that.  
Aside from that, most of Cena's big stuff isn't really "feuds" per se, but "Cena is the champion and this guy is the challenger and Cena overcomes the odds to triumph" which is fine because it makes the champion seem like a big deal, but it's really boring from a storyline perspective.

Cena Does Not Suck?

Hey Scott,
I left the school in Africa about which I wrote a short essay for your blog last year (concerning the reaction of my junior high students to the Bret Hart-Stone Cold match at 'Mania 13), and now I'm teaching in Pakistan, and once again my students are marks… except this one guy. He reads all the dirt sheet sites and analyzes it all from a smark perspective while still enjoying the hell out of the product.
More importantly, he downloads all the shows for me, so last night I watched Wrestlemania XXVIII; it was the first time I'd watched a 'Mania before reading the results since 'Mania XII!
Until this school year, I had only watched WWE sporadically at best since '96 or so, and I completely missed much of the Super Cena era. I've seen all his Wrestlemania matches except the Miz one, plus various other assorted highlights, and I've seen most episodes of Raw starting with the Summer of Punk.
Here's my point:
 
I don't care much for Cena's punches.
I hate his shoulder block move. (Ultimate Warrior's had much more impact).
He is frequently more lighthearted than I would like him to be.
Those gripes aside, John Cena is perhaps the most compelling character in recent WWE history, and I would like to gently suggest that everyone who hates him is a fucking moron.
I'm reminded of an old Simpsons episode. (I think it may have been the Lollapalooza episode). The Simpsons were debating the merits of "cool", and basically Marge figured out that there is no way for her to be cool in the eyes of her kids, largely because her kids are idiots. So there you have it: Cena is Marge Simpson, and the fans are Bart and Lisa.
Consider: Cena enjoys his work. He loves to wrestle. He loves wrestling. As he stated recently, he has carried the flag for the industry during a time when it has been very uncool to do so. While we may get sick of him saying it, the fact remains that the character (and presumably the man himself) does not care whether you cheer or boo him. He does not let anyone change him. He does his thing, with no regard for anyone else's opinion.
Compare him to The Rock. Once a detached, too-cool-for-this-crowd anti-hero, The Rock has become a pandering, smiling, repetitive bore. If it wasn't for the fact that wrestling fans cannot help but cheer someone who has been away a long time, the crowds would boo Rock out of the building, and rightly so.
People clamor for a Cena heel turn. I counter that this is like clamoring, in 1987, say, for a Hulk Hogan face turn; why demand a heel turn for a character who already gets greater heel heat as an ostensible face than any heel on the roster?
John Cena's crowd reactions are unique. The closest thing we've ever had to the types of reactions he provokes was Bret's heel-in-the-States, face-everywhere-else run in '97. Why change that? Why reduce him to just another heel when the crowds are always molten for him as-is? The kids love him, the aspiring cynics hate him… it's an awesome dynamic.
Cena also calls Bret's anti-American run to mind because, like Bret, he is completely in the right, and the audience is only booing him because the audience is full of assholes. Again, which is cooler: the guy who has refused to change for years and lets the boos roll off him, or a pandering phony from Hollywood with a cheesy grin?
I also question the consensus that WWE doesn't know how to create sympathetic faces. Sure, that woo-woo-woo guy has been made to look like a bitch, but guess what? He looks like a frat boy douche. So fuck that guy.
The WWE currently boasts arguably its most sympathetic face ever: John Cena. Just 'cause the fans are mouth-breathers who delight in engaging in spastic fits of cartoon cynicism and therefore opt to boo the guy doesn't change the fact that Cena (the character) is a great guy who refuses to back down… and who just lost the most important match of his career… and was then attacked by a sellout cunt of a bully named Brock Lesnar, all to the giddy cheers of the very people he has worked so hard to entertain for a decade.
This is some seriously compelling shit, and the average throwaway Raw match these days has more athleticism than most PPVs had in their entirety back in the '80s (setting aside Hart and Savage, I suppose), and there are nuances and potentially dramatic situations now that one could never have imagined even fifteen years ago, and wrestling fans are the most blindly, stupidly nostalgic asshats in the world, and I am sending this to you as a rambling rant rather than a composed, objective essay because I am so baffled and excited and intrigued by the John Cena character that I'm struggling to view it from anything but a mark perspective.
I desperately want Cena to get his win back from The Rock, and then I want him to beat the ever-loving hell out of that gutless sellout cunt Brock Lesnar, and then I want him to look into the camera afterward and give the "WWE Universe" the biggest shit-eating grin of all time.
But I realize I'm in the minority.
Also? I thought it'd be cool if Rock (who will earn boos if he ever comes around more than once a month on a consistent basis) resurrects his Hollywood heel persona and forms a stable of egomaniacal bitches think they're too good for wrestling: Rock and Brock, with perhaps Batista and Goldberg for back-up.
Thanks for letting me vent.
Cheers,
Monte

