John Cena: The Target of Misplaced Anger
By: Parker Richards
Hot off the heels of one of the best main events in recent memory, the WWE championship is chilling in a fridge in Chicago, Illinois. Vincent K. McMahon has been removed from his position as the chairman of the WWE and replaced by his son-in-law, Triple H (the doofus). There is a tournament to decide who will become the new WWE champion. And, the figurehead of the WWE, John Cena, has been fired.
Wait. He hasn’t? Really? Even after all of that stuff during the last two weeks? Well, I guess we can add something new to the list of constants: death, taxes, and John Cena.
John Cena is perhaps the most polarizing figure in WWE history. He is loved as intensely has he is hated. Sure, one could break down his fanbase by gender and age, but that is not the point. Cena, the ever-constant star in the WWE night sky, is just that: constant. His character hasn’t changed since 2005. He is this generation’s Hulk Hogan, replacing vitamins and prayers with hustle, loyalty, and respect. He has the similar “Five Moves of Doom,” sports brightly-colored attire, and even refers to his fans as a single group: CeNation. McMahon was right when he stated he could create another Cena; John Cena is the new Hulk Hogan.
This brings me to this issue behind John Cena: he’s stale. He’s played out. His shtick is old.
But, fans cannot blame him for this. He’s just following orders.
John Cena is the best “Superstar” in the WWE; if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be the face of the company. He does charity work, movies, commercials, and TV appearances in order to promote the company. He has never come off as selfish or wanting to hog the spotlight for himself. He is the ultimate team player, the ultimate soldier.
Before going any further, I must point out there is a difference between being a WWE Superstar and a professional wrestler. A successful WWE superstar is in direct correlation to how much money he or she makes for the company. The best wrestler may not make the best superstar, and the best superstar may not make the best wrestler.
Fans do not hate Cena. They hate what he represents: stagnation, boredom, creative laziness. It has nothing to do with the PG rating he caters to or his in-ring ability (aside from the SuperCena persona and 5 moves of doom, he is a solid in-ring performer). He is the face of a company that the supporters have lost faith in. The fans are disappointed with the direction of the WWE and desire change. Cena is the embodiment of what the fans loathe.
To demonstrate what Cena is going through, let me give an example: the kitchen at a restaurant is having an off night. The orders are taking forever to get out, the food is not cooked properly, and there are mistakes with the orders themselves. The waitress has done everything in her power to make sure her customers are well taken care of. She accurately writes down the order, refills drinks, and gives updates on the orders’ ETA. However, when everything comes out wrong, who is the target of the customers’ anger?
The waitress. To the customers, she is the face of the restaurant. To them, she represents everyone from the cooks to the busboys. Even if she does everything right – even if she does everything that is asked of her – she will bear the full brunt of the customer’s vitriol for the mistakes made by others.
John Cena is suffering for the mistakes made by WWE creative. There are a lot of extenuating circumstances that have resulted in the company’s direction: deciding to become more family-friendly, PG entertainment; Linda McMahon’s political aspirations; tragedies involving previous employees. However, the fans do not care about that. All the fans see is John Cena. And no matter how hard he tries to do right, he is vilified.
Am I saying that fans should stop hating Cena? Am I saying “LEAVE CENA ALONE!”? Absolutely not. What I suggesting is for the fans to understand there is a difference between being disgruntled with a company and being disgruntled with a man.
People say Cena sucks, that he’s a joke. He is no joke. He has made his company millions of dollars. If a person sucks, then he or she would not be so prevalent in the success of the company.
Ask this question: if you were running a company, would you hire John Cena to work for you? I would. I would love to have someone who was a hard-working, loyal, team-first company man. I would love to have someone who is willing to work no matter what the weather is or how sick they feel. I would love to have someone who follows orders without question. How could someone say no to a worker like that?
If you do not like John Cena as a character or a performer, that is fine. People love the Dave Matthews Band while I can’t stand them. It’s all personal preference. However, I just ask that you as fans realize and appreciate the hard work he puts in for the company. He is a soldier following orders. The orders might be horrendous, but it is his job to carry them out. And he always does.