Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Whaaaaaat? A wrestling post? Is the bottom of the barrel being scraped? Lemme see [checking out the barrel]. Nope. Not yet. However, there is an event coming up on April 1st. No, I'm not talking of the upcoming nuptials between John Smith and Mary Jones. Though, you may have been invited to that, I dunno. I know MY invite was lost in the mail. What I'm talking about Wrestlemania XXXVIII (or 28), which features a main event of John Cena versus the Rock. To me, this actually seems like a bad idea. Why? Let me tell you...
Okay, the Rock is undeniably one of the most popular performers in the WWE. Several people point to his leaving the WWE as a turning point downward in the WWE product (a fact that is partially true, but has as much to do with Steve Austin and Mick Foley's departures as Rocky going Hollywood), but he has charisma, he's a big ripped dude, he's good on the mic, he's funny and he knows how to showcase his spots. What he isn't is a full-time performer, at least not anymore and herein lies the dilemma.
Now let's take a look at one John Felix Anthony Cena (yes, one of his middle names is Felix and no, I did not name him). He is arguably the top face and the top attraction in the WWE right now (CM Punk is up there). Deceptisean has always maintained that the reason people hate John Cena is because he has been foisted on us without us really wanting him foisted on us, event after event, year after year. That is partially right, but what really constitutes the unabashed hatred for the average unwashed wrestling fan for John Cena? Let's take a closer look.
Back in the 90's, there was the 'Attitude' era in WWE. What it meant was that wrestling plotlines were more "edgier" and risque, Divas wore next to nothing and were involved in embarrassing displays of physicality known as "pillow fights", the language was more cruder, as were the innuendos, double entendres, etc. In this era, performers like the Rock, D-X, Stone Cold, etc, etc. all rose to mega-stardom. Then the WWE decided to go PG (coincidentally, this is when Linda McMahon started running for political office. Yes, there is a correlation, here). To put in bluntly, WWE went the opposite direction its audience was going. I'm talking about the mouthy, pimply, 15-24 year old demographic who jam up the internet with their useless drivel and basically make life more annoying in general for the rest of us. These are the guys who hate John Cena. These are the guys who chant Cena sucks at events and buy the Cena Sucks t-shirt. These are the ones who flood message boards extolling how they hate Cena's persona and wish he would turn heel. Why the hate?
Simple. Clean cut is no longer in. You have to be "anti-hero". You have to be cool and insulting and anti-authority and apathetic to those around you. Milk-swigging, vitamin eating, prayer giving, vegetable munching faces are no longer in style. They want guys who are borderline heels, but they fight other heels, instead. John Cena is a throwback, a guy from another era, when the wrestlers tried to portray a working your ass off persona, of a guy who sacrificed it all just to entertain and please the fans. The problem is, the most vocal of the fans hate Cena. They boo him, even in his hometown of Boston. So, why is Rock versus Cena a bad idea?
Because Cena can't win. If he gets beaten by the Rock, everyone will be like there you go, he'll never be as good as the yesteryear. Never mind if it's right or not, the WWE has to keep trying to push that the product they have now is just as good if not better than the past. The performers are bigger, faster and better. If Cena falls to the Rock, then all his detractors will be proven right, he doesn't deserve his spot as the top face. Oh, but if he wins, though. That legion of fans who hate Cena will be all over the WWE. How could you let that chump beat the Rock! they'll scream. It will be just another example of the WWE pushing Cena over superior guys undeservedly. As far as I'm concerned, it's a no-win situation.
So, why write this article? Because, I actually like John Cena. The performer and the man. Listen, I've read more than one account that Cena is one of the nicest guys in the history of professional wrestling. In the HISTORY of professional wrestling. He takes the time to talk to everyone, from the jobbers to the caterers. He expresses constantly how lucky he is to be in the WWE in interviews. No one has made more 'Make-A-Wish Foundation' appearances than John Cena. The guy is hated and the worse part is, there really is no reason to hate the guy, he has just been set up to be hated because we're a stupid, twisted, perverse society, more interested in our own self-centered greed and shallow problems then what's right. John Cena worked his ass off to get to the spot he's in and his reward is a chorus of boos every single night he performs, regardless of his message of 'Rise Above Hate' and 'Honor, Loyalty, Hustle'. He's rewarded by the phrase 'Cena Sucks' being emblazoned on a t-shirt that his own company sells. He's rewarded by being the target of ridicule and derision on the internet.
Cena doesn't suck. The fans suck. The WWE sucks. The entire world sucks.