John Cena is a lot of different things to a bunch of different people. To younger fans, Cena is a role model, a guy they can look up to, who they buy his colorful t-shirts because of and a pro wrestler they root for harder than any other. For us older, smart marks, Cena is everything wrong with the WWE today. He is continually pushed, his sells in the ring only last as long as you can hold your breathe and he just never goes away — despite being booed as a face for much of his career. Even with that being said, though, John Cena is the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion and that is the right move by those in charge of the company.
Yeah, yeah. We get it. The idea that Cena is now a 15-time Champion is a little crazy. Between him surpassing so many legends on the all-time career holder list and being right next to Ric Flair, it certainly is a bit unsettling that a guy who has had the same not-so-over-anymore gimmick keeps getting pushed right next to our childhood idols. However, the WWE is a publicly traded company, one that has lost hundreds-of-millions of the last few months, and they are definitely not in a position to take risks with who they throw out as the face of their company and a person who might be able to drive the few PPV buy-rates still out there, get folks to purchase the WWE Network and buy some fancy merchandise.
Cena is not the draw that the WWE acts like he is. Maybe he was, at least to some degree, at some point, but John Cena isn’t filling arenas or doing anything like that. Nevertheless, he is the company’s top merchandising seller and a safer bet to throw on the cover of whatever is will be the WWE will be pushing in the upcoming months. Throwing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on, say, Bray Wyatt, would be great for folks tired of Cena’s never ending face run, but with the product still magically produced as a PG product, and with the younger audience being the driving force of scooping up WWE related products, it doesn’t seem too likely that a slew of nine-year-olds are buying a Wyatt Family product. I could be wrong on that, but there is no proof that anyone can outdraw Cena from a merchandising standpoint, with the financial aspect of the company in a bit of disrary, why bother to take the risk to find out?
The short-term of this is still bleak. John Cena not only fails to bring in an in-stadium audience, but he lacks the ability to drive the ratings through the roof. It isn’t going to happen now either, just because the WWE has decided to back the purple-shirted hero once again. If Cena were a Rock or Steve Austin like draw, well, it would have already happened by now. The only thing that might ever make that the case is a Cena heel turn, yet turning him heel would likely hurt his merchandising sales and could backfire on a company who needs the surest thing as possible right now.
The good news, if you’re a Cena hater, is that his run probably won’t last that long. Sure, he will likely retain at WWE Battleground, but that has more to do with the following PPV than it does how highly the company thinks of a long Cena Championship run. As most wrestling outlets have already reported, Cena is probably going to fight Brock Lesnar in the relatively near future. While it might be, again, displeasing to know that a part-time wrestler would be holding the company’s top-prize, it seems like the only backed WWE alternatives would be (the demon) Kane, Randy Orton and Roman Reigns. However, Reigns has a built in feud with Triple H pending, one that Orton will probably play a role in, and Kane is on his elventy-billionth semi-push that never amounts to anything. Plus, before you mention Seth Rollins, he needs that MITB briefcase to have a role after his feud with Dean Ambrose comes to a close.
Listen, we all get it at this point. John Cena is as stale as a baby’s diaper left in the sun for eight days. No one, not even the WWE, will argue against his gimmick being revolutionary anymore. Heck, the idea that it ever was would be debatable to begin with. But the point of the matter is that the only giant wrestling company left in our country is hurting in the ole pocketbooks. Now is not the time to take risks on guys because they are the (fickle) Internet’s favorite new flavor. I mean, as much as we crush the people who do the booking for holding back guys “we” love, it wasn’t like any of them were getting The Rock WWE Monday Night numbers.
The WWE needs this because we do. Sadly, it is what is truly best for business. If you care about the WWE’s well-being, you would understand too. What good would the WWE be if it lost a ton of money, stockholders decided to take control of the company in an attempt to save it, leaving us with a WCW situation on our hands? Even worse, what hope would you have for your favorite held back WWE Superstar if he didn’t have a properly functioning WWE to wallow in?
For now, just for now (I swear), just bite your tongue and shrug your shoulders until September. I promise, the WWE will have a different champion by then. Until then, just watch John Cena in the — thankfully — twilight of his career and appreciate the fact that he can fake a Boston accent from time to time, does a horrible hurricanrana when the moon is blue and doesn’t mind being the last guy left who thinks poop jokes will get him over with the crowd. Mind you, they aren’t even good poop jokes, but still, just hold your breathe until the Fall.
Wait! Don’t! I don’t want to be responsible for any deaths.
Tags: John Cena