Debut WZ Column: “The Anti-Antagonist; Why We Watch”

Adam Gorzelsky

John CenaSuperCena…the five moves of doom….the ultimate corporate symbol…the company guy.

This is John Cena…right? He’s everything that we hate about the WWE now…right? I mean, when’s the last time he put someone over? Why does he kick out of everyone’s finisher? How can he take a beating all match only to emerge from the dead to hit the five moves of doom for the victory? He’s just a modern day Hulk Hogan….right?

Wrong.

I have never been able to understand the constant, incessant John Cena bashing. I will be the first to admit that I am currently not the biggest John Cena fan. I used to be. In fact, one of my last columns in the old days was written as a Cena-style rap.

I loved that gimmick, but I understand why he no longer battle raps while wearing a giant masterlock around his neck. He is the face of the company and a damn good one at that. He sells the T-shirts and is the type of employee & figure-head that any organization dreams of having. And no matter whether it is positive or negative, he also gets THE biggest crowd reaction of any superstar on the roster.

I may not like his current shtick, but a lot of people do, and I can understand their perspective even if I don’t agree with it. More importantly, even though I don’t like his character per se, I understand and appreciate how important his persona is to the development and long-term success of the product.

Let’s get one thing straight. The SuperCena phenomenon is nothing new. Like it or not, he is the top baby face of the company. The top baby face of the company always has had an air of invincibility. At the top of his game, how many times was Austin beaten cleanly? How about the Rock? Bret Hart? Shawn Michaels? Hogan? The number of times combined probably could be counted on one hand.

Why was this the case and why does it remain the case today? Apart from a marketing standpoint, an invincible top baby face is the one individual who can catapult deserving talent to the top. Whether it is another face with a clean victory or an up-and-coming heel with a tainted win, the effect only is felt fully when the top face has appeared unbeatable. It’s an accomplishment and a launch pad for the truly deserved.

One needs to look no further than CM Punk for a prime example. While his promos set the stage for his stardom, it was his victory over Cena at Money in the Bank that cemented his place at the top of the company. Despite a mini distraction, Punk pinned Cena cleanly in the middle of the ring after hitting the GTS.

Can anybody remember the last time that Cena was pinned in a remotely clean fashion? The fact that you can’t made this victory all the more special. It resulted in Cena acknowledging on Raw that Punk was the only wrestler on the show worthy of such a feat.

Unfortunately, the sad truth of the matter is that Cena is right. Nobody else on the Raw roster is ready to take that step. Does Swagger deserve that honor at this time? Ziggler? R-Truth? Del Rio? In due time they may be, but the reality of the situation is that nobody on Raw is on the same level as Cena or Punk.

He has the power to bring someone up to the main event level when that individual is ready. Until that time, the use of kryptonite is premature.

You can reach Adam via Twitter at @PolishHMR

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