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 The Cena Problem

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PostSubject: The Cena Problem   Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:05 am

John Cena has problems.

It's been panfully obvious for a while now that John Cena has problems, and even the WWE, albeit in a half-kayfabe way, are starting to acknowledge it lately, in an interesting playout of recent events.

Cena has been hated and vilified by anyone who actually remembers when WWE had "Wrestling" in the name for a very long time now.

Some of the criticism has been justified and accurate, some of it has just been blind, bandwagon jumping unfair hate no matter what he does.

Even more of it has been straight down the middle of these two things.

However, around 2008, it was apparent that John Cena was trying something. When confronted with chants of "You can't wrestle", he'd break out the wrestling holds. Basic holds, and a shitty submission finisher, sure. But still attempted to prove something to his detractors, and try to shut them up in some way. Note how he doesn't do that anymore.

Over time, I think a lot of us have come to agree, even begrudgingly, that Cena HAS earned his spot, and that he's fulfilled his duties as the head-of the WWE, and the top-tier franchise player as much as he was expected to, with faithfulness and duty. You will never see John Cena in TNA. You will never see him disparage the company he works for on a radio show, and he is a company man for better or for worse, and he's a model one.

But what now? He earned that spot, but now it looks like he's just going to sit in that spot and not do a damn thing anymore from this moment on. Cena still doesn't have that majority crowd respect. He still doesn't have that fan approval, and he's still booed and hissed wherever he goes.

Lately, I think that is the the newest and most prevalent, accurate, fair and current criticism of him right now, that has replaced the old "shoved down our faces" complaint: his passive, complacent, "Well, I don't give a gosh dark heck what you think anymore" attitude.

To his haters in 2008, he was the guy that was shoved down our throat every week. To his haters with 2012 approaching, he is becoming the stale, tired, played out doofus that blatantly admits to us that he doesn't care anymore and for everyone that would throw a beer-bottle at him if given the chance, he'd smile his cheesy grin and say "Thank you, I deserved that. Can I have another? It doesn't hurt."

So even kayfabe can't ignore that John Cena has having an all-new set of problems. But the popular internet consensus right now is "Turn Cena Heel Turn Cena Heel!"

Yet, just as many people are saying "Look, they'll never do that. Cena won't sell merchandise and give the company their much needed profit if the main source of revenue stops shilling to 6-year olds."

But everyone does agree that John Cena needs a major change, it's just that no one agrees that a a Heel turn is the way to do it, nor a good idea in general for the company.

But what about the obvious solution? John Cena doesn't NEED to turn heel. He doesn't need to be the bad guy. He doesn't NEED to be the mean, nasty, unlikable, heel that beats up the good guys, and lays out people with chairs and says "I hate you fans".

....When I think about it, Cena needs a new attitude, that doesn't necessarily come from hatred. He just needs to do what both his fans AND his detractors want from him.

Cena needs edge. He needs to be angry. He needs to be motivated. He needs to turn the dial from "the passive-aggressive 3 1/2, to the pro-active and intense 11" Rather than being the goofy, cheese ball company man, Cena needs to be the good guy, but he also needs to be the rebel. He needs to be in a place where he's believably on the fans side.

He needs to be the champion against everything that the crowd finds stale, like he himself is/was, and Cena needs to be rebelling against the corniness he stands for now. He can be loved, if he shows balls. The Rock had this attitude. The Rock insulted people, he bullied Coach and Kevin Kelly around, and the fans loved him for it. Austin beat the shit out of the evil Vince McMahon, destroyed cars, wrecked property, and stunnered his friends.

Cena needs to be that rebel, that anti-hero, and that guy that does everything we wish we could do or say, but are usually afraid to. The kids that like Cena now would think the new Cena kicks ass. While the jaded Cena sucks haters might just be tempted to see Cena's willingness to change and do something about the way he's being seen and impress them, too.

Cena needs to stop respecting his enemies and trying to kill his haters with kindness. He doesn't need to turn on the kids to get over as a new, improved, darker Cena.

There are plenty of dark characters that are the hero as well.

Case in point. Remember the dilemma Sting was in? he was the bleached blond surfer dude that no one reacted to anymore. He needed a make-over and did we ever get Heel Sting? No, we got Crow Sting. And it was glorious. And Crow Sting sold so many t-shirts himself, and became the face of the company overnight, at least until Goldberg hit the scene.

Just give Cena something that puts him in that element of dangerousness, stop being the smiling goofball in the red and purple shirts, and start being the guy who wears the cool shirts and being the kick-ass Cena that will stop at nothing to take it to the next level.

Cena could be The Punisher. He could be the guy that beats every ounce of respect he feels he deserves out of the nasty and evil slimeballs in the WWE that everyone boos.

It's been shown again and again that WWE fans, all of them, will pretty much cheer for any heel getting their ass kicked, even if the method goes too far, becuase in some way, the WWE fans want to see fights and they want to see bad guys get fucked up.

Cena could be the bone-breaking, jaw-smashing, Batman of the WWE without going heel, and I don't think there's anyone who wouldn't get behind that after a while, just so long as Cena could genuinely make a darker, more angry Cena look sincere.

