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Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena Was a Missed WWE Opportunity

June 09, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

In the wake of the recent WWE Payback event it has become overwhelmingly clear that there are no plans to put the brakes on the John Cena promotional machine anytime soon. If there was ever an appropriate time to put an end to the invincible nature of Cena it was during the Bray Wyatt last man standing match at Payback. The buildup of the match was by no means perfect, but it did manage to create a revolutionary aura around the character of Bray Wyatt.

Wyatt’s promos leading up to this match made you believe that a win over Cena would usher in a new era of the WWE, an era free of the blandness of the PG era. A clean win for Wyatt could have been the catalyst for not only a new WWE but a new John Cena as well. For the past decade Cena has been booked using the Hogan model. Essentially he has been built into an unstoppable superhero that always overcomes the odds and never gives up. In the 1980’s the superhero booking of Hogan worked amazingly because it so masterfully echoed the social mindset of the average American. Hogan represented the personal values of the core of the WWE audience.

He said his prayers, took his vitamins, and kicked ass in the name of the good old USA. Of course society changed overtime and the WWE gracefully adapted to a newer generation of fans that were fed up with PG characters like Hogan. Wrestling fans didn’t want Superman anymore, they wanted Batman, and so in the mid-90’s the WWE took a darker and more mature approach with the Attitude era. The top guys during the Attitude era properly reflected the social climate of the 90’s. Stone Cold and the Rock were loud and abrasive badasses with an affinity for sticking it to the man. The headliners of the Attitude era reflected the traits found in other forms of popular entertainment at the time and that is why those characters got over so well with the fans.

Fast forward to present day and the WWE is trying its hardest to regress back to the 1980’s. They are giving the fans the superheroes of yesteryear and by doing so they are failing to adapt to the current social climate. It’s obvious that the fans are rejecting Cena because his Superman persona is simply not in demand and it does not properly reflect the values of the fans. The WWE universe has made it abundantly clear that they are ready for a more complex character. They want to see wrestlers with real human traits.

They want to see flawed characters and they want to see those characters overcome those flaws to become superstars. The fans are demanding human characters that they can identify with and instead they are given the flawless and invincible John Cena. The only two people on Earth who can identify with John Cena are Superman and Chuck Norris, that’s why you hear over half of the crowd chanting “CENA SUCKS!” at every single WWE event he appears on.

Payback was a chance for the company to give us a new Cena, a Cena humbled by a loss to Bray Wyatt. This could have made Cena an altogether more interesting character and would have propelled Wyatt to the next level. Now of course Cena apologists are going to argue that he must maintain his unbeatable position in the company because he sells so much merchandise. A lot of people are going to argue that Cena is good for business.

I have to wholeheartedly disagree with those who defend Cena on the grounds that he is best for business. In fact I will go as far as to say that John Cena is hurting the WWE financially. He may be selling more merchandise than anyone else on the roster, but that’s because the WWE has spent more time and money marketing Cena than anyone else in the WWE. The WWE could put anyone else in Cena’s promotional position and they would sell just as much merchandise or possibly more! This brings me to my point as to why Cena is actually hurting business.

He is the WWE’s pet project in terms of pushing merchandise yet fully HALF OF THE CROWD hates his guts! Can you imagine how much merch money the WWE would be bringing in if they put the same amount of promotional effort behind a wrestler that at least 90% of the crowd supported?  The WWE is financially and creatively handicapping their product by allowing Cena to run roughshod over the entire roster!

Payback was a missed opportunity to give the fans what they have been demanding for almost a decade. The people want to see an end to the invincible John Cena. A good businessman gives the people what they want and knows how to change with the times. Let’s see if the WWE can truly do what’s best for business by bringing their programming up to speed.

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