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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

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WIRTB Review: John Cena

I know what you're thinking. "First, Speed says the Attitude Era wasn't that amazeballs and now this?! Clearly, Speed's trolling for EOTR page views." To that, I'd say:
  1. If I were trolling for click bait, I'd post nothing but AJ Lee ass and Seleziya Sparx twerk GIFs in my posts.
  2. If I were truly trolling, I'd offer an opinion and not actually go into detail about why I feel that way. 
So, no. I'm not trolling. I just have different opinions. Sue me. Anyway, now that we got that bullshit out the way, I'm Speed on the Beat and this is WIRTB Review.

Today, we're going to take a look at one of the most polarizing figures in WWE today, Jaaaaaaaaahn Ceeeeeeena, and really figure out if (or at least, give another opinion to whether) he's really as bad as many in the Internet Wrestling Community have made him out to be. For this, we will look at his character/gimmick, promo ability, and his match quality. We won't trot out cancer-stricken kids, because, even if Cena was a dick IRL as advertised, his charity work is pretty amazing.

Cena's Character:
From that main roster debut against Kurt Angle, we were given the outline of who Cena was supposed to be.


He was supposed to be a plucky, in-your-face asshole (with, at times, a heart of gold) who wanted to prove he was the best--against any and everyone who came across him. This was, of course, even after he'd beaten everyone he needed to beat--sometimes, twice, thrice, or twenty-five times over. He used his skills to pay the bills and trotted out some increasingly dated slang every now and again to make sure people knew he was "down." That's cool, to a degree. That's who Cena is. And, if that's who he is in real life, as corny as it may be? I'm cool with it.

But, the thing is this: in the thirteen years since Cena debuted against Angle, the only thing that's changed about him, character-wise, is his ring attire. Oh, and his theme song. He still has that angry (but somehow still emotionless), constipated face when he's about to kick some ass or rise above hate. He still uses those dated hip-hop tropes, which are now even more embarrasing than ever. And he still uses that "hustle, loyalty, respect" tagline, which has surpassed even "say your prayers and eat your vitamins" in terms of its hokey-ness.

He has not evolved very much over the years, unless you want to consider the idea that because Cena hasn't changed, his character is supposed to now be the old man who doesn't want to let go of his glory and tells these damn kids to get off his lawn. In sports and "sports entertainment," most greats evolve their character/persona to adapt to the changing times. Hell, even Hulk got rid of the vitamins at one point. We see hints of a more aggressive Cena. We even saw Juan Cena. But any hope of Cena changing is quickly quashed with his promos.

Cena's Promos:
Speaking of promos, Cena isn't bad per se at delivering promos. He's competent, for the most part. The key word, of course, being "competent." He isn't Heyman, but he doesn't make us suffer through succotash. However, when he fails, however, he fails hard. And we get promos such as this gem from 2013 (a promo so bad, even WWE brass apparently shat bricks over it)...


Or this one...


Or...you know what? You get the point. Cena promos, they usually suck in terms of relevancy or actually being good. But, they're still not that bad. Except promos like these, the "I do Make-a-Wish, so I'm better than you" ones, and those "SHADDUP [insert name here]" angry Cena promos. Those are the drizzling shits. Additionally, many of his "face" promos come off quite heelish, such as his assassination of Michael Cole's character and manhood circa 2012.


So, lemme get this straight. You have a man, who is the face of your company and teaches people to rise above hate, embarrassing a man who's smaller than him. Yes, Cole egged him on and Cole kind of deserved to get a smack or two. But, Cena, the face in the promo, the guy who kids are supposed to look up to, not only beats Michael Cole. John Cena, the guy who Kevin Owens' kid looks up to (kayfabe?), strips Cole and proceeds to pour condiments onto him while he's trying to crawl away from Cena. It's like a PG gay-for-pay version of Sunny's Wrestling Vixxxens photoshoot (that'll be the only Sunny joke you get out of me...I think). And we, the fans, were all supposed to cheer. For what? The big guy bullying the smaller guy just because the smaller guy said some mean things? Come the fuck on, WWE! For a company that has touted B A Star (especially in 2012), you're sure as shit letting that star burn out.

Yeesh...it's not looking good for John Felix Anthony Cena.

Cena's Matches:
I've talked with True and other wrestling fans about this on and off. The consensus is this. Cena can have great matches. Cena/Punk at MITB 2011 was a GOAT match. Cena/Edge usually never disappointed. Cena/Bryan at SummerSlam 2013 was pretty up there as well. And we can't forget his hour-long match with HBK, as it was damn near legendary. I'd even go as far to say that Owens/Cena at Elimination Chamber is a contender for (WWE) MOTY.

However, it feels, more often than not, that Cena phones in performances. He's very inconsistent when it comes to match quality. We can go from him being in a four-star match to a stinker within the course of a pay-per-view, even sometimes with the same person. See Cena/Orton, Cena/Miz at Over the Limit 2011, the time he faced Mark Henry after the fake retirement, and others for examples. Now, some of these matches, they end up being shit because they're booked for Cena to have that "LOLCENAWINS" moment. Others, he seems to either lack to chemistry or an ample amount of fucks to give. A wrestler with as many accolades as he's been given/scripted/what-the-hell ever should be able to consistently pull off, at the least, DECENT matches.

On top of that, Cena is one of the most awkward wrestlers I've seen. Look no further than his weak-ass STFspringboard stunner. It looks like he's some random fuck doing backyard wrestling with no experience trying to be badass. And most the time, it ends up looking like this.


Now, thankfully, he's not exactly a dangerous worker. Surprising, I know. But, he's awkward to the point that he's like a less agile, less awesome Sabu at times. At least Sabu's "botches" added some realism to his matches. Cena's botches, LOUD AS FUCK spot calls, etc., they take you out of the match unless you lower your expectations and accept that your face of the company has the ability, at times, of your run-of-the-mill bland babyface midcarder who gets fed to the monster heel.

Conclusion:
So...is John Cena really that bad? Yes and no. He's that bad to be the guy WWE runs to in a pinch to put something/someone/some ratings over. But, in his current role as a fading star upper-midcarder? He's pretty decent. Just cut that fucker's mic on some CM Punk shit every once in a while. Please? That's all I legit ask. Just don't give him a gotdamn mic every time he enters. And tell that sumbitch to tighten up that STF.

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