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3.09.2008

Tha Time (For Change) Is Now!

It’s no secret that a lot of hate is pointed towards John Cena. I’m guilty of it, as is most everyone else closely associated with Tha O Show. He’s supposedly a merch pusher, a ticket seller and a ratings getter.

Not too many people believe the ratings thing, as proved by the ratings that “Raw” gets. The ticket selling is another point that can be heavily disputed, and it is disputed. He does unquestionably sell merch, even though that may be the only thing he sells at least in the ring.

This isn’t a complete blast on John Cena article, it’s a mere suggestion.

These ideas aren’t brand new, some have been suggested before, and some have not. John Cena is quickly falling from the favor of most fans, except for that section of the “smart” community that is trying to go against the norm and take up for him.

I’ve been unabashed in my constant hammering of Cena. When it is warranted, which is often, I do it. Seemingly popular belief states that most of us, Fronte excluded, here at Tha O Show love hating on Cena. I don’t, I don’t want to hate anyone in the business.

The guys competing in the WWE are living a dream, at least most of them are, and those are the ones I hate disliking. The bodybuilders and guys who view wrestling as only a means to make a paycheck I’ll never support, but I digress.

It’s time to move along from the long monologue I just went on and it’s time to start the suggestions. Two things should be kept in mind before I begin. John Cena is NOT going to turn heel, so we can forget that suggestion. The other thing is John Cena will likely always maintain the cheers female and children in the audience. So here goes:

Suggestion #1: Make him a babyface. I know a lot of you are reading that and thinking, “What?” John Cena’s style is heel. His promo’s, his matches and his style are all heelish. Change that. Go with what garners the most cheers.

Cena has often said that he doesn’t care if it’s cheering or booing, as long as he hears noise he’s happy. I think though, that he’s a little misled. In wrestling fans always have paid to see their guy win and they guy they hate lose. The guy in the middle is just padding the card.

At this point Cena is the guy in the middle. Some love him, some don’t, but very few truly hate him, at least not to the level of paying to see him lose. A “top” guy needs to be the guy the fans pay to see. At this point Cena isn’t in that category.

Little kids are begging their parents to go see him and girls are making their boyfriends/husbands and whatever else to see him. That’s not the audience he should want. He should want the die-hard fans to pay to come see him. The kids and women would be icing, but the average money paying fan should want to see Cena period.

To make Cena a babyface though he needs more than just a few gimmick changes, what he needs is help. Help in the form of a monster heel. He faced Umaga and Khali, while monsters they weren’t truly monster heels. One thing that failed though was he beat them quickly.

Cena needs to lose to gain sympathy. I can’t remember a time when Cena was truly a sympathetic face. Nobody felt sorry for him because he does not lose. I could not tell you, other than the Shawn Michaels hour match a time he’s been pinned clean, and I don’t think he’s ever tapped.

Sure that makes him look strong, but it hurts him in the long run. Give him some losses. Give him some adversity, but to do all this he must be allowed to sell. He can sell he either just doesn’t or is told not to, or a combination of the two. That has to change.

While some fans may still cheer him, they still know that he’s going to go over. They don’t anticipate seeing their, “champ” in any true danger. Sure he may have a ruptured spleen, or whatever, but within minutes of a beat down he’ll be running the ropes and lifting 400 pounds. He could get shot in the head on WWE TV and still beat Fatty to the top of the CN Tower. Just ask Vince, it’d happen.

Suggestion #2: Make him entertaining. He can do it. He has done it. He just hasn’t done it in a long time. I know that the E wants him to appeal to a broader audience, but is that “broad” audience lining your pockets? No it’s the die-hards he entertained when he was on “SmackDown!”

Those die-hards talk about wrestling, they go see wrestling. They truly care about wrestling. They buy the DVD’s and those expensive PPV’s. When John Cena was entertaining, he was free styling and wearing Mitchell and Ness throwbacks.

So instead of marketing “Hustle Loyalty Respect,” “Live Fast Fight Hard,” and “American Made Muscle,” shirts let him be unique. Unique isn’t another terrible wrestling catchphrase to sell a t-shirt. It’s doing something different and eye catching.

Bring back the throwbacks. You put him in a Walter Payton jersey. Throw him in the jerseys again. I’d much rather see Lance Allworth, Gale Sayers, Larry Bird, Barry Sanders, Pistol Pete Marovich, Michael Jordan, Pat Ewing, Magic Johnson, Dr. J, Pete Rose, Jackie Robinson and the like on jerseys every week.

He doesn’t even have to bring back the freestyles, but he does need to bring back the gritty in-ring style, the hip-hop image, because let’s face it, hip hop loves wrestling. Isn’t that right Dan? Here’s an idea, have him challenge 50 to a rap battle before Mania. Do something edgy and entertaining.

I’m not a big hip-hop fan, my listening isn’t limited, but the albums I own and artists I care about is a list of about six. I’m not a hip-hop expert, but I do know that culture and things geared towards it sell. Dan-e-o, Eminem, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Snoop and Tupac are the only ones I care about, but I know it all sells.

