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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Jumping off the Anti-Cena Bandwagon
September 4, 2007 by Jeffrey C.


Editor's Note: The author of this column can be contacted via the OWW Forums, where this submission was first posted. Feedback can be posted automatically by clicking here - but remember you must sign up for the forums to post feedback on a column. Thanks you!


Why I Jumped Off the Bandwagon - I was just like you. I loved to hate John Cena; so much so that I stopped watching RAW for an extended period of time, just because he was the WWE Champion. I despised everything about the man; his look, his character, his moveset, everything. I found pride in ridiculing WWE writers for giving him a push that he clearly didn't deserve. I joked about the mockery he was making of professional wrestling and even tuned in to other wrestling promotions that were "all about wrestling" for nothing more than hating Cena.

But times, they are a changing. More and more lately, I've been watching John Cena and liking what I'm seeing. It's actually weird for me because almost overnight I go from hating a man to him slowly but surely becoming my favorite wrestler to tune in to. And I just want to give you a little insight as to what has made me cross that proverbial line. Why I jumped off the wagon and joined up with the enemy.

The Championship Reign - It really must be your favorite thing to do in any given day to bash on John Cena's WWE Championship Title reign. For the last month or so, it's been the most talked about subject. Does John Cena deserve it? Why didn't Austin/Rock get one? Even Triple H. How can a man that clearly "no one" cares about, be given the WWE Championship, and much less, be given it for going on a year now? I know it's not 1960, but let's take a trip back. 30 years ago, it was nothing for a champion to reign for a year. In fact, it could be said that before 1980, a title reign was a failure if it didn't go at least a year. I know that television has changed that. No longer do wrestling fans only get to see the champion once a month at best. But wrestling fans in 1960 weren't mentally retarded. They knew how long champions had held the title. They didn't care. Why? Because they enjoyed wrestling for what it was. They cheered the champion, and they booed the heel. They were wrestling fans. Fans have a role in every wrestling show. And 20-30 years ago, fans knew how to be a fan.

The Attitude Era changed all that. Fans could make a face a heel and vice versa on a nightly basis. And wrestling allowed them to do it. If someone was getting booed, they would change over almost overnight. So what has changed? It's obvious that John Cena receives boos from the crowd. Why isn't the WWE making him a heel? It might have something to do with the fact, that the boos you hear on television, only represent a small portion of the fans in attendance. You hear the boos so clearly because they come out in portions of the match when the rest of the crowd is silent. But it is undeniable that Cena receives a huge positive reaction when his music hits. He gets cheered when he mounts a comeback, and is applauded when he wins a match. WWE decided to do something different. They were going to be smart.

John Cena is the top profiteer for the WWE at the time of this writing. His merchandise sales are through the roof. He sells out arenas everywhere he goes. Point blank, whether you like him or not, he's the top commodity of the WWE. WWE saw value in keeping him a face. But don't get it twisted. The second that changes, you will most likely see the heel turn. So, that explains why Cena is still the top face of the company.

But what about the title reign? I think we have become spoiled with the Attitude brush of title changes where writers (when met with a stale moment) would write in a title change to keep things fresh. Title changes will almost ALWAYS bring higher ratings to a show. Fans are always interested in 'new' things. And what most fans are upset about is 'the same old' John Cena as champion. Tuning in, you are almost guaranteed to see John Cena retain. Am I tired of seeing John Cena retain his title? The short answer.. no, I'm not. Three years ago, I would have said yes. But I put on my thinking cap one night and run this one around for a while.

What John Cena is doing for the WWE title is something extraordinary and I want to share it with you. Wrestling has almost always been a company built around the quick buck. Anytime someone comes up with a good idea, they blow it as fast as possible to change the ratings. wCw was infamous for this. Even WWE is guilty of it, but they did it so many times that their ratings stayed on top. wCw couldn't match their continuity of short selling and ended up going out of business. But wCw gave us two things before they died, that is the epitome of "waiting out a storyline" to get the maximum profit.

Goldberg. Everyone knows about the undefeated streak. And what made that undefeated streak so great? Wondering who was going to be the man who ended it. It wasn't so much about Goldberg as much as it was about his opponent. Fans tuned in week after week just to see who was going to be the man to end it, or if Goldberg was going to keep it alive. The ending to this was hell, but you have to admit wCw profited off of it for a long, long time.

Sting/Hogan. wCw could have just brought Sting back, and the next week had him defeat Hogan for the title. How much money would they have made off of that? It would have rivaled any other PPV they had done to that point, for sure. Returning wrestlers sell. But what they did was something very different. Instead of having him come back and face Hogan.. they just had him... come back. No match. Instead, he waited it out. Hogan's reign was something vicious. No one could beat him. But the fans knew who could, and he was in the ceiling. The fans hated Hogan so much that it could have been anyone who beat him. But everyone knew it was going to be Sting. So the pressures mounted. wCw didn't give them what they wanted when they wanted it. Instead they held off. When the time came, wCw made record profits off of the PPV.

