To Turn or Not To Turn: A Heel John Cena?

For the past 7 years, John Cena has been the face of World Wrestling Entertainment.

He has been the ultimate good guy. He is the Hulk Hogan of this generation. He visits the sick kids, works charity events, wrestles in all the main events, makes television appearances, stars in movies and does just about anything that his company asks of him.

He is super-resilient in the ring. When you think Cena is down and out, he summons up all of his strength (as Hogan once did), overcomes his obstacle and ends up victorious in the end. The “take your vitamins and say your prayers” motto of the past has now been replaced with “Hustle, Loyalty and Respect”. He lives the business, always puts a smile on for the kids and sells the WWE product to the masses.

But just like what happened to Hogan, the act of John Cena has gone stale. It has become repetitive. It has become predictable. It has even become, dare I say, boring.

For years, wrestling fans have pined for some sort of character change with John Cena. There is only so many times in which you can take John Cena making huge comebacks at the end of matches with his infamous “Moves of Doom” combination set to send the fans (especially the young ones) home happy. A couple of shoulder blocks here, a back-body suplex there, some “You Can’t See Me” 5 Knuckle-Shuffle and then an Attitude Adjustment to seal the deal.

Been there, done that.

Something needs to change with John Cena. Something needs to be done to show some sort of variety in his character. The trigger needs to be pulled on the one thing that the WWE has been afraid to do for the last 3-4 years.

John Cena NEEDS to become a bad guy.

Despite the good guy image that Cena shows on television, he has still never been able to accumulate full-fan support. He may be the face of the company, but he always receives half-cheers and half-boos from the crowd. That just proves that even the WWE Universe (which by the way is a stupid name) is getting sick of John Cena. A prime-example of how bad things have gotten could be seen on the November 14th edition of Monday Night Raw. Despite the show taking place in Johns hometown of Boston, Cena was still booed by a majority of the crowd. Usually, when a wrestler performs in front of a hometown audience, regardless if they are a heel or face, the reception is usually a positive one (Just ask C.M Punk at Money in the Bank). Not for John Cena though.

Currently on WWE television, John Cena is involved in a story-line where he will be teaming with his Wrestlemania 28 opponent and arch nemesis The Rock, against the team of The Miz and R-Truth, collectively known as “The Awesome Truth”. The past 3 weeks of Monday Night Raw have helped to build to this colossal tag-team match, which will take place at this weekends WWE Survivor Series. The main reason behind this match is to get involvement and confrontation between Cena and The Rock to help build towards their Main Event match at Wrestlemania, which by the way will take place in Miami, the hometown of The Rock.

Now how perfect would it be if this Sunday at Survivor Series, John Cena were to turn on his partner The Rock and become the full-fledged heel that everyone wants him to be.

It is the absolute perfect time to make the move. Let’s look at the facts. There is no way that Cena gets any sort of positive fan-reaction at Wrestlemania 28. The Rock has the home-field advantage. Out of the 78,000 fans who would be in attendance, I would estimate 77,999 of them would be in support of The Great One. John Cena is going to get booed regardless of whether or not he is a heel or face at the time. So why not just go with it and make Cena the ultimate bad-guy to add more appeal to this match? Cena vs Rock will make a butt-load of money regardless, but just think of how much better this event could be if you have The Rock come back from his inevitable hiatus after Survivor Series to seek revenge on the fallen hero turned baddie John Cena.

The WWE has been teasing ever so slightly that they may be going in that direction. During last nights episode of Raw, a “This Is Your Life” segment took place in which people from John Cena’s past showed up to portray Cena in a negative light. Even his own father appeared to yell at the crowd for their verbal abuse and booing of his son. This could be the WWE saying that if you want to boo Cena, we will now embrace it and make him look even worse to the WWE universe, thus further pushing him into a heel status.

