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. ​

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?

Thanks

​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.  ​

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. ​

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.  ​

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvT6-ubccLY 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?  ​

Greatest Randy Orton vs. John Cena Match?

First of all, I loved the ending to Raw this week. It was a balls-to-the-wall ending that planted the seeds and foreshadowed things to possibly come. That said, I am not excited for this unification match. The unification of the titles is something  fans have looked forward to seeing for years, and the build just hasn’t come close to living up to the hype. It feels like just another PPV main event, to be honest.

Anywho, what is the greatest Orton and Cena match in your opinions?  Personally, I have to go with their “I Quit Match” from Breaking Point 2009.

Road-agents and wrestlers sometimes put a lot thought into the match and surprise me with their creativity. That is what happened on this night: They structured out a masterpiece that displayed a strategical plan and in-ring characterizations (two things that lack in modern wrestling imo.)

Orton channeled something you’d see straight out of a horror movie, torturing Cena with painful devices and triggered his already injured head. Through the power of facial expressions and body language, he made it clear that his character was trying to do more than just win the match; it was trying to end Cena’s career.
But as compelling as a character’s strengths are, its weaknesses are even more compelling. And, Orton’s weaknesses were exposed by Cena, even in a vulnerable situation, as Orton became too concerned with toying with Cena rather than finishing him off. That led to Orton receiving his comeuppance by hoisting on his own petard.
This was a very well structured brawl, with good psychology and storytelling. Cena’s comeback being too abrupt, Orton tapping out a wee too quickly, and the lack of color are the only things holding this down from being a 5-star classic.

FULL-LENGTH PPV MATCH – SummerSlam 2011 – John Cena vs. CM Punk – Undisp…

WWE’s official YouTube account states that both Cena and Punk walked into SummerSlam as WWE Champion. That’s almost as good as if it were stated on the WWE App (a new way to watch television!).


Nothing will ever be as good as being on the WWE App.  NOTHING.  

Two years later and I still don’t even get what the purpose of the finish was supposed to be.  HHH screws over Cena for some reason and ends up in a feud with Punk over Nash texting himself?  

Match was ****1/2, by the way, for those who have asked since I’ve never ranted on the show before.  

John Cena, S on his chest?

 YankeesHoganTripleHFan sent in a question regarding Cena as the true Superman.

The John Cena question about where he ranks all time got me to
thinking…I may actually be the only wrestling fan out there that is
pretty much indifferent to Cena. Don’t love him, don’t hate him. But
where you have to give in credit is this…

     After the deaths
of Guerrero and especially Beniot the WWE’s image was in shambles. I
was viewing from afar from that point and I really thought the company
might die. As the face of the company it was largely on Cena’s
shoulder’s to try and repair that image being it with his on screen
character or his work with Make a Wish, and the Troops or whatever. And
guess what? To a large degree it’s succeeded. I don’t hear a lot of
negative stories about the WWE anymore. They are featured on sites
Grantland, ESPN.com, and Bleacher Report in a mostly positive light.
When they had Wrestlemania at Giant Stadium, (I refuse to call it that
other name,) the biggest NJ paper had articles in the sports section all
week leading up to the event, again mostly positive.  Hell the Governor
did the voice over for the intro. Like him or not I really think that
Cena had a lot to do with that. What say you?

Well, I think a lot of WWE no longer receiving negative press is because they’re strictly PG. If you don’t include the death of wrestlers, then the only reason the WWE received any negative press in the last 15 years is because of the “envelope pushing” that they were doing. Of course, having Cena has a figure head for this whole era is an important thing. A franchise has to have it’s break-out star. Happy Days wouldn’t have survived without The Fonz, X-Men the film series wouldn’t have been as popular without Wolverine, and The Big Bang Theory wouldn’t be so popular without it’s pathetic writing & canned laughter.

For the record, I love Cena. Sure, his character is a bore, but I could careless. I don’t watch Raw or Smackdown, so the only exposure I have to Cena are when he goes out and has consistent ***+ matches with just about everyone he steps in the ring with. Plus he’s a true genetic freak in the weight room, and that’s a quick way to my respect.

John Morrison

Dear Scott, long ti- oh who cares we've all seen it before


We've all heard the rumors about John Morrison coming back. What do you think they should do with him? I've thought of 2 ideas, the first being team him with Miz, which would be a horrible idea given that Miz is one of the worst things on WWE TV right now. And the other, which I'm 99.99999999999% sure won't happen, is have him face HHH at Wrestlemania, put Brock against HBK given they have a feud set in stone right now, and have JoMo go over Trips at 'Mania and give him a giant rub towards the main event. Ha! I'm dreaming.

