John CenaBy Jamie Kennedy · · 8 Comments
John Cena is splashed across the cover-page of the popular, UK-based wrestling publication “Fighting Spirit Magazine” this month, complete with a caption reading “Have We Cena ‘Nuff?”.
FSM, as it’s more commonly known, is perhaps the biggest selling wrestling magazine in Britain and covers the local scene extensively, whilst also detailing the latest goings on from the world of Mixed Martial Arts and what’s going down within WWE, TNA, ROH etc. Along with “Powerslam”, it’s one of the “Big Two” in terms of professional wrestling print here on this little island.
Having been a buyer of both Powerslam and FSM for many, many years (my first issue of the former was April 2001), I have quite a lot of experience when it comes to what type of articles feature and which kind of wrestling fan they captivate and cater to. Obviously, both magazines are aimed more towards the fan who wants to know more than who is feuding with whom and which cards are coming up in the near future. There’s a decided “backstage” element to the writing, which clearly presumes that those reading already have an extensive knowledge of this unique form of entertainment and use the internet on occasion.
Of course, this comes with its own problems and leads me merrily into the meat of the subject which prompted me to pen this little diatribe; John Cena.
Now now, settle down and don’t you worry your sexy little head about anything, I’m not going to go all ‘keyboard warrior’ on those and such as those who happen to be pro wrestling fans and use the world wide web. I’m simply making the point that almost everyone who isn’t a casual wrestling fan and watches World Wrestling Entertainment seems to have some unbelievable vendetta against Mr. Cena.
Sure, his punches maybe aren’t the most convincing around and the lines he’s fed by the creative team do make him come across like the biggest dork this side of Michael Cole but, is he really quite as bad as most make him out to be? Being a character quite plainly aimed towards children and the younger market, Cena simply cannot be a hard-edged anti-hero such as Steve Austin or even a mildly-offensive cool member of the roster such as The Rock. The landscape of WWE has simply changed since both those men were tearing up arena’s and selling Pay-Per-Views en masse. John Cena has a much, much different role to play – one that’s actually closer to home than most wrestling fans realise.
If there are any children who grew up watching wrestling in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s who didn’t idolise Hulk Hogan then please let yourselves be known. Hulk was, for lack of a wittier phrase, the man during that time-frame and most kids were in awe of the guy. Similarly, most younger members of the wrestling audience are in awe of John Cena today and admire his never say die attitude and ability to always overcome the odds. One thing I do not really hear the writers of the aforementioned magazines saying is how ridiculous Hogans “Hulk-Up” routine or continued defying-the-odds type of wins were killing fan interest or bad for business. Sure, Hogan presided over a much more lucrative time for professional wrestling but that would be ignoring the point – WWE are giving their predominant market exactly what they want.
It’s not hard to draw comparisons between “Word Life” and “Hulkamania”. Both are innocently portrayed as upstanding characters who would help an elderly lady across the street or take the time to teach a wrongdoing youngster the value of honesty and integrity. The pair are undoubtedly linked through their relationship with a generation of grapple-loving children and ability to shift t-shirts, wristbands and other assorted merchandise items like hot cakes. There’s even the not-so-small matter of them both having superhero-like comebacks during almost every one of their matches. The comparisons are pretty endless, right down to having an anthemic piece of music to accompany their grand entrance to the ring.
Yours truly can recall a time when Cena was perceived as “cool” by many grown-ups who so wanted him to be catapulted to the top of the cards. The reaction to his United States Title win over The Big Show at “Wrestlemania XX” in the year of 2004 is concrete evidence of this. At that time, John Cena was viewed as one of the most cutting edge superstars for a number of years and was definitely being pushed towards main events with a combination of his own skills and the audiences connection with him. There were definite parallels with other men who went on to become major players in the company following a sustained period in the mid-card, such as Triple H and even Shawn Michaels. It was THAT kind of reaction. The one which told Vince McMahon that he had a ready-made star in his midst.
So what went wrong? What has led us to this point in time where Mr. Cena can seemingly do no right? Is the era of Parental Guidance to blame for the watered-down receptions to this particular head-liner? What is really the reason for such hostile booing aimed at the master of the “Attitude Adjustment” regardless of what actions he takes?
This is the part of the show where I hand it over you to, dear reader. I’d love to know YOUR opinions about none other than John Cena. Whether you agree with me or not, I’d like to hear from each and every one of you on this topic – one which is sure to spark debate! Just like John Cena always does! You can send all correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to it! TAKE IT HOME!
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