Now I could also go on and on about why John Cena will never turn heel. The guy sells a lot of merchandise, and having him turn bad might hurt those numbers down the road. In defense of that statement, Cena does sell a lot of t-shirts, wristbands and other apparel, but there are other wrestlers who can pick up that slack in sales (ex. C.M Punk, Zack Ryder, Randy Orton), so that wouldn’t end up being too big of a deal long-term. Also, the WWE is severely lacking in faces right now. Randy Orton, Sheamus, C.M Punk, Zack Ryder, HHH and Big Show are the true faces that stick out in my mind, but compared to the amount of effective heels on the roster (Del Rio, Henry, Ziggler, Swagger, Rhodes, Christian, Miz, R-Truth, Nash, Barrett, Hunico etc.), adding Cena to that list may not be wise, as it may stunt the growth of other up-and-coming heels on the roster who are now getting their chance at the spotlight.

I just believe that the Cena heel turn could do so much good for this company. During the mid-nineties in WCW when Hulk Hogan turned heel and became “Hollywood” Hogan, it did wonders for the company and propelled it to the top of the wrestling world. Now I’m not saying that Cena turning heel would garner the same success, but it would still be one of those shocking moments that could change the landscape of sports entertainment. Heck, even if the WWE decided to flip-flop and go back to a face Cena after Wrestlemania and his match with The Rock, that could work as well, because at least they could get the most out of that match with a Heel Cena and get the most heat out of that angle as well.

As an avid WWE fan myself, I really hope that Survivor Series is the night where we see the unthinkable happen. Make John Cena a heel WWE. Give the fans what they are dying to see. A change of character for one of the most popular, yet predictable superstars in WWE history.

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4 Responses to To Turn or Not To Turn: A Heel John Cena?

  1. Jay Tee says:

    I really don’t think you can turn Cena heel full term. He doesn’t have the image to be a heel; that could have been said for the yellow and red of Hogan as well, but I digress.

    Over the last few years, Cena has been Super-Cena so to say. No way he can lose; well cleanly for that matter. I really can’t remember where he lost cleanly; I can’t recall if that Punk match was clean.

    If you WWE really wants to turn Cena heel, you do it one way. Hit the AA to The Rock at Survivor Series and walk out on the match. Similar to what Flair did to Benoit I believe back in WCW.

    You got to remember, WWE is targeting a younger fan base with Linda’s venture into politics. Any “attitude era” similarities will hurt her chances. The kids soak up Cena, thus his sales thru the roof.

    You can’t fully turn Cena heel, wwe tried to do that countlessly with Undertaker and Austin. Cena will forever be a tweener.

  2. Chris Walder says:

    Thanks for the comment!

    I disagree with what your saying in the sense that Cena could never be a heel. I’ll go back to the comparison with Hulk Hogan and when he was wearing the Red and Yellow and doing things for the children, yet was still being booed by the fans in the arenas. This is exactly what is going on with Cena. Sure, Cena is extremely over with the younger audience and is the perfect face for a PG program like WWE Raw. But with all of the negative reception he gets from state to state from a good 60% of the audience, how could you not at least give it a whirl and see what you can get out of a Heel Cena?

    For the most part, a heel Stone Cold Steve Austin and a heel Undertaker worked, but couldn’t last long-term because lets face it, both of those characters were too “bad-ass” to not be cheered by the fans. I don’t get that sense from Cena. A majority of the crowd hates the guy already. If Cena were to start slandering the crowd, just imagine how much heat he would get on a weekly basis. He did it in the past with his rapper gimmick, so whose to say that he couldn’t do something similar to that again? That would make for some compelling television, something that Raw and Smackdown have severely lacked since the “C.M Punk Shoot Promo”, which by the way the WWE screwed the pooch on as well.

    I am not saying make Cena a heel for the next 3-4 years. If they were to end the heel run after Wrestlemania, then I would be ok with that. Regardless of whether it happens or not, John Cena will be booed out of Miami. Why not realize that is going to happen and milk that for all it is worth? Add to the match, add to the feud. John Cena vs The Rock is interesting. Heel John Cena vs the return of The Rock is epic.

  3. workmancer says:

    Cena makes $15+ million per year on T-shirt sales alone… He just came out with a new T-shirt… Now might be the right time to turn him just like 6 years ago was the right time to turn him… but $120+ million in T-shirt sales in those 6 years says a lot.

    I’d say Cena gets the W on Sunday, and takes a Rock bottom for his trouble.

  4. workmancer says:

    LOL my math was off… Its $90 million in T-shirt sales in 6 years. If only I could go back and edit posts 🙂

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