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  #1  
Old 11-23-2010, 12:20 PM
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Default "Of John Cena, Tim Tebow, and Tim Duncan"


"Of John Cena, Tim Tebow, and Tim Duncan"
As seen on Wrestlezone.com's main page

The last 48 hours of professional wrestling have been truly magnificent, from Survivor Series to last night's Raw. It's been packed with intrigue, mystery, plot twists - everything modern wrestling fans crave. Long gone are the days when one champion would suffice for a year without fans crying about having someone "forced down their throats."

John Cena has had to deal with that card being played on him for years. "Super Cena." "He's being forced down our throats." "He only knows 5 moves." Nevermind the fact that he's been the biggest and most consistent draw in pro wrestling since Steve Austin. Nevermind the fact that he's created some of the more interesting moments of the past 7 years. Nevermind how much he's elevated his game of late to really help the Nexus angle get over as one of the best in wrestling. None of that matters, because only little kids and women cheer for him, and any guy over the age of 18 should hate him. In fact, his brilliantly self-aware goodbye promo last night when he asked for the young and female half of the crowd to chant "Let's Go Cena" while the 18+ males chanted "Cena Sucks" may go down as a top 50 RAW moment for me.

We're all smarks, right? We're all internet wrestling fans, no? So we can all pretty much say with a high degree of certainty that John Cena isn't "done" and wasn't "fired." Predicting the next time we see John Cena on WWE programming could be more fun than a pool to guess the due date of the rest of the arm that should have come out of Mae Young years ago. And yet one of the major topics of discussion on the forums centers around a major theme - When will John Cena turn heel? They missed the perfect opportunity to turn Cena heel at Survivor Series. And on Raw last night.

<sigh>

Pop quiz, kiddies, let's see if you've been paying attention to SportsCenter lately. The #1 selling jersey in all of the NFL is _______. If you cannot get this short answer style, I'll make it multiple choice for you. A) Tom Brady B) Peyton Manning C) Aaron Rodgers D) Tim Tebow. If you said the answer is "D" with Tim Tebow, then you are absolutely right. Tim Tebow, with his less-than-stellar NFL career and the very real possibility that he never becomes a star in the National Football League, has sold more jerseys than Donovon McNabb (switching teams from Philly to Washington), Drew Brees (despite being the poster child for NFLShop.com) or Tony Romo.

Why do you think that is?

Here's an opinion - it's because of guys like Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, LeBron James, Tiger Woods, Roger Clemens, Brett Favre, and maybe - MAYBE - Lance Armstrong. The American sports fan feels betrayed by its stars. Whether legal troubles, dog fighting, or performance enhancing drugs, fans are watching the squeaky clean images of their sporting heroes disintegrate on an almost hourly basis. Who can a fan believe in anymore?

Tim Tebow. Tim Duncan. And dammit, John Cena.

This is part of what makes wrestling fans so insanely unique and maddening at the same time. The type of clean-cut hero that sports needs right now is exactly the guy wrestling fans jeer in a post-Austin, post-Rock, post-Attitude era. Hogan went heel long before messy public divorces and reality shows, so it was heartbreaking. You could always count on Hogan. #1 on the Make-a-Wish Foundation request list during the 80's. Incidentally, I googled "Make-a-Wish Foundation Most Requested Celebrities" just now, and guess what came up as the 4th item in my search? http://www.wish.org/news/news_releases/2009_cg_awards. John Cena has granted 147 wishes since 2004. Since this was a stat published in 2005, that means roughly 260 weeks went by during that time frame. Cena averaged better than one wish granted every two weeks.

But when's he going heel?

Smarky internet fan needs to put himself and his greedy needs aside for a moment and realize there's something far greater at work here. Pro Wrestling NEEDS John Cena right now, in a world where despite the falls from grace of superstars at such an alarming rate, pro wrestlers are still looked down upon. Cena is the biggest and best connection wrestling has to the mainstream sports world, and in a way, that sports world NEEDS John Cena right now. And the best part about him is the fact that he is just entering his prime. Tim Duncan is past his. Tim Tebow many not have one.