So what did we learn from wCw? It's that selling short a story will make you money, but waiting it out will make you a bucket of money. A lot of the fans clearly want to see John Cena lose the title. So what does the WWE need to do? They need to have someone beat John Cena for the title. But if Cena loses tomorrow, will it have been short sold? You damn right it would have been. WWE has JUST began scratching the surface on the money that can be made off of Cena as champion. It is unknown how many people tuned in to see Cena/Orton, but it looks as if it will have been a LOT of people. Everyone was sure that Orton was going to take the title. Done with fake news stories, and hype on Orton. The fans were let down. No title change.

So when does the WWE do this? Next month, the one after? How about neither. If John Cena loses the WWE Championship before WrestleMania, I will be VERY surprised. Think about it this way. With a fresh opponent, the WWE will drag new fans into the title storyline and get them hooked. You drag the Orton fans in, they will be ticked that Cena won and will continue to watch until he does lose. You then bring in Triple H fans and they will be hooked. All of these people will continue to watch until Cena loses the title where they will cheer. All that is certain is that WWE will milk this. They will make people believe that John Cena can't lose. And they will wait until they are for certain that everyone is watching before they actually have him do it. WrestleMania.

What Has He Done for the Title. - It's called credibility, something that has been missing for a long damn time. When a title changes often, the fans get used to it. They expect the titles to change. That makes a quick dollar for the WWE, but ruins them in the long run. With frequent title changes, it makes it less of a special thing. If EVERYONE has held the title, what is so special about winning it? If a wrestler can only win the title and hold it for 2-3 months, what was so great about his reign? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

And the length of a title reign doesn't have nearly as much to do with the reign as what is done during the reign. If a champion can't beat EVERYONE, why is he the champion? Everyone is pissed that Cena is beating their favorite wrestlers. Well, duh. He's the champion. Just look at this record. JUST on this title reign, Cena has a win over wrestlers such as: Edge, Nitro, Umaga, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, Bobby Lashley, and the Great Khali. While some aren't considered "championship material" they have been at least booked as so.

Cena is defeating every contender coming his way. The sign of a true champion. Not just legends, but great "in-ring" performers, and monster-like wrestlers. He is believable as a champion at this point. It doesn't matter what type of a wrestler they were, Cena has been able to take them on and come out on top. He's being booked as unstoppable, which makes it even more remarkable when he is stopped. Which brings me to the next point.

What is He Doing for the Next Champion? - Can you imagine if the month after John Cena beat Edge for the WWE Championship if he lost it to say.. Mr. Kennedy? Would he have been welcomed with open arms as the champion? A lot of people would say that it was too soon, Cena was just a transitional champion, Kennedy isn't championship material.

Fast forward. Let's say it's WrestleMania 24. Wrestlers such as Mr. Kennedy or MVP have won the Royal Rumble and challenge Cena for the title. If either of them come out on top, imagine how the wrestling world will feel about them. You have a lot to think about. Cena was a man that couldn't be beaten, and he was just beaten. The person who beats him will be considered to be a "real champion" because he did something no other wrestler (not Edge, not Orton, not Michaels) could do. The fans are going to accept that person as champion in that caliber.

Now let's assume it's someone who is already considered "championship material." Someone such as Orton. Think about what he just did. He just ended the year and a half reign as champion of John Cena. How is the guy not already the most over wrestler on the roster? Cena isn't putting himself over as champion right now. He's already done that. What he's doing right now, by beating all of your favorite wrestlers, is putting over the next champion. Think of it this way. Orton won the World Heavyweight Championship from Chris Benoit in 2004. And his title reign was a failure; granted, that had a lot to do with him being a face. But do you not think that it had a little to do with the fact that Benoit hadn't held the title but a couple of months? Would Orton's win have meant more if Benoit had been a champion for a year? Of course it would. And it's easy to see that by how many people were ready to embrace Orton as champion if he beat Cena at Summer Slam.

John Cena is the Definition of a Champion. - Think outside the box now. What makes a champion? Someone that can wrestle good? Someone that can talk good? Yeah those are great things. But the thing that comes to WWE's mind is someone that can mentor wrestlers in the back. Give them a leader to look up to. John Cena is that definition.

When not in the ring, it's unknown how much charity work he does. Instead of going to the bar, he's signing autographs for fans. Instead of tearing up his hotel room, he's down in the lobby in a meet and greet. Instead of failing the Wellness Policy, he's meeting with Soldiers and giving them a hero.

John Cena carries himself as a Champion. Not only inside the ring, but outside the ring. It's hard for a company to say, let's take the title off of that guy and give it to that wrestler over there who has been in trouble since the day he got here. That wrestler has a bad attitude, been kicked out of arenas, airports, hotels, etc. Whereas Cena is professional in all aspects of everything he is doing. Never does he say an unkind word about other wrestlers, wrestling, or anything. He's a great spokesman for his company. Easily point, John Cena acts like a champion, so the choice was simple to make him one.

Closing. - John Cena has impressed me. Not with the largest arsenal of moves. Not with the impressive ability to rock a microphone. But by carrying himself as a champion, putting over the man who beats him for the title, and giving the WWE Championship credibility that it hasn't seen in decades. John Cena is a champion. And I have decided to be a real fan of professional wrestling. I have decided to cheer the face, someone I feel deserving to be a champion, John Cena. Thank you.

by Jeffrey C. (View/Submit your feedback here)..




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