Cena Randoms

Hi Scott,
A few random ones for your post-Wrestlemania mailbag…
1. Was there ever a John Cena vs. Hulk Hogan match in the works years back?  More frightening: do you think that is STILL an option, given Hogan-Vince’s penchant for money-based reconciliation?  I could totally see it if Cena wins this Sunday and declares himself the ‘biggest star ever’.
2. Did Steve Austin ‘refuse’ to work with Brock Lesnar in 2002-03 or was it Austin’s personal issues that prevented that match from happening?
3. The Rock has a history of being able to do high-profile jobs, yet cutting a promo and being right back on top.  Dude put over Lesnar in summer ’02 and had the highest-profile match on Wrestlemania 19; put over Goldberg clean the next month, returned at WM20 without a hitch.  Mick Foley put over everyone under the sun and maintained his credibility.  HHH’s longevity is another story entirely because of wholly unprecedented circumstances.  Is there anyone else you think fits this mold of guys who can maintain their top spot while doing high-profile jobs?  Conversely, are there guys who NEED to be handled with kid gloves in regards to jobs?
4. Do you think we will see Dave Batista in WWE again?

Eh, these are interesting questions, so we’ll do this as a pre-WM mailbag.  1.  Never heard anything on that front.  I suppose you can never say never in wrestling, but Hogan’s hip is pretty destroyed and Vince had plenty of other opportunities to do “dream matches” with Hogan the last time he was under contract and only did a couple.  Plus, 6 years ago both Michaels and Orton had to lay down for Hogan, and there’s no fucking way John Cena is laying down for him, and nor should he.  So that would be right out.  2.  Austin outright refused to do the job to Lesnar.  3.  Undertaker has done a zillion jobs in recent years without losing an ounce of cred.  He’s done so many jobs without losing cred that most people don’t even think of him as someone who does jobs, which is weird.  Dude put over Great Khali, Big Show, Mr. Kennedy, CM Punk and tons of others, some of them clean as a sheet.  The guys who need kid gloves are the ones who aren’t allowed to get over on their own, which is to say everyone else.  Ziggler was looking like a main eventer in January, but he’s done job after job after job since then and now he’s already plummeting back to the midcard again.  And he gets no promo time to get himself over again.  Those are the guys you have to be the most careful with:  The ones JUST on the verge of breaking through. 4.  Yes.  But if not, he’ll make out OK.

Cena Randoms

Hi Scott,
A few random ones for your post-Wrestlemania mailbag…
1. Was there ever a John Cena vs. Hulk Hogan match in the works years back?  More frightening: do you think that is STILL an option, given Hogan-Vince’s penchant for money-based reconciliation?  I could totally see it if Cena wins this Sunday and declares himself the ‘biggest star ever’.
2. Did Steve Austin ‘refuse’ to work with Brock Lesnar in 2002-03 or was it Austin’s personal issues that prevented that match from happening?
3. The Rock has a history of being able to do high-profile jobs, yet cutting a promo and being right back on top.  Dude put over Lesnar in summer ’02 and had the highest-profile match on Wrestlemania 19; put over Goldberg clean the next month, returned at WM20 without a hitch.  Mick Foley put over everyone under the sun and maintained his credibility.  HHH’s longevity is another story entirely because of wholly unprecedented circumstances.  Is there anyone else you think fits this mold of guys who can maintain their top spot while doing high-profile jobs?  Conversely, are there guys who NEED to be handled with kid gloves in regards to jobs?
4. Do you think we will see Dave Batista in WWE again?

