If you're a fan that believes the Rock at his worst is better on the stick than John Cena at his best, don't bother reading this. I've been sick for two weeks and don't feel like arguing with you.
And with that out of the way…
Why is everyone forgetting what got John Cena over in the first place? When EVERYONE was finishing his rhymes. When EVERYONE was cheering for him. Collectively. It wasn't his wrestling skills. He did it all on the mic.
Cena was fresh, back then. An original. He wasn't "John Cena" yet.
When Vince McMahon decided that he was going to place his company on the back of John Cena, Cena changed. He adapted. He became what Vince wanted as his top babyface. Enter John Cena, all-American hero with Superman-like abilities. A modern day Hulk Hogan.
It was great for a while. We, as fans, felt responsible. After all, we're the ones that cheered him, even though he was "technically" still a bad guy. You know who was cheering him before anyone else? The same people sick of him now.
Kids and women are loyal, for the most part, by nature. That's why they were the last to jump on the Cena bandwagon and they're the last to jump off. They're also casual fans, primarily, and don't get caught up in the internet hype and hoopla.
The male demographic, predominantly found on websites like this one, need everything in their life to evolve. In the same way their phones, cars, and computers evolve, they need that in wrestling. Their major gripe with Cena is that his "character" hasn't changed. He's no longer cool, especially when surrounded by CM Punk and the Rock.
Speaking of, it was ten years ago when the Rock went through the same thing Cena is going through now. When he returned to face Hulk Hogan — who ironically, the IWC now hates again — at WrestleMania 18, he was nearly booed out of the building. He was supposed to be the babyface.
I agree with the majority on one thing: Cena needs something new and fresh. It's time for his character to evolve. And that's why I feel his last two promos were so good. They weren't all about hustle, loyalty and respect. At least, not directly. They were about "truth". A worked truth, sure, but truth nonetheless.
Cena's last two promos were less fluff, more "shoot". And oh, how we love that word…
Punk basically became an overnight phenomenon after his "shoot promo" on June 27th. He was speaking the truth! It was reality in a fake sport! And we became sheep that followed, immediately. I'm not saying Punk wasn't amazing that night. He was. But he was that good before that night too.
Throw in a few "bitch's" and "mangina's" and you have something even better!
The Rock is great. One of my favorites of all time. And it can certainly be argued that he's the best stick man ever. This column isn't an attempt to convince you that Cena is better than Rock. Or that he's even on the same level. But I do believe he's closer than a certain group of people are willing to admit.
The Rock is the same Rock that he was ten years ago. Yet, he was booed then and is cheered now. Punk was a great promo guy well before he sat on the top of the entrance ramp eight months ago. John Cena ALSO had live audiences eating out of the palm of his hand night in and night out. Still does.
Wrestling is cyclical. Wrestling fans are no different.
Don't forget where John Cena came from. And don't think he can't accomplish the same thing now. All he needs is the green light from Vince. The ability to transition away from the guy we've come to hate and into a guy we can relate to again and appreciate.
John Cena just needs to become "cool" again. The Rock can help him begin that process and personally, I believe he already has.
I expect more shooting from the hip during promos going forward, from both men. Rock will likely win the majority of those battles. But it won't be a landslide. If Vince gives Cena the same freedom he's going to continue giving Rock, Cena will hold his own. He's too good not to.
It won't turn the haters into followers again. That steam has been brewing for far too long. It will, however, give them less ammunition against Cena when they continue to spew their negativity in the future.
For a lot of them, it will also reveal them to be hypocrites when they continue to bitch about Cena as much as they do now, despite him changing the things that made them hate him in the first place.
I'm looking forward to that day.
You can disagree with my opinion, but don't tell me it's wrong.
Chris Cash can be reached via email @firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @RealityofChris and tune into his all-new video podcast, "VOW Reaction", immediately following every WWE Raw and pay per view. Stay tuned also for the all-new video version of the Voice of Wrestling, hosted by Chris Cash and Nick Paglino, coming soon.
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