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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Why John Cena DOESN'T Suck
January 17, 2006 by Danny Walker


Ever since John Cena came to RAW as a result of the Draft Lottery all I have been hearing on various Discussion Forums it 'Cena Sucks!' I am one of the very few people that disagree with that. I have had many 'debates' with a lot of people about John Cena since mid last year, and for most of the time it seemed I was losing each of them; then I began a search, a search for the reasons why John Cena DOESN'T suck. And for the last couple of weeks I have posted this and have received absolutely NO feedback. Here is my argument:

First of all, let's define the very first thing comes to mind when we say [place name here] sucks: In-ring ability. Right now the complaint is that John Cena uses five or six moves. What you need to remember is that WWE base their shows on storylines over actual matches. John Cena plays a gimmick; the gimmick is a streetwise thug. Now, when was the last time you saw a fight between two thugs in which one of them began a chain wrestling competition" Exactly. Cena can play this gimmick well, and so limits his wrestling to those six moves. So, where is my evidence he had decent wrestling ability before he won the title" See for yourself. Early WWE SmackDown! days and especially in OVW, he was a great wrestler. Think back to his first match with Kurt Angle a few years ago; great match I would say, and it wasn't just because of Kurt. But in-ring ability doesn't mean just wrestling, it also means selling, which he is excellent at (I would even say he sometimes over-sells). Then there is ring presence/psychology; his moves are executed with perfect timing, and his psychology is way up in the leagues of Triple H and Chris Benoit - at least in my opinion. This was the easiest point of discussion to discover.

Second, what gets a wrestler pushed" Crowd reactions. Before he had the title, and after he won the title he could be described as the biggest drawer and greatest face in the WWE at the time. Now he seems to have fallen, as he gets booed on a weekly basis for mainly having a bad gimmick. I do not like the gimmick, but guess what, it is not Cena's fault. He was told to do the gimmick and he does it with a smile on his face. Anyone else that would have attempted that gimmick would have failed within a couple of weeks; yet he rose to main event level and won the title at WrestleMania. And he still draws, but mainly to children and females for his looks. But, all you need to do is realise that the gimmick was not his idea, and this was pretty easy to realise.

Okay, what's next" Something that can make or break a wrestler would be what he is like behind the scenes. John Cena, backstage, is said to be three things. 1) A Nice Guy. This will explain why he over-sells, and how he (used to) put people over. Easy to work with, has no enemies, friends with everyone, you name it. 2) Has A Great Work-Rate. When was the last time you heard he never turned up for an autograph signing, or was late to a show" He does what ever is told of him by writers and management ( i.e. his gimmick). And 3) He Is Very Respectful. When he was a mid-card talent, he always seemed like the underdog midway through the match, and for some reason he barely used any offence; in my opinion, that was because he didn't want to slip up or come across as arrogant, and also because he respects the veterans and those higher up the card than him. For all of these reasons, guys like Hogan and Triple H and as I discovered, even Stone Cold Steve Austin have said they would like to work with him.

What else makes a Superstar" The Look" Check. Mic Skills" Check, and is close to being in the same league as The Rock. Youth" Check.

So in closing, I have provided evidence of why John Cena doesn't suck, and in fact have provided reasons why he is at the top of the business at the moment. I can't wait to see how many people disagree (which will be most) and reasons why they disagree.

by Danny Walker ..

[See What People Are Saying About This Column on the Forums]


Chris Pugsley wrote:
Thank you, I am not a John Cena fan but this is exactly what I have been trying to explain to people when they say Cena sucks. Great article.
michael nader wrote:
I agree Cena shouldn't be booed for doing his job. I mean it's not like Cena has any control over whether he wins his matches or not. I think people were booing because they were expecting Angle to take the title from Cena, and felt Cena was a roadblock to an Angle era. But yeah, that's not Cena's fault.
LaryLagerLout wrote:
Totally Agree.everything you say is true. good column.
Phil wrote:
Danny does present an interesting and somewhat persuasive article regarding Cena's status as a valid superstar; however, I'm inclined to disagree, as I'm sure that he foresaw once he had written the article.