It's just that right now, Cena comes off as complacent, and a complete pussy who tells the world "I don't care if you don't like me, that's your opinion. But gosh darn it, I like me." and then smiles a wholesome, happy smile, throws his hat into the crowd and shrugs like a typical sitcom goof.

Cena doesn't have to be a heel, but it would certainly help if he dressed like a bad-ass, walked like a bad-ass, talked like a bad-ass, and became the darker man of few words, the head-smashing John Cena that would make Clint Eastwood shit the bed.

He doesn't have to take it all back to the Attitude Era. He doesn't have to be heel. He doesn't have to drop F bombs that aren't suitable for TV. And he doesn't have to splatter blood everywhere.

But he does need a darker persona. A quieter, more intense persona of a man that lets his actions talk more than goofy hand-waves do.

Cena doesn't have to stop selling shirts to kids. But he can sure as hell sell them cooler ones. Batman is dark, moody and violent, but yet there's so many cartoons and movies of him that kids flock to, as well.

If you want Cena to be dark but still be a role model, give him a similar set of ethics and moral dilemmas that a character like Batman might have (which makes him compelling). Cena is a big guy. He can be intimidating. Right now, he's a big cuddly monster on Sesame Street, when he could be an intimidating hero for the masses that has his own soul searching and his own sufferings to go through as he does it. The confuicted nature of his character right now certainly lends itself to that.

Cena doesn't need to be a heel. But he does need a completely new persona. if something like this doesn't work, nothing will. Doesn't need to go heel. Doesn't need to be a Hollywood Hogan turn, but he is in desperate need of a Sting character change right now. And that's what I see working the best right now. Dark Hero Cena. The Cena that kicks ass and takes names, and sells cool shirts to cool kids.


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PostSubject: Re: The Cena Problem   Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:17 am

Bravo sir, bravo. A well-written and well-argued piece that, for my money, is bang on. I agree with pretty much all of this.

I admit I'd like to see Cena playing the smart-ass heel, but I'm realistic that the company are not going to want to do that with him. Now, arguably, they already have anti-establishment faces in the company (Randy Orton being the biggest of them) but I think there's a difference between the kick-ass borderline psycho face that Orton plays, and the sort of face Cena could play. In a way, Cena could be the Rock to Randy's Austin.

Certainly giving Cena some edge and a little grey to his white hat would do wonders to invigorate his stale character, and I really hope the stuff with Piper last week was perhaps the start of it. Given the match with the Rock at the end of March will inevitably have Rock as the face (its in his home town after all), you need Cena to have an edge, if not some heel tendencies, for it to really work.

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PostSubject: Re: The Cena Problem   Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:00 pm

That's a pretty interesting concept there Mike and I think its exactly the direction they need to take Cena into. I think that if they were to turn Cena into a full blown heel the problem of a mixed crowd wouldn't be fixed, only reversed. The older fans would be happy for the change and start cheering him overnight, and the kids who love him would then start booing him for his betrayal.

Cena needs to take the Sting route, and not the Hogan route to solve this problem.
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PostSubject: Re: The Cena Problem   Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:37 pm

I got bored and quickly threw this together Razz

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PostSubject: Re: The Cena Problem   Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:05 pm

lol.

Funny.

I know you didn't mean the picture to be taken literally, but it got me to thinking.

Yeah, Cena doesn't need face paint and stuff, but actually I think of The Punisher. Cena has a good build, he's a big guy, and could look threatening if he didn't look like a Toys R Us Mascot.

He could dress in black, with a T-shirt that carries the symbol of something threatening on it, I think. More than anything I just think Cena should become a vigilante character who has to restrain himself from taking things too far, and have a human side.
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PostSubject: Re: The Cena Problem   Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:16 pm

If Cena were to take a Punisher style of gimmick, he'd need a reason to make such a change to his character. What do you think could make that change in him? What would piss off Cena enough to make him want to beat on people he thinks need hurting?
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PostSubject: Re: The Cena Problem   Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:46 pm

I had thought about that.

We seem to be having John Lauranitis, for better or worse, as a managment fixture in the company right now as the corrupt boss.

The WWE needs to turn into a chaotic mess of Lauranitis letting lawlessness and insanity run amok in the WWE, with major heels gaining power. Just like the Crow Sting had the nWo to rebel against, and Steve Austin had the McMahon's, and The Rock and Kurt Angle had the McMahon-Helmsley Regeme, this seems like as good a time as any to make the company take a turn for the bleak, like those days.
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PostSubject: Re: The Cena Problem   Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:48 pm

Also, the WWE should combat the "shoved down our throat" attitude that Cena haters had for Cena, by having a top heel, be forced into Cena's old position as Lauranitis's golden boy to an extreme amount where everyone is sick of this heel, and would be begging Cena to take him on.

But Cena should stumble at it under the weight of his own problems as well. No more Superman. Put that element of real natural obstacles that come from Cena. Not just throwing the odds against him for him to hulk out throw them all like a wet paper bag. Give Cena some MAJOR adversity that the crowd WANTS him to triumph from, but not necessarily succeeding everytime he tries.
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PostSubject: Re: The Cena Problem   Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:17 am

This whole thing with Zack Ryder just begs for a heel turn at TLC. Like I say, it won't happen but if Cena were to come out and beat down Zack to cost him the title, he'd instantly be the biggest heel in the company.

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