There aren’t many superstars in wrestling that are as divisive as John Cena.
For some he’s this generation’s Hulk Hogan but for others he’s a man who has been pushed so far down their throats by the WWE that they are rebelling against him.
The fact of the matter is that kids love him. Go to a WWE show and it’ll be difficult to spot a child in the audience that isn’t wearing at least one piece of Cena apparel. He’s a huge cash cow for the promotion and has been top of the mountain for almost a decade.
By Craig Wilson – @CraigW4584
Since 2005 he’s been a central character to the WWE and is used as the face of the company in terms of mainstream media. It is weird, then, that such a figure could be as polarising as he is.
That hasn’t stopped some, particularly those in the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC), growing tired of his antics. I’ll hold my hands up, I’m not fan of Cena’s in-ring stuff generally but I think we need to look at what Cena is about.
His whole shtick clearly isn’t aimed at me. It’s the kids – or more accurately their parents – that snap up all his merchandise so his character largely speaks to them. It’s something that works and increasingly makes it less and less likely that the WWE will turn him heel, despite what large swathes of the IWC may want.
To some, since his introduction to the WWE, Cena is a meathead that’s received a push that he didn’t deserve; a push that’s never ended. These same people will go into exhaustive detail about why Cena represents everything that is wrong with wrestling and the world more generally.
He’s apparently the reason why ratings are down (are they?), he’s the reason why no new superstars can make it into the main event scene (ignoring the fact Daniel Bryan beat him clean at SummerSlam) and he’s the personification of the PG era.
However, Cena had a whole host of top matches in 2013 so credit where credit is due. Sure, his Rumble win was a certainty but he still turned in a whole host of top class matches this year. His Raw match against Punk at the end of February was one the best Raw matches of the year.
Add in his TLC bout with Randy Orton and his putting over of Bryan at SummerSlam, you have three top class matches straight away. Hell, he even managed get two half-decent matches out of Ryback and that’s no easy feat.
When you factor in a main event victory over The Rock for the WWE title at Wrestlemania 29, the aforementioned Rumble victory and his involvement in the title unification match then you see that when there’s a significant moment in the offing then Cena is there or thereabouts. This isn’t surprising when you consider that he reportedly brought in $100m for the company last year.
As well as the considerable money he drew for the WWE, he had perhaps his finest year in terms of in-ring work. While his on-screen character may be on the receiving end of a great deal of criticism, this tends to make me respect the man more.
The professionalism of Cena can never be doubted as he puts the success of the company before anything else while at the same time doing a record-breaking amount of work for the ‘Make a Wish Foundation’ where he has granted more than 400 wishes.
Maybe it’s time us wrestling fans cut the former ‘Doctor of Thuganomics’ a bit of slack.