This is a question I’ve been asking myself for a few weeks now. I want to preface this discussion with a request – can we keep the Cena bashing to a limit here? Anyone with half an idea of how the business works can look at John and tell he’s one of the hardest working men to ever lace up a pair of boo….shoes. He’s a master at reading a crowd, a great comedian and talker (who, let’s face it, is given crappy material), and a more than solid worker. But in the annals of time, where does he rank against the big boys? I’m talking strictly in comparison with the former WWWF/WWF/WWE Champions who’ve cone before him. Does Cena go down as a Gold Standard, face of the company type who blazed a trail for the company to follow the way that men like Bruno, Hogan, and Austin did?
I know Cena is pushed as the face of the company but is he really in that class? Would he rank among the greats who were more like Backlund, Hart, and HBK, men who were Torch Bearers in dark times and managed to carry the company on their backs with their unique skills, be it an incredible workrate or an apologetically brash attitude? Maybe they didn’t break the box office or light the ratings on fire but they kept the company afloat when they were barely treading water. If this is the case, what is Cena’s unique skill that keeps fans coming back for more? Or is Cena a member of a 3rd group of stars, guys like Andre, Undertaker, and even Vince himself. These are guys who maybe aren’t always the Champion and maybe aren’t always the focal point of the shows but they’re always lurking around somewhere, they’re always involved with something, and the effects of their gimmicks/characters/angles/etc are felt for decades.
Is Cena a Pillar of the WWE? One thing is certain, Cena will go down as one of the Greats, but where does he rank once he gets there?
So, I would put John Cena at number 7 on my list. However, to me Hulk Hogan is the biggest WWE star of all time. There is certainly a case for Steve Austin, it is a very close call. I think Bruno is amazing but the business was so different back then I wonder how he would have performed in the era of big-time television. I do think Savage gets lost in WWE history a little bit. Keep in mind he was featured in 7 of the first 8 Wrestlemanias. The toughest omission for me? My beloved Glamazon… ;-)