Thursday, April 3, 2014

John Cena and "I like the man, but hate the character"

Sometimes I travel outside my comfort zone. Being a flaming liberal, sometimes I like to see what people are saying over at Fox Nation, sometimes I listen to conservative talk radio, sometimes I read YouTube comments. I tell myself the reason I do this is because I like to learn about opposing viewpoints, but really I'm just a masochist... but I don't like having my nards stepped on, so I have to find emotional pain instead.

I used to be a wrestling masochist too, I finally exorcised that demon when I told myself I didn't have to watch Nitro in 2000 and later, that I didn't have to watch TNA ever. When I launched Kick-Out in 2009, the point of the site was that neither I or you had to read copy & paste "newz" sites or go to message boards loaded with constant negativity.

But sometimes I relapse.

I've been spending a bit of time over at /r/squaredcircle, reddit's primary wrestling sub. It's not as bad as it could be, a little too internetty™ for my tastes, but I like a good wrestling debate and Twitter's 140 character limit sometimes makes it difficult.

There's an issue that comes up pretty often over there, "how do you solve a problem like John Cena?" Because like most of the "smart" fans (those don't really exist, btw), Cena is the worst, but he's also a really good dude who does good work for Make-A-Wish and has a lot of fun teasing the "We Hate Cena" crowd. John, when you acknowledge their existence, it really shows there's a thin line between love and hate.

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So this leads to a common thread that weaves itself throughout that pocket of the fanbase: "well we love Cena the man, but we hate Cena the character."

I don't think "hate the character" is the way to put it though. Look, I get your issue with John Cena, you are just tired of seeing him do the same thing over and over. I love the guy, he seems like a great person, I don't know if anyone in the history of televised wrestling has delivered in big match situations more than him, he's a great promo when he's given something to work with, and I dare you to find anyone today as hard working as Cena (he's learning Mandarin to get WWE into China for fuck's sake), but even I'm pretty much over "hey, let's give John Cena a title shot this month."

They're in a tough spot with him though, because dropping him down the card even a bit runs the risk of devaluing his mystique. Just look at guys like Del Rio, Orton and Sheamus, three top tier guys, but once they stepped down a rung to freshen things up, they lost their aura and clearly have not recovered, two are in the admittedly-cool Battle Royal and the other is in the middle of the most baffling title reign ever.

Cena's at the point now where you can make him more like The Undertaker post-2004, a guy that feels like a special attraction even though he's around pretty often, but if you have a guy that can perform at his level who can wrestle every week, why wouldn't you use him? I mentioned it in my Raw review last week, Cena vs. Bray Wyatt is quietly casting a giant shadow over WrestleMania XXX. I know we're all super stoked for the possibility of Daniel Bryan finally getting his moment, but Cena vs. Wyatt, Cena's first non-main event or non-title match ever at WrestleMania could say more about the future of the industry than anything else that happens this year.


  1. Once again, quality post!

    I must say I absolutely love your blog. You share exactly the same mindset with me when it comes to wrestling, even though I only started watching it in the early 00s. Having to deal with negative message boards (or, a negative message board, to be correct) when discussing wrestling in my mother tongue, this blog offers me an opportunity to actually chill out while reading opinions on wrestling. The Raw reviews are lengthy enough, they focus on everything that's important and they're obviously very well written.

    Keep 'em coming!