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WRESTLING COLUMNS

John Cena: Tougher Than You Think
June 7, 2006 by Rob Hitchmough


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Chicago, Illinois, April 2nd 2006. More than 17,000 people cram into the Rosemont Allstate arena and at the accumulation of a stacked card they settle down to watch the courageous, fighting champion of the people John Cena take on the villainous HHH for the "most prestigious prize in the game" the WWE title! It is not my place as a writer to tell you all about the situation surrounding the PPV that led to a somewhat bizarre change in allegiance of those 17,000 fans, everyone knows. What I do intend to do is provoke criticism from the endless "too cool to dig Cena" crowd and maybe even rile up some form of mutual opinion from one or two people who have realised that "the champ" ain't so bad after all. The real point of this article though is to prove that for all the booing, all the bashing and all the signs popping up at events that John Cena is going to come out of this stronger than ever!

Ok so I have no intention of creating a completely biased, one-sided article, three paragraphs long that doesn't really accomplish anything. So let's start off by taking a look into the reason why Cena is so disliked. We all know that the move from the pre-recorded, heavily edited SmackDown brand, to more exposing live RAW brand. The cracks started to show, as Cena appeared undeserving over the men he had queue jumped past for the gold he wore around his waist. Weak punches, a limited move set and a stale character meant that fans suddenly began to realise maybe the Doctor of Thuganomics wasn't all he was cracked up to be. Couple that with overlooked opponents with, as it was widely believed, more charisma and/or wrestling ability than our man like Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho and...well if you've read enough OWW articles you know the score, people booed Cena.

What ensued was brutal, Cena bashing grew and grew, the boos which sprang up in late 2005 (I noticed them for the first time at the pre Survivor Series RAW taping I attended in Sheffield, UK) and continued to snowball right up until our aforementioned feud with the newly proclaimed "King of Kings".

So that's the background out of the way, the history has been established, so now my beloved reader, your humble writer is going to shock you by saying that the events of the past 6 months have been the best thing that could ever have happened to John Cena!

Look at it this way, what happened to Cena happened for a reason. I am in no way trying to establish that he was undeserving of the criticism he has undergone nor am I trying to say he has solved all his downfalls. What I am saying is that one thing that was achieved by the fans turning on Cena was in that it gave him one enormous kick up the proverbial arse!

Had the fans continued to obey the classic laws of cheering the face and booing the heel then the chances are that Cena would have continued down the same boring road hitting the same boring moves, cutting the same boring promos. By now he would have forced the writing team to pull him back down into mid card anonymity where at least his shortcomings would not be exposed at the top of every card he wrestled on. Hypothetical weak face Cena would be nowhere near the level of superstardom he is now.

Thing is, whilst your "smart to the world" wrestling fans were booing him out of buildings, women and children were eating up the gimmick, and buying up every bit of merchandise the WWE could pull out of their creative machine. But In my sheltered opinion it is not the weak at the knees affect our stud had on the ladies that kept him at the top of the business, it's the fact that despite his problems, he works so God damn hard.

As little as I'm sure many people want to admit it, John Cena merited the WWE title her wears around his waist. Ok, so there may be more deserving out there, wrestlers with classically accepted better skills in the ring and on the microphone, but I will be damned if anyone can conclusively prove that John Cena has not spent his entire reign as champion working his little Nike socks off to make up for his downfalls. He is an embodiment of the work rate that needs to be put in by the figurehead of a company, which needs to be shown by the champion. How many other champions in recent years have done as much" 5 questions with the champ, the public appearances, the fan club, the CD, all examples of how John Cena lives his character 24 hours a day.

The irony of it all is though, the reason he tries so hard, is to prove wrong the people that try to bury him each and every week. The promos are better, the move list is bigger and coupled with the good fortune of having a lot of support from head office and a very willing and competent long term opponent in HHH and you can see that Cena has become a more rounded, more mature, more accessible character.

