John Cena has been the social media whipping boy among pro wrestling fans for the last five years. The Cena-hate is finally starting to dissipate and for those remaining holdouts, it is time to give Cena the respect and appreciation he deserves.
Look, I will be upfront with you. I am not a big fan. His gimmick doesn’t do it for me, but there are a lot of wrestlers I have watched in over 30 years that I didn’t necessarily like but respected. This blog is about giving the devil his due and paying respect to a guy that deserves it arguably over anyone else on the current WWE full-time roster.
There are several facts that whether or not you like John Cena, you can’t dispute. He has been a top guy and draw consecutively longer than any pro wrestler in pro wrestling history. Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and Ric Flair may have entertained you more in and out of the ring, but none of them had the longevity that Cena has had.
Sure, circumstances were different and Cena hasn’t had a number of challengers to his throne that those legends have had. However, the numbers don’t lie. If Cena wasn’t drawing ratings, selling merchandise, and generating pub for the company, he would have been replaced by now. Don’t get me wrong. The company has tried to replace him with CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Batista, Roman Reigns, and even Triple H at times. Yet none of those guys had the drawing power and the ability to connect with the masses that Cena has.
I don’t think anyone other than Hulk Hogan connected with young fans the way Cena has. I went to a WWE house show in Philadelphia (yes that Philadelphia who booed Roman Reigns out of the building) and the place was full of kids in all age ranges with Cena shirts and Cena signs. Austin, Rock, Sammartino, and Bret all connected with an older audience. Hulk had the kids, but even he eventually became “uncool” among that age group. John Cena has withstood the test of time and is just as popular with 10-year old kids today as he was five years ago….maybe even more so.
I have mixed opinions on Cena in the ring. I have my criticisms of him such as openly calling spots and his “interesting” psychology at times, but overall the guy is a great performer. He rarely delivers a bad match and hasn’t in a long time. Matches with Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Dean Ambrose, Rey Mysterio, Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, and Kevin Owens prove that Cena is motivated to have great matches. Even his feud with Rusev, who is hardly the workhorse the other guys were or are, still had exciting matches with Cena. While his feud with Randy Orton may have been uninspiring, the matches were all pretty good. He has never been accused by workhorses of slowing them down the way Hogan has been accused by former foes over the years. The guy obviously thrives on great matches with great workers. Just read some of the comments made by those former foes and see how much they enjoyed working with him if you don’t believe me.
The WWE would be a much different place today without John Cena and we should all be grateful he’s there. Like him or not, you can’t argue with ratings during those periods the company experiments on phasing him out. Even as recently as last month when the company was phasing Cena out to the middle of the pack, RAW did historically low numbers. The fans have spoken and that’s why he is co-headlining SummerSlam and will probably be wearing the WWE world title before you know it.
John Cena doesn’t suck…you do for not giving the guy the respect he deserves. It’s time to move on and pick on someone else.