It’s time for WWE to go big or go home. It is evident while the recent changes to the company- the brand split, the addition of brand-specific pay-per-view events and the news of additional programming on the WWE Network was exciting at first, no matter how many times you paint an old barn, the inside remains the same if you do not make permanent of drastic changes to its structure.
The plan by the McMahons to add events, develop new rivalries and hope it can keep up with the NFL, the MLB playoffs and the Presidential Election is failing. And without an earth-shattering move to keep our jaws on the floor each Monday and Tuesday night, it will continue until the end of 2016.
So, I ask with a big question mark – WHEN WILL WWE TURN JOHN CENA HEEL?
The idea of a Cena heel turn has been the one thing this company has not done to increase ratings. It’s the one thing that appears to remain untouchable. But now, it might be necessary if wrestling is to forge this new era and succeed.
“With ratings struggles for both RAW and SmackDown Live and an increasingly disinterested audience, WWE is scrambling to find a fix to their woes. That fix may come in the form of doing something big that could potentially shake professional wrestling to its core,” writes Anthony DiMoro of Forbes.com.
It’s not a new idea. We all remember Hulk Hogan turning his back on the fans and the thousands of fans crying over the large glass of spilt milk. They got over it and WCW and wrestling thrived with the adoption of a meaner, more intense brand of “wrasslin’”. The same has to happen here. If WWE can tease a Daniel Bryan return in an epic rant by The Miz and the company has not cashed in on its value to the business yet, it must take the easy way out and force everyone’s All-American to walk on the dark side. If Luke Skywalker can contemplate such drastic measures, so can Cena.
The only problem I see with this kind of move is the fact it happens on Tuesday night and not Monday. It could be a situation where Cena makes his move at Survivor Series, turning his back on Shane McMahon and Bryan with all the world to see. Much like the Hogan heel turn, fans wanted to see the red and yellow save the day. Not so fast this time, my friends. If WWE is going to continue to produce the “PG” era where the line will remain uncrossed – where chances aren’t taken with programming and the “attitude” of a new era is still lukewarm, Cena is the only option.
DiMoro wrote that while there has been a strong push by WWE’s creative team about the heel turn, the idea continually crumbles at the feet of Vince McMahon. I’m not sure if the owner of WWE sees the problems we see from a viewing audience on a weekly basis. The fact there is talk of Cena taking time off once again from action puts this kind of move on hold – for now.
Randy Orton could turn heel, Bray Wyatt could become a babyface and Roman Reigns could finally find the right side of the street to stand on, and those moves would not have the same impact as a Cena heel turn. There are very few wrestlers who have keep true to themselves for an entire career – which has served Cena well with the fans, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the military. He can still remain an embassador for this company, but right now the business needs him to rethink what’s best for business.
The idea of a heel turn will continue to be thrown around like a hot potato and rumors will persist that it will happen in the future. Until it is seen and fans react, it doesn’t exist. Only Cena and McMahon can make this decision. If ratings continue to tumble – even with the changes to programming – they may have wished they made that decision sooner, rather than later.