What’s Next, Fan of Failure
I knew when I was writing a column about turning John Cena heel using the popularity of the Rock, I was in for a substantial amount of feedback. But I honestly did not expect the overwhelmingly positive response that flooded my inbox in the last week (except you ‘deathmunky’…I’ll see you in Atlanta!). The one thing I was asked about time and time again was what the WWE would do after turning the biggest draw in wrestling to the dark side. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, you can check out last week’s article here. To summarize, I threw out the idea that John Cena should not only defeat the Miz for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 27, but he should also turn on the Rock and the "millions" in grand form. The premiss is that even though Cena has busted his ass for seven years and left his life in the ring for the CeNation, they were willing to turn on him at the first sight of The Great One. The Rock really is the only star big enough to give John Cena a thorough turn, and the window for the WWE to capitalize on the situation is quickly closing.
So what do you do with a Yabba-Dabba super villain in a bright purple shirt? Will merchandise sales plummet and force Vince to pull the plug premature of a huge payoff? And who will take The Champ’s place as the face of professional wrestling if they do succeed? Well, the first thing you do is have John Cena burn everything with his face on it (literally, if you have to). Then you have the Miz start wearing that anti-Cena shirt he created in their 2009 mini-feud. Imagine all the little kids trading in their "chain gang product" for the "awesome apparel" of the Miz. Hell, I know several adults that would drop cash on an anti-Cena shirt for themselves. But in the end, if you think a little t-shirt money is going to send the largest wrestling company in the world into financial ruin, you’ve got another thing coming. Yes, every John Cena shirt that WWEShop.com sells puts $20 in Vince McMahon’s pocket. But every seat that Madison Square Garden fills puts anywhere from $50-500 in the bank. The WWE could probably live off the fumes of WrestleMania alone every year and be completely fine. Yes, John Cena is a cash cow that sells more than any man before him. But I highly doubt his merch is what keeps the paychecks coming. It may hinder Cena’s cash flow a little bit, but the man will do whatever is best for the company in the long run, or at the very least he’ll do whatever Vince asks him to. I don’t think Cena’s collection of muscle cars is at risk…
Speaking of Vince, he would be the real obstacle in making this idea work. With how often the man changes his mind, it would take a powerful presence backstage to keep him committed to Cena as a heel. He could let it go until SummerSlam and make the change, or he could panic at the first sight of a drop in sales and pull a “just kidding” the next night on Raw. Somebody like Hunter is going to have to want this to happen, and Cena will have to commit as well. No more advertising his “Make a Wish” visits or affiliation with the troops. No more stupid jokes about bodily functions or sexual preference. No more kid-friendly John Cena. If you want the Universe to turn on him, John Cena has to first turn on the Universe. The hilarious thing is that the marks who chant “Cena sucks” may actually take up the “let’s go Cena” chant in the absence of 12-year-old voices. But I guarantee the Miz can do everything that John Cena does, both on television and behind-the-scenes. He’s already committed himself full-time to the business and has gone out of his way to impress everyone. He’s not too far gone as a heel that he couldn’t take up Cena’s torch and run with it. Like I said in last week’s article, you have to build a super heel to make a super hero. Every Batman has their Joker. Every Jerry Lawler has their Michael Cole. If you want anybody to come along and “shake things up”, you’re going to need a mutually hated presence to get the fans behind their face. JBL really was a “wrestling god” back in the day, and there’s a good reason they brought him back as a swerve on last week’s Raw. He’s one of the best heels of all time, and the WWE really needs to start looking at who’s going to fill THAT position next. So besides the Miz, who can fill the shoes of John Cena…?
Most Likely to Succeed…
John Morrison: Here’s the easist choice in my opinion. Morrison is already a face that is over with the same demographic as Cena, but has way more ability in the ring. I understand people’s issues with him as a main eventer, and I myself doubt that somebody who can’t talk could possible hold the WWE torch. But you can teach vocal ability. It can be done.
Alberto del Rio: Here’s a guy who can talk better than most, has excellent charisma, and can out-wrestle anybody in the big league business (TNA isn’t a business, it’s Florida’s version of the death penalty…but you already knew that). I’m not jumping on the “second coming of Eddie Guerrero” train just yet, but there’s definitely something about his style that screams “I lie, I cheat, I steal”.
Dolph Ziggler: I still have no idea why he isn’t using the Mr. Perfect gimmick yet. I know Cody Rhodes has his whole “dashing” thing going down right now, but Ziggler actually has the look to pull it off. I think Ziggler has what it takes, but I question his potential as a face. He’s really easy to hate, especially with Vickie Guerrero behind him, and I see him getting lost in the mid-card as a face on Raw.
The WTF are you thinking Mike…?
Jeff Hardy: Yeah, I’m laughing too. Even though Jeff left the WWE during his break-out main event push, was immediately arrested on drug charges, returned to TNA, and recently ruined a PPV main event by showing up “under the weather”, I won’t rule out a return to the WWE for the Charismatic Enigma. As many times as I’ve said “he’s never coming back. He blew his last chance” I think if Vince really needed him, his success would speak for itself. IF he could get clean and stay that way (doubtful…), it could happen. I don’t want it to happen, but it could…
Shelton Benjamin: Again…doubtful. Even if the guy manages to make a full-time return to the WWE, has much changed since his last run? The WWE has tried to push him before, but he just never seemed to care about the little things like success. He’s an extraordinary talent that if used the right way could potentially give Cena a run for his money, but he’d have to develop a serious amount of dedication and drop his apathetic attitude.
Zak Ryder: Ugh…
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