In a word, John Cena's time is now. But to turn him heel would be to take away something that wrestling fans and sports fans overall desperately need, and that's an actual hero.
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  #2  
Old 11-23-2010, 12:38 PM
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It's obvious that every Cena hater is gonna disagree, and everybody with a bit of sense in their head is gonna agree with you. John Cena is a big merchandise puller for WWE, he's a very requested guy in terms of the fans, and he is one of the most dedicated people in this business in the past 10 years, if not ever.

John Cena is the hands down go to guy in terms of being a good guy. Not only in his work ethic, his general life, his dedication but also the very fact that he proved last night that even the haters he can play like a banjo. People say that John Cena this John Cena that bullshit and hatred all the time, yet they don't realize that John Cena is one of the few ultimate superstars, the ultimate face guy.

I believe some time back we had a thread based on guys who you think was a better face than a heel. There's only two guys I can come up with, and that's Christian and John Cena. It's not exactly saying much, because it's obvious that while John was a fairly great heel, he is hands down one of the greater faces of this generation.

Turning John Cena heel is something a lot of people have tried to come up with sense to. Even Vince McMahon is supposedly open to suggestions now, even if he knows that John is the number 1 merchandise seller in WWE. And I think they're all doing it wrong. Not because of the fact that it cannot be done. Or because it shouldn't be attempted. But simply because as you state, he is the hero of this generation. He is the Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin of this generation. And he will always be known as that, he will never be the Ric Flair of the 80's, the Rock / Hogan of the 90's or the Triple H (Or Randy Orton) of the 2000's. And it's simply because he just does not fit that persona. He is a goody-two-shoe type of person, and I quite frankly believe that it should remain like that. It worked for Ricky Steamboat (Who I don't believe was ever heel) so why not Cena?
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  #3  
Old 11-23-2010, 01:40 PM
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Speaking as a Cena hater, I liked the article and I agree with it. As a kid I always liked the darker or more sinister heel characters. My favorites (in the 80's) when I was 6 or so were Jake Roberts, and Ted Dibiase. I was too young to remember a heel Roddy Piper, but he was my top favorite, but there was something about him that made me think he wasn't always playing by the rules.

I'm getting sidetracked though, my point is that while PERSONALLY I never liked the "hero" character, I do think there is a need for one. Not only for merchandising, but for the fact that in these days the newer fans are going to be children who would want that kind if thing. And in the end you have to use your basic comic book mythos. Your villain is only as bad, as your hero is good. With no good guy to compare to, the bad guy isn't going to seem as bad. And vice versa. One of the reasons I liked the Undertaker in the beginning *besides him being scary as hell* was that he was up against Hogan.

Oh, and not too sure on this but I think ROH tried to do a heel Steamboat. There was some thing I remember reading about a few years back with Mick Foley feuding with him over "hardcore" vs. traditional wrestling.

Last edited by SyndicateSaint : 11-23-2010 at 01:42 PM. Reason: forgot Steamboat part
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  #4  
Old 11-23-2010, 01:41 PM
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Agreed. I'm not a big fan of most other sports but Cena is WWE's cash cow and he is a hell of a nice guy out of the ring. He seems to be someone you could actually talk to and not feel like you're wasting his time.

He is the face among faces anymore. He has gotten a little of an edge the past few months but that edge is simply explained as dealing with your problems head on. It has been one of the few things that has gotten Cena way over the past several months (as if he needed it. In fact the crowds have just been really hot over the guy more so than in the past)

Turning Cena heel... I don't see how that would benefit much besides turn a lot of people off of the programming that are just getting into it. Parents wouldn't want their kids to watch Cena be the bad guy.

