Posted by Chris Surrency
I’ve done a couple of defending articles so far, the last one taking on the most controversial figure in pro wrestling history in Chris Benoit. Tonight I decided on another one, it’s far less controversial but still someone who’s got people on both sides of the aisle when it comes to love and hate. John Cena is easily the most polarizing person in the business currently. You either love him or hate him, but people rarely sit the fence when it comes to Cena. His in ring work has its moments, but I think a lot of the “problems” are because of his character and not because he really can’t work. When you look at the things he’s done in the ring with different workers, it’s clear that he’s not as bad as he comes off at times.
The first, and easiest thing, in defense of Cena is the fact that even if you hate him for being a stale character who’s been in the Superman gimmick for far too long, but you have to respect him for his Make-A-Wish dedication. The main reason we’re stuck with the over the top good guy gimmick is pretty obvious, it’s hard for an asshole to be the guy that every kid wants to meet. While all males over the age of fourteen may not like his gimmick and may want the Doctor of Thuganomics back, there’s really not much of a payout on the Make-A-Wish side for that character. The man may be stale, but he’s one of the best people you could ever want walking this planet. Anyone who watched Raw tonight and didn’t at least feel SOMETHING when he had the segment with the kids, you have zero heart and need to debate if you’re even a human being.
Next up is the gimmick, while it’s stale as all hell; it’s not the absolute worst gimmick we’ve ever seen in wrestling. You can say what you want, but he’s pretty much this era’s answer to Hulk Hogan. While he may be behind on sales of merch, the fact is that he’s not known for having the most massive repertoire when it comes to moves in the ring, and he’s over primarily with women and children. He’s a larger than life, cartoon character, hell he’s even on the box of Fruity Pebbles (thanks Rock). While he may not be held in with the whole red and yellow that Hogan wore back in the day, he has the slogans, the appeal to the crowd, and the championship credentials, and no matter what you think about his character he STILL gets the loudest reaction out of crowd every single time he’s one a show, although this guy Fandango seems to be on the climb pretty quickly.
Lastly, the lack of in ring talent people speak about when they bring up Cena’s matches is what I’ll attempt to defend. As I said earlier in this piece, I have a feeling that his ring work is less to do with his inability and more to do with his character being less technical and more of a “tough guy.” If you look back at his debut matchups with Kurt Angle he was able to hold his own in there with one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, even looking back at his work as the Doctor of Thuganomics against the American Badass version of Undertaker was actually pretty solid. Probably the most obvious moment when Super Cena started his run was the night he worked JBL at WrestleMania and got pounded the entire match only to somehow get the victory. The start of the “never give up” and the over the top “you can beat on me all you want but you can’t beat me” gimmick seemed to be that night and it’s lived on ever sense. The gimmick may be one of the more one dimensional, boring, and flat out basic you could picture in the current age, but his ring work isn’t nearly as bad as the gimmick would lead us all to believe.
Cena is a good guy (no matter what you think about his divorce or anything else), making wishes happen for child after child. You can’t possibly care that much about kids and be a bad person inside. His gimmick may need a massive overhaul, but he’s able to pull it off in a manner that still gets one of the loudest reactions every time he’s on a card. His ring work, while sometimes being less than stellar, is much better than we’re allowed to see on television (STF excluded, I mean that thing is horrible). On top of everything else the man is probably the toughest son of a bitch we’ve seen in the business in so many different years. The man is working a main event (albeit a 6 man tag match) tonight with an Achilles injury. I think I may have issues with mine at the moment, and it’s one of the more painful and nagging things you can live with. I can’t imagine running to a ring and actually working a match with the way my ankle feels currently. The man may have his detractors, but he’s easily one of the biggest characters to come along in quite a while. While we’re all awaiting the “Hollywood” turn, enjoy the new Hulk while you can. Like it or not people, the champ…is…here.
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