But besides the impossibility of the second thought, what's your opinion on what they should do with Morrison if he returns?

Sit him down and advise him that the next time the locker room passes his girlfriend around like a doobie, he should probably be more upset about it.  

The Only Review of the John Cena Experience Blu-Ray That You’ll Ever Need

There’s
not much to be said about John Cena that hasn’t been said before. He’s
literally been the top guy in the company for 8 years, and honestly, there’s no
end in sight. While we’re all sick of his act, there’s one thing you can’t
deny; he’s one hell of a stand-up guy and a great wrestler. I truly wish he was
around when I was a kid so I had a proper hero. There was a good year when I
was bullied a lot, and I can honestly say if I was watching John Cena, I
wouldn’t have let them push me around like they had. So, while we all scream
for him to turn heel, I can clearly understand why he hasn’t yet. I mean, who
wouldn’t mind sleeping on top of a pile of money surrounded by many beautiful
women?
The documentary isn’t your standard, as that was all covered in
his previous release, My Life. This time around we follow John around while he
gets ready for WM 26. It’s actually a pretty interesting documentary, and
something I hope they follow up with for other superstars. As you may know, I
don’t dwell on the documentary portions of these releases, because people
simply want to know if it’s good or not, and then skip down to the match
reviews. So, without further ado:

John Cena vs. Kurt Angle – No Way Out – February 20, 2005

It’s ridiculous how much cooler John was back then than he is
now. Although that whole Ruck Fules thing was rather stupid. Match starts off
with Kurt working the arm and neck. Cena soon grows tired of that and gets
aggressive, which works until Kurt suplexes him into the turnbuckle. I always
loved moves like that, especially the powerbomb one they had in WrestleMania
2000. The start was a bit slow, but after that the match really started picking
up, and by the end they’re putting on an f’ning show.

Cena delivers the FU to Angle and grabs the pin at 19:21 |
***3/4

John Cena [C] vs. Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels – Taboo Tuesday
– November 1, 2005 – WWE Championship
This match is ridiculously fast and detailed. A lot of Triple Threat matches,
especially in WWE, it’s one guy is down, 2 guys fight, and so forth. But almost
from the get go, all three men are in the ring with an obscene amount of
reversals, chain-movements, and almost Hollywood-esque choreography. Once it
does get to the usual way of doing things, it’s no complaints, as any combo of
these 3 wrestlers is great. A shame it didn’t headline a more serious PPV or
was given more time. Good stuff.
John delivers the FU to Shawn for the pin at 16:42 | ***1/2

John Cena vs. Edge [C] – Royal Rumble – January 29, 2006 – WWE
Championship

John gets his own entrance ramp that’s equipped with confetti
cannons, just like the one’s real gangbangers use. There isn’t much to say
about this match, as it’s a pretty average Cena-Edge match that will fit nicely
among the thousands of others they’ve had, but nothing that helps it stand out.

Edge taps out to the STFU at 14:02 | ***1/4

John Cena vs. Edge – Tribute To The Troops – December 25, 2006

Speaking of the thousands, it’s an average TV match that would
make for a fine main event any Monday night, but I wouldn’t call it DVD worthy.

Edge
eats an FU and pin at 7:32 | ***

John Cena & Shawn Michaels [C] vs. Rated RKO – RAW –
February 26, 2007 – WWE Tag Team Championship

For some reason it seemed that during the entire run of Rated
RKO they wanted to focus on the two not trusting each other, which was
something I never understood. The main reason why is because they’re a solid
tag-team, and one that you could truly believe stood a chance against guys like
Cena & Michaels, or DX. Great match with everyone doing their part, and
Rated RKO making sure without a shadow of a doubt that they could take the
titles from the WM23 Main Event Tag-Team. They didn’t, but at least there was
the possibility.

Orton eats a Superkick & FU after about 13 minutes | ***1/2

John Cena [C] vs. The Great Khali – One Night Stand – June 3,
2007 – Falls Count Anywhere for the WWE Championship

This was a small window of time that was pure crap for the WWE.
We’d just come off a great WM with number 23 and the Backlash that followed.
Now we enter the time when Khali was main eventing, and Vince was the ECW
champion. This is hands-down Khali’s best match, and it’s no surprise that Cena
is the one to get it done. They were smart by not keeping it in the ring, and
constantly having John be chased while trying to use whatever he could find to
take down Khali. The Super-FU was great, and a perfect way to serve up the Punjabi
Playboy’s first pin-fall loss. 
Khali takes a Super-FU and a pin at 10:31 | ***