I would say if they decided to continue tweaking the character of Cena that would be great. He does seem a bit limited still."If creative would.." (we all hear that shit...) If Cena could cut a rap once in a while it would definitely add a persona we haven't seen without making Cena heel. He could change up his attire (big deal) but to be honest even as a bad guy Cena was the same at his core.

My point finally is that Fitz you hit the nail on the head. Good article.

On a side note: Ferb, your last point of Steamboat never being heel was correct btw.
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Old 11-23-2010, 01:49 PM
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Great article again, IC. Cena is this generation's Hogan equivalent. Maybe he isn't as big a star or pulling as much merchandise, but the dude is pulling in the most in the company right now. What a lot of people want right now is another Stone Cold. They want the anti-hero. So they leach onto everyone who shows those kinds of "I don't give a shit who you are" attitudes. Look at Orton. People love him because he is the same way.

Cena is the one true good guy in wrestling. From his persona onscreen and off. Like you say in the article, he does so much for Make A Wish, which is always a great thing to see. He does it all because he loves the business and wants it to succeed. That right there to me says awesome offscreen. Onscreen the guy is Superman. I'm not even saying it in a derogatory term. Hogan was a superhero, Austin was the anti-hero. Cena is bringing us back to hero terms (sorta). Kids need someone to look up to. They had that with Hogan, when they got older, they had Austin, and now Cena is there for their own children. You need someone who does it all without a whim, and that's Cena.

As far as turning him heel, it's unnecessary right now. Like you said IC, he is in his prime. After 8 years on the big stage, the guy is now in his prime (maybe been in it for 2-3 years). He still has a long career before he needs to turn heel if he ever needs to. Vince has said (according to the main site) that he would be willing to turn Cena heel if everything was absolutely perfect for it. Right now that would be stupid. With his farewell last night, he gained a lot of respect from people, and made me a bigger fan. I want to cheer him more now than I ever have. If he is going to turn it should be long down the road, and give us the ultra heel that isn't cool to cheer, but great to boo.

Something Justin posted in another thread resonated with me. Most of the IWC aren't really wrestling fans, they are just people that need to bitch about wrestling. It's so true. Regular people want the actual hero to come through and do the impossible. Wrestling fans want him beaten down or to go too far and beat the other person to a pulp. Why should Cena do that, especially after tearing up last night?
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  #6  
Old 11-23-2010, 01:54 PM
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I don't know that WWE should turn Cena heel. Isn't there something to be said for Cena being who he is. There should be a constant in wrestling. Cena being face could be one of those.
Growing up wrestlers stayed face or heel for long periods of time. You knew who was bad, who was good. Iron Sheik bad, Hogan good. It helps to keep shit straight.
If it came to a vote and I could cast a ballot I'd vote to keep Cena face. If it aint broke, don't fix it. Cena's actually one of the few things in wrestling not broke.
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:12 PM
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First off I'd like to say that I really enjoyed this article. So that there is some context, I'm a 21 year old female from the New York area and my opinion of John Cena is that there are things I like about him, and things that I don't. I like how he is a "company man" and the kind of role model he is for kids as well as his attitude towards those who hate him. I don't like how he is used in a creative sense where, even if he loses, he wins. the "super Cena" if you will.

That being said, I do understand that he is the company cash cow and that what he represents is good for the business. However, some food for thought may be: if now's not a good time to turn John Cena heel, when is?

Now in the grand scheme of things, according to the article, this is something that shouldn't happen, ever. Wrestling gets a bad reputation and having Cena's face helps company image. Also, in regards to the NFL example, with there being so many disappointing star athletes who have fallen victim to their own fame, seeing Cena rise above and show consistency is something that the sports/entertainment/sports entertainment world needs to see. However, should that really rest on the large, sculpted and possibly enhanced shoulders of John Cena alone?