It shows as well! He is winning back at least a portion of the fans that booed him so adamantly. By running the southern states recently, WWE has managed to appeal to the less cynical side of the American wrestling fans and all of a sudden there is a future for the John Cena character in the WWE. Previously it seemed as if the only way out of the dilemma would be a heel turn or a removal from the spotlight, but persistence has got Cena through. I'm not saying that we are not due a title change, it is not my place to predict the future of the WWE, but it is this writers dedicated opinion that the WWE still has a place at the top of its card for John Cena, and a place that he deserves at that. In less pessimistic days fans would cheer similarly flawed baby face champions with the greatest dedication or boo the heels with the utmost vigor. Dare I besmirch the name of Hulk Hogan in saying that he had a similarly limited move set" Yet the same fans that find it so "cool" to mark out against John Cena were going wild for Hulkamania but 15 years ago! Now I'm not one to spark controversy...oh wait yes I am that is completely hypocritical!

Despite all this though the fact still remains that John Cena holds the most prestigious belt in the western world of pro wrestling. So why continue with the bitter, almost malicious bashing of a character that the WWE has created for you to cheer. Now don't tell anyone this but...

*Leans over and whispers*

Wrestling is a work. Why not just accept that" Surely that is how you gain maximum enjoyment from the product that seeing as we are on a wrestling website, we all want to enjoy! At the end of the day though, hey if you want to keep booing Cena, go right ahead, John Cena shall rise again...AGAIN

Thoughts, Comments, Criticism, insults" -- Hugs and Kisses -- Rob xxx

by Rob Hitchmough..


Chain Gang Chick wrote:
Yo, Rob H, no offense, but are you gay" I mean, once again, no offense, but what kind of dude says Hugs and Kisses and then puts xxx at the end of their article"
Jesse Lee wrote:
Now, I used to be a big time Cena-basher. I used to dislike him as much as others. However, after a while, I started to notice his work ethic. Sure Triple H has more talent, but all he did was wrestle the shows he's at then left. Kurt Angle, Jericho (during his reing as Undisputed Champ,) and a few others only worked the shows with a few autographs sessions here and there. I noticed how Cena improves every week in some little way and I finally see why exactly, he's so popular. He knows who he's the main attraction for and he goes for them. I remember seeing a crowd boo him one night, then chear their heads off later on. He's a hard worker and that's what I appreciate from him
Kristin F wrote:
Well, personally, Wrestlemania 22 was such a historical night. John Cena versus Triple H in the main event for the WWE title-Amazing! Recently through all of the booing and what not, John Cena has managed to be strong-maybe even stronger and more ready than ever. I love the way he has gone from new kid to WWE champion in like 4 years. And finally as a huge Cena fan, I wanna say I hope he continues the great work!
Jesse Ugland wrote:
Are you kidding me" John Cena is one of the worst WWE Champions this company has had in a long time. You want proof" Lately, the RAW announcers have been calling Cena the "most controversial champion in WWE history." Are you serious" I guess this company has completely forgotten about STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN!!!! These announcers cannot be serious. Like HHH once said "Wow, Im really scared of a guy whos number one move is pumping up his sneakers." That just about says it all
Jon Rosaler wrote:
Look who's talking, CGC. This guy is just having a good laugh by adding hugs and kisses. Your name is Chain Gang Chick, how do we know you wouldn't put the same thing at the end" Great Column, Rob. As much as I like Cena, I am getting tired of seeing him Champion. What WWE should do is make him lose it to somebody like Edge or Randy Orton and move back to Smackdown, Turn Heel, and become World Champion and feud with Batista. If WWE puts Cena in ECW, Cena will not last. Cena's will great less mixed reactions, unless the fans cheer him as a heel (which in the likely event, could happen)
Ali Borat wrote:
As you say, it is best just to take pro-wrestling as it's presented to you in order to enjoy it most. That's why week after week I watch the wrestling wanting to see HHH (or anyone really) beat up, pin, and humiliate John Cena. I don't care how many moves he can do, how accurate his gimmick is, or how hard he works every week. I just want to see him lose.
Michael Minchington wrote:
Hi Rob, good on you for writing this column.And you do bring up some good points, no doubt, cena does work his ass off in the ring, and has been in some great matches, the New Years Revolution Elimination Chamber match being a good example.Also the parallels you make between Hogan and Cena are pretty accurate.My problem with John Cena isn't so much with Cena, but with the writers who keep putting him over...the fact that the fans have regularly been booing Cena for some months now,yet he is still able to retain the Championship, is proof that the people who script these shows don't listen to the fans, and just want to squeeze as much profit out of the Cena gimmick as they can, even though it is well pst it's use-by date.It almost seems like the WWE are afraid to make Cena lose the WWE Championship, like somehow if he loses it he's just going to disappear off the wrestling landscape or something.The fans are telling the WWE "it's time for a change"...I just hope that at the One Night Stand they listen and make RVD the new WWE champ, frankly he deserves it more that Cena does, "word life" (ha ha). Oh, and as for someone being gay 'cause they put 'hugs and kisses' at the end of their column...Chain Gang Chick, I hope you are female, cause if not, THAT'S gay.
Paul McCarthy wrote:
Cena in my opinion is a poor champion look at the way he disrespects the wwe title that so many legends has held before him e.g. Bret hart, The rock and austin he is nothing like these champs which i know is unique but it is wrong y is cena so popular he cant wrestle he was a bodybuilder before he came to wwe and his promos and entrance music suck i mean what is more enticing the games music or a little bit of mist and then making a sound like a kid and then he comes out and thrashes his arms about like a kid drowning i'm sorry but i am routing for other guys to win the title someone i have respect for. ps D-X rule --- because thats how i roll
HBK_nWo33 wrote:
I personally don't agree with your article, I haven't seen any improvement in John Cena, and a lot of wrestlers do autograph sessions and WWE.com segments now. And his CD was not for his fans, his CD was for money and because HE wanted to make a CD.

