In all my years as a wrestling fan, I cannot recall one superstar who brings out such strong emotion and opinion as John Cena. I think it is fairly safe to say that every wrestling fan has an opinion, and I think the most frequently quoted question or statement is "when are they going to turn Cena heel or change his boring character?". In my opinion it's not about turning Cena heel, that just isn't going to happen when he is still WWE's biggest cash cow, but giving his character more of an edge is something I think needs to happen.
Cena has recently just returned to WWE after been out for the last two and a half months following surgery to repair a torn triceps. He was originally given a time frame of 6 months, but as we all know he isn't called 'Super Cena' for nothing, and he has returned to WWE looking better than ever. The quick return isn't what surprised me though. What surprised me more were how good his promo's have suddenly become since he came back, how he seems to have re-discovered some of that edge his character has maybe lacked the last few years, an almost resurfacing of the Thuganomics gimmick from his early WWE run in 2002.
I'm sure I am not the only one who noticed that Cena seemed more aggressive overall in his promo's since his return than before he left, and lets be honest, was not only giving corny promo's, but some of the worst promo's I have ever heard. I think Cena's promo problem can stem from who he comes up against. For example, when he is giving a promo alone in the ring he is generally fine and gives a good and entertaining promo. However, when he comes up against someone like The Rock, who can just about make anyone look an amateur on the mic, he tends to lose confidence and his promo's can be very much hit and miss. That doesn't seem to have been a problem with his promo's when he returned to Raw last week, on Smackdown with The Real Americans, and again this week on Raw. Just his tone of voice sounded more aggressive, and he was heard rhyming some of the things he was saying, just like in his Thuganomics days. For me, this is what Cena is best at. When he was cutting promo's on The Rock before Wrestlemania 28, his best promo by far was his Thuganomics rapping.
Cena returned in typical fashion at Hell In A Cell, winning his first match back by defeating Alberto Del Rio to capture his 14th World Championship, leaving him only 2 reigns away from tying the 16 time record of Nature Boy Ric Flair, although only 3 of these reigns have been with the World Heavyweight Championship. This match showed Cena had not missed a beat and was fully fine and fit. The next night on Raw, Cena came out, cut an amazing promo which ended with him being attacked by Damien Sandow, who cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase. The two men put on an amazing match, one of Cena's best matches in a long time. Cena helped to elevate Sandow to another level, and may have helped Sandow keep himself in the main event spotlight. If that match was on Pay Per View it would have been worth paying for. The fact we probably won't see these two men face off in a singles match on Pay Per View is a shame.
Following this, up comes Smackdown. Once again the show opens up with a John Cena promo. I wasn't sure how he could follow up his performance on Monday night, but he not only showed us he was capable of matching his previous nights standard, he flat out destroyed it. Shades of the doctor of Thuganomics came through in the promo, which saw him confronted by Zeb Colter and the Real Americans, and Cena was just on fire. It wasn't the usual cheesy segment we have seen from Cena in the past, this was Cena further showing the audience what he is capable of. Cena continued to excel during Smackdown when he teamed with Cody Rhodes and Goldust to face The Real Americans and Damien Sandow. This match was an excellent showing from all 6 competitors, and was certainly one of the highlights of Smackdown. If you have not seen it yet then I urge you, go back and watch this match in full. You will not be disappointed. Cena's work once again was excellent and showed us what we have all been missing.
This week on Raw Cena came out and spoke from the heart on the mic about the work WWE does with Susan G. Komen to fight against cancer. People bash Cena but the man is a great spokesman for WWE and his charity work is second to none. It wasn't anything to do with the match but it still showed Cena knows how to connect with his audience. He then featured again in another 6 man tag team match, teaming again with Cody Rhodes and Goldust to face The Real Americans and Damien Sandow again. How would they follow up their epic encounter from last weeks Smackdown? Simple, they would just step it up to another level and show they could make an entertaining match to engage the fans without doing just the same thing. Cena has shown over the last 2 weeks not that he really has not missed a step and the surgery has not had any negative effects on his overall look or performance.
One of the most positive things to come out of Cena's time off is simply the fact that it seems to have inspired him more and do something different with his character. We all believe Cena's character has grown stale over the years, something that we can't just blame Cena for. However, the edge he has shown in the promo's he has delivered recently have made myself, and hopefully others, take note of his return and what he can do with a bit of drive and passion. I hope Cena can keep this momentum and not slip back to the cheesy work most people expect from him. Cena's passion when he talks cannot be ignored, he gives it 110% every time, he just had a tendency in the past to go over the top. His in ring work has gone to another level since he came back too. I cannot knock his in ring work in the first place, unlike the majority who think he can't wrestle. Cena can put on a great match when he is firing on all cylinders, and I am hopeful the level of match he is working currently remains in place for the long haul. I have a huge respect for John Cena, he is without a doubt one of the best WWE Superstars of his generation. If he can keep the current edge he is displaying, and keep working top quality matches like he has been doing, then maybe he will finally do what no one thought he could, and that's gain the respect of his detractors. He has my respect, the question is, does he have yours?