First and foremost, notwithstanding the fact that Cena has intriguing mic skills, he is in no way comparable to the Rock, especially considering the fact that his tedious and monotonous "rap" tirades tend to become tiresome to the ear. Additionally, Cena's in-ring ability is so atrocious, that his ability to "sell" could never overshadow the measly five moves and five knuckle shuffle garbage (reminiscent of the People's Elbow") he uses. And really, how much longer will his merchandise sell as it was able to previously" Evidently, recent sales have begun to decline, and will inevitably continue (is this a reason why he was stripped of the title"). Also, how can fans reasonably accept, night after night, that this mediocre wrestler, with a very limited array of moves, could defeat wrestlers of the likes and caliber of Kurt Angle, etc."

And although he is a truly nice guy with an impeccable backstage attitude, that is not reason enough to catapult someone to star status. In fact, this should be expected of EVERY wrestler or professional in any environment. He shouldn't get brownie points for acting the way he is expected to act. And someone's looks should not be a validation of one's wrestling prowess, otherwise dudes like Paul London or Grenier should be champs, with Candice Michelle carrying the heavyweight gold.

Finally, people are just sick and tired...sick and tired of Marky Mark strutting down to ringside, with that blasphemous spinning bling-bling strapped to his waist, spewing unintelligible insults at everyone, and wrestling like Chris Masters or Mark Jindraak (i.e., not like a wrestler).

Now, I don't mean to say that Cena is so terrible; in fact, he is good enough to star in main event cards, but not as a face...if he resorted to his old ways as a heel, with people hating his acts a la Men on a Mission, smashing faces' faces with his chain, and acting like an incorrigible hoodlum and leading a stable, then we're talking. But to consider him as WWE's representative champ is getting tiresome, and I hope Kurt and Edge are able to keep those titles beyond Royal Rumble (especially Kurt, but that's for a later article).
Rosie-Mike wrote:
cena doesn't suck but the character that he portrays in the ring does. Most poeple just dont like the way that wwe is pushing cena with the gimmick he has right now. while i dont like his gimmick i do have respect for what he does. i have respect for every person that goes out and puts his body on the line to entertain poeple. i cant speak for everyone but a lot of poeple dont hate john cena the person but john cena the gimmick.
Jack MacLaine wrote:
John Cena does suck Mr. Walker. John Cena represents everything that I hate of what wrestling is becoming: Entertainment. Just look at Cena. He has a rap album, music videos, etc. Vince is trying to branch out the WWE to other forms of entertainment, replacing WRESTLING with boobs, and gansta rap and his poster boy Cena is leading the way.

Your right though, in his early days Cena used to be a promising talent, untill Vince told him to down it down so he won't get injured and Vince can stuff more money down his pockets. His gimmick is questionable. If he act more like a full-fledged thug instead of a gansta rapper and turned heel then his gimmick I could stomache. The bottom-line is this; Cena was pushed to early, has a terrible gimmick, does the same move over and over, made the WWE title to a spinning pizza pan, and to top it all off, a puppet for Vince McMahon's agenda in replacing the wrestling with entertainment.
Bjoern Asprem wrote:
While you bring up some valid points about WWE screwing up Cena's push, he still is not deserving of the WWE title in my opinion. Ring psychology close to Benoit and Triple H" Give me a break, the guy's green and has obviously not seen the point in improving his ring work. His moves are sloppy, and he has the absolutely worst finisher since the People's Elbow. A fireman's carry" The guy drops you from the shoulder and you're supposed to be knocked silly" If he is going to attempt a DVD, why doesn't someone teach him how to do a DVD" Because he'll probably botch it and break someone's neck, that's why.

JBL ruled supreme on Smackdown for 10 months, defeating Eddie Guerrero, Undertaker (several times), Booker T and Kurt Angle.. then falls prey to a shoulder throw"

I'm sorry, I don't buy Cena as a main eventer as he is now. A proper build-up, six months hard training with Dean Malenko.. then maybe..
Matt V. wrote:
Fast forward to Cena winning the title. Who carried him" JBL. That started off horribly enough. But things looked up when Cena feuded with Christian and Chris Jericho as soon as he headed to RAW. Things looked good. Heck, even a match with Triple H was soon becoming the match most fans wanted to see. But no, he gets thrown in a 4-month long feud with Kurt Angle. And Angle didn't carry Cena as well as he could, probably because he knew he wasn't going to get the win.