Eh, these are interesting questions, so we’ll do this as a pre-WM mailbag.  1.  Never heard anything on that front.  I suppose you can never say never in wrestling, but Hogan’s hip is pretty destroyed and Vince had plenty of other opportunities to do “dream matches” with Hogan the last time he was under contract and only did a couple.  Plus, 6 years ago both Michaels and Orton had to lay down for Hogan, and there’s no fucking way John Cena is laying down for him, and nor should he.  So that would be right out.  2.  Austin outright refused to do the job to Lesnar.  3.  Undertaker has done a zillion jobs in recent years without losing an ounce of cred.  He’s done so many jobs without losing cred that most people don’t even think of him as someone who does jobs, which is weird.  Dude put over Great Khali, Big Show, Mr. Kennedy, CM Punk and tons of others, some of them clean as a sheet.  The guys who need kid gloves are the ones who aren’t allowed to get over on their own, which is to say everyone else.  Ziggler was looking like a main eventer in January, but he’s done job after job after job since then and now he’s already plummeting back to the midcard again.  And he gets no promo time to get himself over again.  Those are the guys you have to be the most careful with:  The ones JUST on the verge of breaking through. 4.  Yes.  But if not, he’ll make out OK.

Cena Randoms

Hi Scott,
A few random ones for your post-Wrestlemania mailbag…
1. Was there ever a John Cena vs. Hulk Hogan match in the works years back?  More frightening: do you think that is STILL an option, given Hogan-Vince’s penchant for money-based reconciliation?  I could totally see it if Cena wins this Sunday and declares himself the ‘biggest star ever’.
2. Did Steve Austin ‘refuse’ to work with Brock Lesnar in 2002-03 or was it Austin’s personal issues that prevented that match from happening?
3. The Rock has a history of being able to do high-profile jobs, yet cutting a promo and being right back on top.  Dude put over Lesnar in summer ’02 and had the highest-profile match on Wrestlemania 19; put over Goldberg clean the next month, returned at WM20 without a hitch.  Mick Foley put over everyone under the sun and maintained his credibility.  HHH’s longevity is another story entirely because of wholly unprecedented circumstances.  Is there anyone else you think fits this mold of guys who can maintain their top spot while doing high-profile jobs?  Conversely, are there guys who NEED to be handled with kid gloves in regards to jobs?
4. Do you think we will see Dave Batista in WWE again?

Eh, these are interesting questions, so we’ll do this as a pre-WM mailbag.  1.  Never heard anything on that front.  I suppose you can never say never in wrestling, but Hogan’s hip is pretty destroyed and Vince had plenty of other opportunities to do “dream matches” with Hogan the last time he was under contract and only did a couple.  Plus, 6 years ago both Michaels and Orton had to lay down for Hogan, and there’s no fucking way John Cena is laying down for him, and nor should he.  So that would be right out.  2.  Austin outright refused to do the job to Lesnar.  3.  Undertaker has done a zillion jobs in recent years without losing an ounce of cred.  He’s done so many jobs without losing cred that most people don’t even think of him as someone who does jobs, which is weird.  Dude put over Great Khali, Big Show, Mr. Kennedy, CM Punk and tons of others, some of them clean as a sheet.  The guys who need kid gloves are the ones who aren’t allowed to get over on their own, which is to say everyone else.  Ziggler was looking like a main eventer in January, but he’s done job after job after job since then and now he’s already plummeting back to the midcard again.  And he gets no promo time to get himself over again.  Those are the guys you have to be the most careful with:  The ones JUST on the verge of breaking through. 4.  Yes.  But if not, he’ll make out OK.

