I know that Cena sells a shit-ton of merch and helps leukaemia -riddled children realise their dreams, BUT…
Has anyone tried to explain to Vince the cognitive dissonance that his product currently produces? If anyone who hasn’t tuned into the product for a while decides to switch on to RAW, they see a product where the supposedly biggest face gets booed by (at least) half of the audience. As humans, we are naturally naturally inclined to side (albeit subconsciously) with the majority… easily done in the Attitude era where the main event was an easy to read dichtonomy of Austin (near-ubiquitously loved) vs Corp Champ (almost universally hated). But if you’re an irregular viewer (who perhaps recognises the Cena ‘brand’) who tunes into RAW, what are you supposed to think? Being an uncertain viewer makes mainstream viewers… uncomfortable at best. How are they supposed to accurately assimilate that kids and marks love him but smarks think he’s a dick?
Long term, wouldn’t it be better to abandon the Cena-as-almighty-face angle and sell him as a heel, so the audience could eagerly begin to boo him and the product would seem more consistent to new or re-visiting viewers? Isn’t there an argument that a well done heel turn can achieve more at the gate than a stale face streak? (See: Hogan 1994 vs 1997)? Would it not go some way into cementing the audience?
No, quite the opposite. Smarks would start cheering him for being cool again and marks would boo him. Same dynamic, but now you lose millions of merchandising dollars. I don't think there's any real solution to the Cena issue. One of these days he'll blow out a muscle that steroi…er, hustle and loyalty won't be able to fix and then he'll become the ultimate ambassador of the product for the rest of his life.