This proves the point that at this point in his career, Cena needs someone to carry him. He has the mic work down, but the ring work needs a heck of a lot of improvement in order for the fans to get solidly behind him on his own. He can't add a STF and expect people to forget about his lack of wrestling ability. And this needs to be mentioned: Cena is only getting cheered at the expense of saving Ric Flair. It happened after the "sex" segment, and it happened last week. Take away Ric Flair, which is what makes Edge the credible heel that he is, and Cena would be cheered a lot less than he has been.
Ian McLendon wrote:
I like John Cena; he's gold on the microphone. However, I do not enjoy watching him wrestle. I haven't seen thugs start a chain wrestling competition, but I haven't seen thugs flying shoulderblock, hit multiple clotheslines, side spin powerbomb thing, Five Knuckle Shuffle, and FU each other either. This is how John Cena ends the majority of his matches and I find it boring. He may have had excellent matches pre WWE, but he's not having excellent matches now, in my humble opinion.
Jonathan Ayres wrote:
How dare you say Cena is in in the same league as a young Rock. the great one was amazing on the mic, and did brilliant matches and had his millions and millions of fans. Cena hasn't done a decent match for like 2 years. His gimmick sucks, and the way he generally is just annoys me eg his "chain gang" and the FU has to be the worst finisher ever, a suplex is more effective. As long as Cena continues the way he does, he will always be booed and it will get worse.
Izzy Rankin wrote:
You're right about John Cena's gimmick not being his fault, but you're wrong about the reason. Think about John Cena's background. He's white and from West Newbury, Massachusetts, a town, according to the 2000 census is 98.48% white. He was not given the gimmick of a streetwise thug, but that of a UMC (upper middle class) white kid trying to be hood. It was designed to annoy the fans and it worked... sort of. Towards the end of 2003, for whatever reason, he started recieving a positive crowd reaction. Week after week on Smackdown his popularity grew as the fans were amused by his "freestyle" rap promos. Then he teamed up with Kurt Angle to take on Team Lesnar at Survivor Series where he truly shined, F-Uing the 500+ pound Big Show to win the match for Team Angle leaving him and Chris Benoit as the survivors. Thus began his U.S. Title push into 2004 and then his 2005 WWE title run...

One thing that didn't help Cena remain over as a face with the fans was the fact that he fueded with Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle. You've seen that WWE has done everything they possibly could do to get the fans to boo Angle (attacking women, Davari being his manager, insulting the American troops, censoring the fans, etc.) and the fans just won't boo the guy. Since he dropped Davari as his manager on RAW this past Monday, it looks like he might turn face. Same thing with Jericho. Superstars like Christian Cage, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, and Kurt Angle have huge cult followings as well as the unwavering support of the IWC, seeing how any wrestler who doesn't have in-ring skills comparable to theirs gets shit on, hardcore style.

Also, here's evidence that John Cena has in-ring ability. Brock Lesnar at Backlash 2003, The Undertaker at Vengeance 2003, Kurt Angle at No Mercy 2003, the best of five series with Booker T in 2004, and his work as the Prototype in OVW. The smarks of the IWC love to pretend these matches never happened... If you haven't seen any of these matches, look them up on YouTube.com or buy the DVDs and you'll see what I'm talking about.
Mark NY wrote:
Im on the fence about this one, I like John Cena, when he's cutting a promo, but the minute a match starts I just start to hate him again. His matchs make Goldberg seem like a really really good wrestler. The punches then some more, then the closelines, then the hiptoss, then other wrestler comes back, then Cena comes back with more punchs. Minutes later he hits the 5 knuckle shuffle the the Firemens....I mean the F-U. We all know he's most likely going to win it back at Rumble,and then go on the Job to God (who the WWE likes to call HHH) Anyway that's all for me
S A Veness wrote:
It's about time someone said something i was booing Cena from my tv set, he just is'nt and will never be a great WWE superstar like HHH, Shawn Micheals, Undertaker, Mick Foley, Austin and The Rock (to name a very small few), but the trouble is he thinks he is but he's just the king of CHAVS and everyone who cheers for him is a CHAV. John Cena's entire title reign was quite simply the most boring period in WWE history, im a huge RAW fan so please someone chuck him over to Smackdown not Kurt Angle!!! Or better still just let him become a full time crap rapper get him out the WWE alltogether!!!
Curtis McLean wrote:
Alright, when I am watching WWE, and a John Cena match is about to start, I have an expectation. I know he's going to come out to a big pop, then do a match where he gets about 2% of the offence in, then wins with 3 clotheslines, a badly attempted Blue Thunder Driver, a 5-knuckle shuffle then the F-U.

