Let’s go Cena! Cena Sucks! Those dueling chants are now a cornerstone of Monday Night Raw. Even over the last few weeks as Cena was held off of TV for most of the show, the crowd was still split on him. It’s hard to say how we got to this point, but there is no denying that Cena is now one of the most polarizing stars in WWE history. At a glance, it doesn’t seem to make any sense. He’s the perfect role model for young people and aspiring wrestlers. His work ethic and respect for the business are immense. He has never and will never fail a drug test. He’ll never get in trouble with the law. In the ring, he’s solid and consistently botch free. It’s those attributes that make it easy for him to be the top face and perennial world title champ/contender, yet maybe it’s those same superior qualities that have left him overexposed and feeling stale. Either way, WWE has to address the fractured fan base sooner rather than later. The options are limited but something’s got to give.
Turning Cena heel could be one option but it’s easier said than done. The younger demographic absolutely loves the champ. Because of that, his merchandise sales are probably comparable to Austin’s, not in volume per say but surely in percentage of overall sales. With that said, a heel turn could be a financial disaster. It’d also be so far out of character for a guy who ended last week’s Raw shaking hands with members of the United States Armed Forces. That’s who John Cena is and stripping him of those traits would create a real life need for a new ambassador to all the charities and organizations WWE works with.
An outside of the box idea may be to package him with a stable or just put some semi-established younger guys around him. John deserves everything he’s archived but his place at the top seems to be holding back the younger guys in a sense. They have no where to fit in and no room to grow so long as Cena the guy holding. Only one guy at a time can feud with Cena and those opportunities are only available to heels. Aligning him with young talent thus giving them a rub could be mutually beneficial. I’m not sure who would fit the mold, but they’d be in prime position for a push, or at least more TV time. A new alliance for Cena wouldn’t need to come out of left field. An up and coming guy could run-in for a save as a monster heel was demolishing Cena. The show could go off the air with the two standing back to back. If they pick the right partner, the crowd would have no choice but to cheer. From there they could be a reoccurring tag team that would eventually move into a mutual respect feud. There are a number of interesting ways to bring a deserving mid-carder into the spotlight along side Cena. The basis of any partnership would need to avoid A Ry-Miz territory as well as any Nexus type disconnect between the leader and members. Cena and this hypothetical partner would have to be considered equals.
Then there is the CM Punk factor. Punk has got to be the best in the business right now especially after Monday’s jaw dropping promo. With his impending departure, Cena could and should use his upcoming match against Punk, assuming there will still be one, to get back in the good graces of the crowd. Maybe he could add a stipulation to MitB telling CM, ‘You win, you take the title and leave. I win, you sign a 1 year contract with WWE.’ He could say the WWE is the greatest wrestling company in the world and he wants to have the best competitors around him whether they’re friend or foe. The Chicago crowd would hate seeing Punk lose, but if it meant Punk was staying, Cena could be praised and maybe even cheered. It’d be bitter sweet, but Cena would then be viewed as the man that forced Punk to stay. At this point, that’d be one heck of a title to hold.
Do you think WWE can help Cena win back the crowd or is it hopeless at this point?