Cena Randoms

Hi Scott,
A few random ones for your post-Wrestlemania mailbag…
1. Was there ever a John Cena vs. Hulk Hogan match in the works years back?  More frightening: do you think that is STILL an option, given Hogan-Vince’s penchant for money-based reconciliation?  I could totally see it if Cena wins this Sunday and declares himself the ‘biggest star ever’.
2. Did Steve Austin ‘refuse’ to work with Brock Lesnar in 2002-03 or was it Austin’s personal issues that prevented that match from happening?
3. The Rock has a history of being able to do high-profile jobs, yet cutting a promo and being right back on top.  Dude put over Lesnar in summer ’02 and had the highest-profile match on Wrestlemania 19; put over Goldberg clean the next month, returned at WM20 without a hitch.  Mick Foley put over everyone under the sun and maintained his credibility.  HHH’s longevity is another story entirely because of wholly unprecedented circumstances.  Is there anyone else you think fits this mold of guys who can maintain their top spot while doing high-profile jobs?  Conversely, are there guys who NEED to be handled with kid gloves in regards to jobs?
4. Do you think we will see Dave Batista in WWE again?

Eh, these are interesting questions, so we’ll do this as a pre-WM mailbag.  1.  Never heard anything on that front.  I suppose you can never say never in wrestling, but Hogan’s hip is pretty destroyed and Vince had plenty of other opportunities to do “dream matches” with Hogan the last time he was under contract and only did a couple.  Plus, 6 years ago both Michaels and Orton had to lay down for Hogan, and there’s no fucking way John Cena is laying down for him, and nor should he.  So that would be right out.  2.  Austin outright refused to do the job to Lesnar.  3.  Undertaker has done a zillion jobs in recent years without losing an ounce of cred.  He’s done so many jobs without losing cred that most people don’t even think of him as someone who does jobs, which is weird.  Dude put over Great Khali, Big Show, Mr. Kennedy, CM Punk and tons of others, some of them clean as a sheet.  The guys who need kid gloves are the ones who aren’t allowed to get over on their own, which is to say everyone else.  Ziggler was looking like a main eventer in January, but he’s done job after job after job since then and now he’s already plummeting back to the midcard again.  And he gets no promo time to get himself over again.  Those are the guys you have to be the most careful with:  The ones JUST on the verge of breaking through. 4.  Yes.  But if not, he’ll make out OK.

Cena Randoms

Hi Scott,
A few random ones for your post-Wrestlemania mailbag…
1. Was there ever a John Cena vs. Hulk Hogan match in the works years back?  More frightening: do you think that is STILL an option, given Hogan-Vince’s penchant for money-based reconciliation?  I could totally see it if Cena wins this Sunday and declares himself the ‘biggest star ever’.
2. Did Steve Austin ‘refuse’ to work with Brock Lesnar in 2002-03 or was it Austin’s personal issues that prevented that match from happening?
3. The Rock has a history of being able to do high-profile jobs, yet cutting a promo and being right back on top.  Dude put over Lesnar in summer ’02 and had the highest-profile match on Wrestlemania 19; put over Goldberg clean the next month, returned at WM20 without a hitch.  Mick Foley put over everyone under the sun and maintained his credibility.  HHH’s longevity is another story entirely because of wholly unprecedented circumstances.  Is there anyone else you think fits this mold of guys who can maintain their top spot while doing high-profile jobs?  Conversely, are there guys who NEED to be handled with kid gloves in regards to jobs?
4. Do you think we will see Dave Batista in WWE again?

Eh, these are interesting questions, so we’ll do this as a pre-WM mailbag.  1.  Never heard anything on that front.  I suppose you can never say never in wrestling, but Hogan’s hip is pretty destroyed and Vince had plenty of other opportunities to do “dream matches” with Hogan the last time he was under contract and only did a couple.  Plus, 6 years ago both Michaels and Orton had to lay down for Hogan, and there’s no fucking way John Cena is laying down for him, and nor should he.  So that would be right out.  2.  Austin outright refused to do the job to Lesnar.  3.  Undertaker has done a zillion jobs in recent years without losing an ounce of cred.  He’s done so many jobs without losing cred that most people don’t even think of him as someone who does jobs, which is weird.  Dude put over Great Khali, Big Show, Mr. Kennedy, CM Punk and tons of others, some of them clean as a sheet.  The guys who need kid gloves are the ones who aren’t allowed to get over on their own, which is to say everyone else.  Ziggler was looking like a main eventer in January, but he’s done job after job after job since then and now he’s already plummeting back to the midcard again.  And he gets no promo time to get himself over again.  Those are the guys you have to be the most careful with:  The ones JUST on the verge of breaking through. 4.  Yes.  But if not, he’ll make out OK.