Here is this thing. There are a lot of stories and rumour about John Cena, detailing his lack of willingness to get out of the spotlight and to no-sell peoples moves, not put anyone over…
Basically, there are lots of stories about him not playing ball. But given his recent storylines with the Wyatt family, I’m not sure we should really hate him for that.
Of course we all know eventually that Cena will triumph over the bizarre family and that will be a shame given that they are the strongest post-Attitude era stable for entertainment in a long time.
But this hatred for Cena recently got to me. I was unsure why but I decided to go back and watch some key moments in Cena’s career to see if the apparently shouty and one-trick personality guy was all that he was.
I went back to a few years ago when Cena and Randy Orton tag teamed against the rest of the Raw roster. The chemistry they had was incredible in passing off superstar after superstar. At one point, Cena throws a guy in to the air with a throwaway slam and Orton catches him mid-air in to an RKO.
I go back even further to the last time I can recall Cena portraying a villain, even though he was a face at the time. ECW’s One Night Stand 2006. A violently vocal crowd reacted to Cena like rioting group of students to an economic summit. It was brutal and Cena played it up magnificently, having to adjust his character mid way through his own entrance to suit the situation.
Which brought me finally to Cena’s debut back in 2002, when Kurt Angle called out anyone who hadn’t ever faced him and a green Cena in long trunks came bullishly to the ring to show ‘ruthless aggression.’ He lost to Angle but the way he captured the crowd against the villainous heel worked wonders for the start of his career.
He even wrestled, actually wrestled with Angle with more wrestling moves than you arguably have seen him use for ten years.
So should we really hate Cena. We can hate him for being the glorified action hero that’s shoved down our throats. We can even hate him now for being the one-trick-pony that always gets his way. But we shouldn’t lose sight of a few things.
1) Cena can actually wrestle and when called upon can produce some great chemistry. Whether or not it’s his own short-sightedness in making this happen or WWE management is a different matter.
2) Cena is best when he is hated and a heel turn for him is long, long overdue. It wasn’t politically correct to do it with his supporting the troops phase and he has towed the company line. But with the major heels not only being the same faction from ten years ago in Evolution but the McMahon-Helmsley duo of nearly thirteen years ago, why wouldn’t you look to Cena to turn heel?
3) Respect when it comes to superstars and fans is earned. Something Cena has probably iterated many a time in a shouty to-camera diatribe. But it’s the one thing he has rarely earned himself with the fans and that is why they hate him.
For being forced to try and like him. Only Cena himself can really gain the respect of the fans, even if it is a storyline. So should we hate him? If nothing ever changes and he gets inducted into the hall of fame with essentially a free pass then yes. If we see what Cena can do before then? Well maybe we might just like him.
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