I also know that he will oversell moves, until later when he completely forgets about them, case and point, Kurt Angle vs John Cena at No Way Out 2005. After being in an ankle lock for 2 minutes, Cena gets up, RUNS across the ring, rams Angle into the corner, F-U, it's over. It is clearly a problem of Cena doing polar opposites, he is the babyface in distress, but he is also untouchable, which makes no sense and horribly takes away from all his matches. He is getting worked over for the entire match, then wins with 3 moves ALL the time. It really takes away from the excitement. It's even worse that he trained and worked with Samoa Joe and Frankie Kazarian, two very talented people, with good mic work. But then again Lance Cade and Paul London also trained together.

On to the character. It is lame and stupid. He is a "street thug" from West Newberry, the biggest ghetto in Massachusetts apparently. He makes gay references to all his opponents, just look at that one with Show, HBK, Carlito and others, then 5 mintues later he said to Bishoff, that it's cool to be gay. And remember folks, Cena writes his own raps.

Next case is why he is where he is. He is there because Stephanie MacMahon was impressed by his freestlyes, that is the basis for his push, sure, at first the fans liked it because it was popular at the time, but that fad has ended, the white rapper schtik is dead and not working.

I'll give him one thing, I have seen him live and after the show, he was very respectful and nice, and even told this group of kids to settle down because they almost knocked over a little girl. Backstage I know he's a class-act, but the problem is, on screen he just doesn't get it done. While I agree, it isn't his fault that he sucks, it's the WWE's, but I still dread any and all Cena matches because I know he's going to win, I don't think he will, I know he will. A new gimmick, a new perspective and a new booking style for him is all he needs to win the crowd back.
Jenny McHenry wrote:
HI, well, I read all this and decided I will comment. I do not agree that Cena is anything like the Rock or ever will be, there completely different. But I'm not saying that is a bad thing!! The Rock was great in his way, a face or heel, and an awesome wrestler. One person here said it's bad that Cena has albums and videos, well I'm sorry, but no one complained about Hogan having Movies, appearing in shows (A-Team) or Stone Cold appearing in the one TV show on regularbasis, having his one character. Or take the Rock at first no one minded the Movies and I remember him being cheered to at WM20!!! Cena might not be the greatest wrestler out there, and I can't agree with the look thing because I personally think he looks like the "michellin man". I do not believe he should be booed in that way though, he doesn't deserve that! And with his statement the other week on Raw I believe he was very honest!!! Maybe he should turn heel, I think it would be the perfect gimmick for him and it has worked before to get the fans hasn't it.
D. Robin wrote:
I really disagree, the reason John Cena is booed is because his gimmick has grown so stale that even every 8 year old that is a John Cena fans is sick of his bad raps, and calling people gay. Another thing is that he can use more then 5 moves, the reason he doesn't is because he has gottem too comfortable, which proves that he doesn't have a great work rate. When he was new in WWE he was afraid of getting fired and had to prove himself as average midcarder who is fairly charsmatic, and he did that well. However, as soon as he started to get a push, he got too comfortable and began to put on bad matches. The only reason John Cena is getting a push is not because of the crowd reactions, it's because his merchandise sells, and a lot of it!
Richard wrote: Danny, Cena sucks Danny, get used to it................
courtney and chloe wrote:
First of all, i would just like to say that i totally agree with the column! John Cena doesn't suck and yes even though his gimmick can sometimes seem cliche, he still pulls it off with a sense of pride and does not let the haters get to him. and for the people who are sick of his storylines...stephanie mcmahon and JBL are the ones to blame!
CMA wrote:
Nice try Danny Walker but sorry mate your not giving us anything new here, this article you've written is the same thing most Cena fans are writing.

'look at his debut match against Kurt Angle' -Ok that was then (4 years ago) and this is now, Cena is being booed for what he's doing now and Cena fans have got to stop living in the past by bringing this match up all the time. Oh and by the way his opponent was Kurt Angle I mean.....come on!

The rest of what you've written let's face it is opinion/preference, so you buy into the whole 'chain gang' and 'hustle, loyalty, respect' thing.....ok but don't go claiming that you're speaking facts because that is entirely untrue.

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