Another thought is that while it's important to look at the bigger picture (especially with WWE being a publicly traded company and no longer the "underground" it once was, or at least appeared to be) the WWE Universe has had the last 7 years of this type of John Cena. Yes, we need a hero but the same hero for so many years? the fate of make-a-wish children aside (sorry if i sound like a tool) Cena is becoming a bit stale, at least in the way he is used now. I wouldn't be opposed to him staying face, but being revamped in some way that changes him (a la Undertaker, deadman/american bad ass?)

so in short, heel turn? maybe, maybe not. But do SOMETHING different for the next 7 years.
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  #8  
Old 11-23-2010, 02:13 PM
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While I agree with most of what you're saying TC, I will raise one point of contention. Wrestling is kind of a business where you either "get it" and absolutely love it, or you don't and you want nothing to do with it. I've never met anyone who was "lukewarm" about the business.

That being said, I don't think what happens with one man is going to have such a large negative impact on wrestling, as you seem to imply. People who love wrestling are so passionate about it that we will watch every episode even while complaining about how much things need to change. We're going to watch regardless of whether Cena is a face or heel, or whether he even exists. I for one, have been watching since I was 5, and I would be watching whether Hulk Hogan existed or not. I love the colorful characters and attires and the actual "sport" itself. I'm always more interested in what's happening in the ring than what led to it, though it is cetainly enhanced with a good story.

I won't deny that he's bringing in cash. But that's part of what we're anrgy about. The cash that Cena is drawing comes from the parents of children, not the 18+ year old men. So the ones who are paying are the ones who are being catered to. That's why we're having the PG era. It's annoying because we fans who have watched for most of our lives are not being rewarded for our loyalty. Our desires are being shoved aside in favor of catering to children and their hormones. We're being dictated to by snot-nosed punks. That's one thing that's wrong with most businesses in the US today (imo). They eschew rewarding loyalty for trying to gain new customers. New promotions are almost always to benefit new customers.

I never agree with Cena basher's logic; most of the things said about him can be said for a number of others. You can't dislike Cena, he's just a character. You can only dislike the writers and how they use people. That being said, I agree with you that the new generation needs heroes to build a new fan base, but I disagree with you about John Cena being bigger than the business. The WWE will get along fine for the X number of months Cena will be out and fans will continue to watch because we love the business. While I agree that money is good for the business, I don't agree with your assessment that we are "greedy" for wanting to see an interesting and compelling heel turn from Cena. The WWE may not earn as much, but it's not going to go bankrupt. No man is bigger than the business. Not even Hogan. The NWO angle was enhanced by having him turn, but it would have been awesome without him as well and drew money.

It's truly a different era in wrestling. Are parents letting their kids know about kayfabe now that we are the older generation, or are they treating it like Santa and the Easter bunny? Do these kids know Cena is just doing what the writers tell him or do they think it's all real?

Who can a fan believe in anymore? It's hard to say. Especially in the wrestling business that continually blurs the line between reality and script. Maybe people are jaded now. Maybe that's why people buy the jerseys of promising nobodies instead of established stars.

That's my opinion.
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:21 PM
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Honestly, Tim Duncan shouldn't be in that conversation IC. He's one of the biggest crybabies in basketball when he doesn't get a call. That's not something John Cena or even the man that irritates me most, Tim Tebow would do. Just had to get that out there.

But more onto topic, you are absolutely correct, Cena needs to be the face of the WWE, but not for the actual wrstling show itself but for the image of the business as a whole. Does that mean I wouldn't want to see him do the ultimate betrayal and turn on his fans? No, I would be greatly interested in seeing that, but it doesn't change the fact that Cena does need to be the good guy at the end of the day.
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:28 PM
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I am a certified Cena hater, but not until last night and when I just read this great article did I realize that I'm supposed to be. He IS supposed to be polarizing like that. and he IS supposed be the way he is. I whole-heartedly agree with the article. I don't like John Cena, but last night during his promo, I realized that I wasn't supposed to, and that's just how they want it

Last edited by MaxPlastic : 11-23-2010 at 02:32 PM.
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