John Cena [C] vs. Bobby Lashley – Great American Bash – July 22,
2007 – WWE Championship

Lashley got the upper hand on John from the get-go with his
knowledge of amateur wrestling, and then once things picked up, he kept his
momentum with a number of power moves. Great moment where Lashley goes for the
spear, only to have Cena turn it into the STFU in the middle of the ring,
forcing Bobby to literally crawl the entire length with Cena on his back until
he hit the ropes. A great outing for a rookie like Lashley, as Cena helped him
look like a million bucks, and there was no shame in his loss. Good stuff,
really. 
Lashley takes a top rope FU, then gets pinned at 14:52 | ***1/2

John Cena [C] vs. Randy Orton – SummerSlam – August 26, 2007 –
WWE Championship

2007 Orton was on a tear. He had great run with Rated RKO,
including some matches against Edge, he then had this great one against Cena,
followed by winning the title in an awesome LMS in September. He held his own
against Shawn at Cyber Sunday, and followed that up with a fantastic match
against HBK at Survivor Series of that year. At the beginning you have a
feeling that Orton isn’t really a threat. He appears too young, he’s smaller
and over-tanned, but then he just lets loose and dismantles Cena, proving he’s
not just a threat, he’s a guarantee. Orton has won titles before, and even
though he lost here, tonight was the night he proved without a doubt that he
belonged at the top rung.

Cena catches Orton with an FU and pin at 21:19 | ****

John Cena vs. Triple H [C] – Night of Champions – June 29, 2008
– WWE Championship

Cena loses, then Triple H takes the belt over to Smackdown.
Geez, Triple H looks like he’s been using deck-stainer as a self-tanner. The
match tells a great story with Cena having a lackluster 2008 so far, and
wanting to bring the title home to Raw. However, Triple H has his number for
most of the match, constantly cutting off his momentum gains, while avoiding
any big guns from Cena’s arsenal. After a clean defeat, Cena’s 2008 continued
to falter. 
Triple H hits the Pedigree & pins Cena at 19:37 | ****

John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels – Raw – January 26, 2009

This was during the time that Shawn Michaels was under the
employ of JBL. The angle was pretty decent, but could have been a lot better if
their blow-off match wasn’t *1/2. I remember tuning in specifically for this
match because of the last 2 encounters these guys had. Unfortunately, this one
doesn’t hold a candle towards its predecessors. The focus of the match is more
about HBK & JBL than it is HBK & Cena. Where the other 2 matches felt
like each guy was fighting for his life, this one felt more like they were just
wrestling a main event on Raw. Bit of a let-down.

Cena hits the FU & pins Michaels at 13:09 | ***

John Cena vs. Jack Swagger – Raw – April 13th, 2009

The winner gets the show they represent two picks for the draft.
I really expected this to be a major squash, instead, Swagger hangs on for
quite a while, and even handles himself really well. With this, and the
fantastic match he had with Christian at Backlash 2009, I would have thought it
would earn him a lot more than a Ronnie Garvin title run. Watching this reminds
me of something I read in The Death of WCW. Eric Bischoff was doing an online
chat and someone asked why Nitro always looks the same. Bischoff responded by
saying that everything across the board was up, so yeah, they must be doing
something wrong. This Raw is almost 4 years ago, and not only does it look
exactly the same, it sounds and feels exactly the same as it does now. They
need to freshen things up drastically, and soon. As for the match, great stuff
that had Swagger looking like a million bucks. Something like this would have
made a lot more sense the Raw before Elimination Chamber. 
Swagger taps out to the STFU at 8:18 | ***1/4

John Cena vs. Big Show – Judgment Day – May 17, 2009

There’s really nothing to say about this match. Big Show does the whole “I’m
super mean, and super mad, and you can’t hurt me” deal, as he squashes Cena for
most of the match. Then we have flashes of Cena putting the hurt on Show, and
the announcers do the “Oh snaps! He can be hurt! But we know John can never do
the FU! EVER.” despite Cena not only doing it to him, but doing it while Edge
was on his fucking back only 2 months prior. Why include this instead of the
insanely more entertaining LMS match with Edge from Backlash is beyond me.

Cena hits the FU and pins Show at 14:57 | *

John Cena vs. The Miz – Raw – June 29, 2009

This is a pretty typical Raw main event, with nothing too
spectacular to speak of, except the fact that Miz is dressed like a go-go dancer.
Thankfully it’s better than their WM match, but that isn’t saying much.