Also, his in ring and mic skills are still terrible. I mean, I used to be a Cena fan, when he was heel. But after his face turn he gradually lost all his charisma and moves, and after a month or two he becane what we see now, but just a little disguised by pre-taped TV. When Cena came to Raw he was the most obvious he has ever been as an overrated, skilless champion. He has not got ANY new moves recently, with his last edition a poorly executed STF as his new finisher. He still has the now six moves to finish a match, which are so boring and repetitive that even Cena fans have to be bored.

And as for you talking about Hulkamania, I don't see any difference in WWE's choice to have John Cena as their WWE Champion as the diabolical decisions such as Diesel, Vince McMahon, Batista and JBL (but at least he had charisma) as the WWE Champion, Edge only having the title for one month, the Live Sex Celebration, and the use of Eddie Guerrero in storylines after his death.

I also am not a fan of Hulkamania, I feel a lot of the WWE's leading men are often useless people but the company gets carried on their back. Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Lex Luger, Batista, Ultimate Warrior, Mark Henry, and the Great Khali. Vince likes big muscle superstars, whether they can wrestle or not.

So in conclusion, John Cena still sucks. As will the decision tonight to reverse Rob Van Dam's title win last night at One Night Stand.
Unknown wrote:
Honestly if you watch a Cena match just once than you know all the moves in his moveset . Let me list a few : Reverse spin-out powerbomb, a jacked-up hip toss, a fisherman suplex,a fistdrop,and about two or three other suplexes in his arsenal. Yes his skills may suck but he is still a great champion no doubt about it.
Richard wrote:
Some of you people will convince yourselves of anything to feel good huh" You will suck down anything Vinnie Mac feeds you because you don't have the force of intellect to call a spade a spade. Cena sucks, always has and always will and some of us who post and write columns here know it. Good Grief, for crying out loud! Bringing back ECW with a WWE feel to it, sending Kurt Angle to ECW for five second matches, what a joke! Vinnie Mac should retire and let Paul Heyman run ECW and let Shane O' Mac run WWE.
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