One more small suggestion on this topic would be to bring back the Word Life brass knuckles and the chain with the lock and other simple wardrobe tweaks that would take fans minds back to the days when Cena was truly entertaining.

Think about the crowd reactions Cena got then compared to now. Sure he still gets lots of cheers, but then the reactions were different because fans turned him face. He was a heel but was turned face because fans liked it, fans cared, and fans appreciated him doing something away from the norm, it didn’t insult anyone’s intelligence.

You could change his moves if you want to, but there’s no need. The FU is gay, but it’s still not as bad as Hogan’s leg drop which won over the masses. The only problem with the STFU is the fact that it’s pushed as an STF. It’s not, it’s an STS. Instead of a step over crossface it’s a step over sleeper.

If not for his finishing move’s name, I don’t think this problem would have ever risen. They said hey, fans are dumb they won’t notice the difference. So we got an STFU instead of an STSU. He doesn’t apply the sleeper part perfectly, but it wouldn’t look as bad if it was acknowledged as a sleeper instead of a crossface. A sleeper doesn’t require the opponent to bend back like a cross face.

I don’t want to get into anything on his singular moves, but the Killswitch spinning powerbomb, the throwback and the jumping hiptoss were all good moves that when used at the right time got their point across. Bring them back let him wrestle, and let him sell.

If you do these things you’re well on your way to a more universal acceptance of John Cena. Maybe you agree, maybe you don’t, but for every fan that wouldn’t accept that there are three to five that would.

So maybe next time, instead of a lame promo we can get freestyle and a Word Life. Probably just wishful thinking, but I’d like to know what the rest of the world thinks about it as well.


9 comments: on "Tha Time (For Change) Is Now!"

Andrew Gray said...

I agree.

I've always wondered why the fed moved away from the character which got him over in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I agree, i was at the royal rumble and he was booed like crazy. before the show started there was a video with him on the screen and the crowd chanted cena sucks not even knowing he was gonna come back. Then he was booed during his entrance and during the win. If he came back at the rumble with the changes u suggested and changed his ways back to when we liked him then maybe most people would like him again.

D.J.B. said...

One point I forgot to mention was Cena's natural personality. The dude is one funny mother fucker. I don't know who saw any of his "5 Questions With Tha Champ" segments off of WWE.com but the shit was funny.

Let Cena be Cena, not Vince McMahon's puppet boy.

I wouldn't mind supporting Cena, and if he or the E went in any direction other than the one their taking now, I think I could do it.

Deezer said...

Good article.

I saw some of the 5 Questions segments and I thought the same...dude's funny.

The folly in his character started with his first Championship win. That match at WM21 with JBL was kinda fucking boring. Cena took a bit of a bullying and then just broke into a few right hands, an FU and then *poof*, new Champ.

At that point, he goes to Raw and has some good feuds, which starts to build on the "Soldier" aspect of the Chain Gang thing. Aside from his entrance theme, there is no more "Hip Hop" to speak of.

This effectively buries the entertaining aspect of his character and makes him the unstoppable babyface, and thus the problem.

He should have gone heel at WM22, and performed a double-switch with Triple H, but I digress.

Overall, I agree with your comments, D.J.B., however, I think for that long term sympathy, he must turn heel and give his character some depth. They have to try and sell his strength and fire and determination blah blah blah and take away his predictability. Make him snap, make him scary and then make him stoppable.

If he loses at WM24, I say they should turn him. Do I think this will happen? No.

Anonymous said...

this reminded me from this weeks episode when donnie mentioned the triple h thing with him only doing a couple of moves and stuff. this is what i see with cena, i hate those smart marks who say shit like that, i know i dont like the FU either but besides that his old gimmicks were better and i think people know he is a good worker. he was fun to watch up until some months after the jbl win. but yea this article was dope and its good that there are people who hate the gimmicks and character presentm rather than just ignoring the past and such.

Anonymous said...

John Cena may not be the most popular wrestler, but he is more exciting than some wanna-be rapper or some fat-ass wrestler.

D.J.B. said...

annymus #6, I don't know who you're calling a wannabe rapper or a fat-ass wrestler, but Cena WAS a wannabe rapper. He did put out a decent CD. I also don't know when he was fat, or who you're refering to, but could you be more specific? Or if you're just taking shots at Tha O Show could you be more quiet

Anonymous said...

Pyro said...

You're right, but I don't see any of that mess happening.

Cena is and most likely forever will be Vince's puppet and wont break this mold until the day he retires.

I'd love to see that stuff happening, but the only guy to change his character for the better is Triple H, time and time again, and it isn't always for the best.

As far as anonymous #6 goes, he's probably another one of those moron's hating on Tha O Show.

Skitlez said...

Great article. I love the fact that you didn't rehash the same "Cena should be a Heel" rhetoric.

You're completely right too that he needs sympathy. When Hogan's character started getting stale what happened? He'd lose, he'd look like he'd never be the same and he just couldn't beat that guy. Have Cena do that. Hell, make Orton that guy for him. The Cena/Orton feud is one of my favorite upper card feuds in a long time, if only for the fact that Orton has evolved into an amazing heel. It's pretty close to that point already. Before Cena got hurt, I was loving the direction it was going.