John Cena, or ‘Big Match John’ as he is sometimes known, has been the face of WWE for almost a decade.
Spearheading the Ruthless Agression Era, WWE quickly dropped his ‘Doctor of Thuganomics’ gimmick and turned him into the role model he is today. His ‘Hustle, Loyalty, Respect’ and ‘Never Give Up’ gimmick is something the majority of us could live by in general life, and his tribute to the troops serving abroad has been a fantastic image for the young people watching the TV show.
Cena has been involved in some of the biggest draws in WWE history. His matches with The Rock are considered legendary (even though you could hear him shout the spots at every opportunity).There is no doubt that at one point he was the biggest thing on the roster.
However, in recent years, Cena’s popularity has dropped and he no longer remains as over with the fans as he once was. This could be attributed to a number of things but I believe the main ones are that the fan base he originally had have grown older and are not sold by his clean cut gimmick anymore and the fact that the WWE allowed Brock Lesnar to demolish him at Summerslam 2015, more or less feeding him to The Beast Incarnate.
As we approach this year’s Royal Rumble, Cena once again finds himself in the WWE Championship picture. If he manages to wrestle the belt away from AJ Styles then that will mean Cena has equaled Ric Flair’s record and become a 16 time world champion. But does he really deserve this accolade?
The coin of this particular argument has two sides. Whether or not you are a hardcore fan or a casual viewer, you can’t deny that Cena has been one of the most successful, if not the most successful, wrestlers of this generation. He continues to put on good matches and he still manages to sell merchandise.
Cena still remains over to some extent with the younger generation of fans now being introduced to wrestling. Last year he had an outstanding run with the US Championship, which helped re-establish the prestige of a dying belt by defending it every week on RAW. He also had a pretty good match with Enzo and Big Cass and really helped Kevin Owens become the star he is today by allowing him to go full heel mode after he beat him. There is also the fact that he has granted more ‘Make a Wish’ requests for sick children than any other wrestler on the roster.
If you look at this, then there is no doubt in your mind that the man does deserves to be immortalised in the WWE history books. I find it very hard to find another wrestler that had done more for the fans and the company than John Cena and this would be an amazing way to set up his road to retirement.
However, John Cena is quickly reaching the end of his prime. Now when he comes down the ramp, he is greeted with more jeers than cheers and the fans really don’t pay much attention to him. Before now, he has been absent from our screens and even failed to make the face of Smackdown, instead being overlooked in favour of AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose. Hell, even James Ellsworth has had more ring time than Cena.
Putting the belt on Cena may be a bad move all round for the WWE. On RAW they are trying to push Roman Reigns, who still remains hated by the fans and if they do the same to Cena then they may cost him what credibility he has left. The roster is packed with younger and more talented wrestlers who really could become the new face of the company they were given the right build and the right push. With Cena in the picture, you start to wonder what is going on behind the scenes and whether or Vince has anyone else he can give the belt to.
To put it simply, he has had his day in the spotlight and some may consider it is time for him to use his sway back stage to introduce newer and upcoming stars, much like Triple H is doing. I genuinely believe that he does deserve a final night in the spotlight at Wrestlemania, but to get this right, the WWE have to make sure they give him a credible opponent.
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