During WrestleMania I made a less than flattering comment about John Cena in the live discussion thread and was, quite rightfully and fairly, asked to explain my views. My response was that it was too much to get out in a comment during a PPV but true to my word I have put down some of the reasons I simply don’t like John Cena.
Then, almost as if Cena was tracking my online negativity towards him, just before I sat down to write this he appeared on the WWE Network in the first ever “Live! With Chris Jericho”. One of my fellow writers advised me that I should watch it as it may change my opinion of Cena, an outcome I was fairly certain would not be the case. I did however feel it only professional to watch it before writing my piece.
The main similarity with Steve Austin’s Podcast was that the subject sounded very well prepared and rehearsed in exactly what they were going to say, with plenty of shareholder friendly sound bites. But at least Austin attempted to ask some tough or controversial questions and get some answers the fans really wanted to hear, even if Triple H knew or didn't know they were coming.
This was a very casual chat between friends and Jericho didn't really attempt to broach any controversial subject apart from steroid abuse, which you can guarantee wouldn't have been asked if Cena hadn't kept himself squeaky clean. They laughed together at the obviously stupid fans who dare to criticise his move list. Well that new middle rope "neckbreaker" is as elegant as Brock Lesnar is a ball gown and joins the list of badly executed big moves he uses to try and get some crowd reaction, rather than actually demonstrating some actual wrestling ability and creating a story (has he never watched Shawn or Bret?). He would have been laughed out of Stu's dungeon with that unconvincing STF too.
It was in the whole an entertaining show if you could stomach the vomit inducing section where Cena declared his undying love for Vince. There were some interesting anecdotes but it was just a massive missed opportunity all round.
There was widespread praise for the most recent WrestleMania event but fans have been vocal in their criticism of the product for a few years now and Cena is one of the main causes of the problems. Year after year Cena plays the same character using the same moves with the same match outcomes that are so predictable they could have been written by Walt Disney.
The list of victims is long but the most recent are Rusev and Bray Wyatt. I've written about the massive dropping of the ball with Rusev a couple of times. Even though Rusev won the first PPV encounter, not with a clean victory of course you can't do that to Cena, Mr Merchandise had to firstly power out of the Accolade, a move that had left a path of destruction in WWE for the past year, with ease. Taking a dirty defeat here meant of course that Cena could get his revenge with a win on a big PPV, in this case the biggest. Firstly he had to humiliate Rusev on a Raw broadcast by putting him to sleep in a matter of seconds with an STF, only to then wake him him and have him tap out in seconds. A monster heel that WWE had spent over a year building as an unstoppable beast made to look like a bottom of the card jobber in the space of a few weeks. And this was before Cena ending his unbeaten streak at WrestleMania.
It was the same story last year. Bray Wyatt was one of the rising stars in the company and I would say it was a catastrophic setback for Wyatt to lose to Cena last WrestleMania from which he has never fully recovered. Cena gained little from the victory as usual whereas Wyatt's mindgames were shown up to be ineffective, a win for Bray would have confirmed him as the "new face of fear" and elevated him considerably. Not only did Cena win, he won with a clean pin and easily brushed off Wyatt's then "family" Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Wyatt did claim a victory at a lesser PPV but inevitably lost the final encounter so that Cena ended the feud on top. The ease of the victory and his attitude to the Wyatt Family in the build up was another 10/10 destruction of a new kid in town with momentum.
Vince McMahon is so Cena obsessed and biased he also looks past his blatant and cringe-worthy spot calling during matches. It is so embarrassing at times I feel like muting the sound during his matches. And remember this isn't a guy who has been wrestling for six months. A recent example of this was a "Kick me!" shout to Stardust as he set up a five-knuckle shuffle during a US title match on Raw. This is completely unacceptable from a professional. Now before anyone starts writing the definition of kayfabe in the comments section I am well aware of what is and isn't real and CM Punk's revelation this week that wrestling is "fake" wasn't a shock to me. It is however for me and most other people an escape from the mundaneness of reality and what I don't want to see are the stars of the show being so sloppy all sense of reality is lost. Would anyone have watched Breaking Bad if Walter kept calling all his co-stars by their real names?
There will be some who no doubt feel this an unfair evaluation of someone who works so hard and does so much for charity, but how many stars has Cena helped build, how many mid carders has he turned into an established main event star after a series of matches?. When can you remember someone coming out of a feud with Cena with their reputation stronger than before? On the flip side how many can you name who have come out looking weaker than ever? Cena has done all he can to keep himself as the top main event star and nothing to promote others in the company he claims to love so much. He is a serial no-seller, he has kicked out of more finishing moves than anyone in history and can recover from them and any other injuries in a blink of an eye. There have been multiple opponent matches such as Elimination Chamber where he has kicked out of multiple finishers in a row and then still won with ease. When can you ever remember Cena selling a supposed major injury for more than a week?
Here's a thought. Imagine a new WWE where Cena put over some young talent, stepped out of the spotlight and maybe even did something a bit different with his character?
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