If you ask my opinion about the greatest professional wrestler of all time, I will not hesitate and say that Ric Flair is the greatest to ever wear a world title.
In my opinion, Hulk Hogan was a great entertainer, but he could not carry a jockstrap to Flair and his ability to wrestle, work off the crowd, make mid card performers look like a million bucks and most of all, sell for his opponents and rake in money at the turnstile.
It can be argued, as it was in the Encyclopedia of Professional Wrestling that the two greatest wrestlers of all time are Flair and Lou Thesz. Some would argue Hogan, some might say Harley Race and some might argue Triple H or a Randy Orton.
But how about John Cena? Where does the 14-time world champion rank with all of the greats of all time?
According to 24wrestling.com, “WWE’s World Heavyweight champion John Cena was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on FOX Business on Tuesday morning to promote his new line of children’s clothing, available exclusively at Kmart. Cena made a number of newsworthy comments during the segment, talking about how long he plans to continue wrestling and revealing that his character generates $100 million a year for WWE.”
While the brand brings in that much money for the WWE, is he the type of champion, who has had long title reigns and has worked with the likes of Orton, Edge, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan in what could be argued as the four toughest opponents of all time, does Cena belong in the same class as a Flair or Thesz as the greatest of all time? He is considered the Hogan of this generation and a wrestler who can move merchandise and is the WWE’s cash cow, much like Hogan and The Rock before him.
I am still on the fence about this one.
Hulk Hogan was more style over substance and always have been. He could wrestle, but his matches were short and telegraphed. He “Hulked up” and won. And while he beat the best of his time (Paul Orndorff, King Kong Bundy, Undertaker, and Andre the Giant) he was more entertainment than anything.
Cena is a marketing machine, an entertainer and a wrestler (in that order). He is a better interview than Hogan, as charismatic as a Randy Savage and as resilient as Arn Anderson.
But his love and hate (Tebow-like) relationship with the WWE Universe makes him the wild card in this kind of discussion, and it provides great fodder for us pundits.
Take away part of the vanilla image and the promotional gimmick, would we see a more competent wrestler, a performer who sometimes goes through the motions and hates to sell for his opponents and looks half despondent in the ring with the likes of Alberto Del Rio and R-Truth.
But Cena, true to form continues to stand by the fact he loves what he does.
“I truly am obsessed with my action in the ring, but I am also truly obsessed with the business of WWE,” he said. “I enjoy the workings of the company and how we create success in WWE, both in a brand perspective and an individual perspective. So, I take the model that my boss Vince McMahon has stretched out throughout the globe and try to copy it at an individual level.”
Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71
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