Miz taps out to the STFU at 10:40 | **

John Cena [C] vs. Shawn Michaels vs. HHH – Survivor Series –
November 22, 2009

Fantastic beginning as Shawn superkicks HHH right out of the
ring. After Cena & Shawn do their part for a while, there’s a brilliant
spot where Triple H saves Shawn from an FU Through a table, so he can put him
through it with a spinebuster. Awesome. They all trade off in combos, and each
portion is just as good as the last. This really is a hell of a match, and
probably the most creative triple threat I’ve ever seen. Insanely entertaining
with a hell of a finish.

Triple H eats a Superkick, and then Cena gives Shawn the FU,
landing on Hunter, allowing Cena to pin HHH at 21:13 | ****1/2
Blu Ray Exclusives:

John Cena [C] vs. Chris Jericho – Tribute To The Troops –
December 19, 2009 – WWE Championship
Nothing to report, really. I don’t know why they included this
one instead of their gem from the 2008 Survivor Series. They trade a few moves,
Jericho leaps from the top rope, Cena catches, rolls, FU, end of story.

Jericho eats an FU and a pin at 7:53 | **

John Cena vs. Batista [C] – WrestleMania XXVI – March 28, 2010 –
WWE Championship

The entrance stage for WM 26 is absolutely ridiculous. Batista
is a savage and is out to do nothing but hurt, these intentions are displayed
clearly while he does things like a running clothesline to the back of Cena’s
head, and a DDT that has John in clear pain after trying an FU. Cena responds
perfectly by refusing to break the STFU once Batista hits the ropes, or hitting
him with a top rope 5 Knuckle Shuffle. These two just work great together.
Nothing flashy, nothing detailed. Just two guys trying to break each other’s
bones. Cena proves why he’s the man as he poses and smiles with the people in
the front row who have home-made Cena Sucks t-shirts.

Batista taps to the STFU at 13:31 | ****1/2

Showcase Showdown: One hell of a set. The documentary portion
was really interesting, and something completely different from what’s come
before. I’d like to see more like this, honestly. I tell you what, after my
first round of signing 3,000 autographs in one session, I’d change my name to a
dot. 
The match selection is great, and gives you a pretty good variety as far as
opponents are concerned. Of course, there are some major omissions, (I Quit
with JBL, TLC with Edge, WM23 & Raw against Shawn) but the first 2 on that
list were on Cena’s My Life DVD, and the Raw match can be found on Heartbreak
& Triumph. There’s still a ton of matches for future releases; his Survivor
Series match against Jericho, the triple threat from Backlash 2005, the two
four-man matches from Backlash 2007 & Backlash 2008, and the list goes on
and on. Because at the end of the day, we may be sick of his character, but he
always delivers in the ring. Definitely a set worth picking up.
As always, props to my editor, Steven Ferrari. I met him while I was battling Toka & Razor. They threw me through a wall and there was Steven, performing on stage. 
I’ve got more work at…
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– recently updated with new reviews for Taken 2, The Last Stand, Bullet To The Head, and Good Day To Die Hard, Saved By The Bell Archives article, and Comic
Book Films You Didn’t Know Were Comic Book Films.
WCW In 2000 – Recently updated with Great American Bash 2000, which is home to the most shocking, and Earth shattering turn in history.
Man Movie Encyclopedia Vol.1
– My book about action films. Endorsed by Scott Keith & Maddox, as
well as some fellow BOD’ers. Constant 5 star reviews on amazon.

Any questions, mailbag, or requests, let me know in the comments or hit me up at [email protected]

– Caliber Winfield

“Rumble Winner should get to be John Cena for a year”

I was reading this article at work today (http://withleather.uproxx.com/2013/01/royal-ramble-an-op-ed-on-the-royal-rumble#more-103324) and wasn't particularly interested until I got to end:


"How do you craft a reward that’s on the same level with a win like the Royal Rumble when you’re giving that same reward to John Cena on a biweekly basis? Well, maybe that’s the solution. Maybe instead of a title shot at WrestleMania, the winner of the Royal Rumble just gets to be John Cena for a year, with unlimited title shots and the ability to kick out of everybody’s finisher all the time. I’d watch it."

BRILLIANT! How could anyone complain if the part of John Cena is played by more interesting characters?  What say you?

-Ronnie Vod

C'mon now, just because Cena failed at the MITB cash in, and at Summerslam, and at Night of Champions, and at Survivor Series, and failed at winning Dolph's briefcase, doesn't mean he shouldn't get another 12 shots next year.  Be fair to Cena!  
I would love to see someone like Zack Ryder pick that as a reward sometime, though.