The meaning of John Cena
Watching this weeks WWE Raw I have one question, What does John Cena mean? After seeing John Cena admitting fearing Brock Lesner and taking the Green Mist to the face by Lord Tensai, I am confused where this character is going. After Wrestlmania the WWE seems to be doubling down on John Cena, but it looks like they want to get rid of the 'Super Cena' image.
Over the last year or so the WWE wants us to think that John Cena is a wrestler you cannot outwork or out hustle. You might be able to beat him, but you can never get his to stop. He is loyal to the his fans and is not willing to hate the WWE fans that boo him. He loves wrestling, the WWE and to fight. This is what the WWE wants us to think about John Cena. Just because you create a work of art, it does not mean you control the meaning.
Since Jonn Cena has been on top of the WWE for almost five years, everyone has an opinion on him. Listing to wrestling podcasts, it seems that even people who are not actively watching wrestling have an opinion on John Cena.
When it comes to the Internet Wrestling Community, it seems like the top opinion on John Cena is that he is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with the WWE. After the Attitude era and the vanquishing of WCW, the WWE went from rated R to rated PG and John Cena has been the leader of the PG era. He appeals to "children and women" and most of the Internet Wrestling Community is in neither of those categories. The subtext of this opinion is John Cena clogging up the main event spot and keeps other good wrestlers from getting to the top. Never mind that the WWE might promote another wrestler you don't like.
I really do believe kids love John Cena. Do a You Tube search for Crying Over John Cena and you will see what I mean. I think it is easy to see why John Cena is popular with kids. With bright colors and his broad movements, he is a Power Ranger come to life.
On one level this is a great strategy. This is bad news for people who want another boom in wrestling because the next big boom level will be in 10 years or so. They are targeting their next generation of wrestling fans at the expense of this generation of fans and wrestlers. The next Stone Cold Steve Austin is just getting trained right now. I am sorry to tell the current Internet Wrestling Community this, but it is likely true.
I think to the WWE John Cena means bank-ability. He is able to get ratings, move T-Shirts, and PPV buys. This is an expression of two things 1) Money is what matters, 2) WWE is not confident it can build new stars to the same level. You hear it all the time from old pro-wrestlers, all that matters is what you can draw. Without money there is not wrestling. The second is that the WWE knows how to get the most money out of a popular star, but they do not seems to know how to make people popular. If they were confident they could push wrestlers into being stars, they would take more risks with characters.
In the end I think John Cena is the ultimate expression of a blank hero. When people write about John Cena, they really write about the wrestling industry as a whole. If you find good things about John Cena, you find good things about the WWE. If you write bad things about John Cena, you think the WWE is killing everything you love around wrestling. Personally I find John Cena interesting because I think they WWE has a lot of stories they can tell with him. I want to watch to see if they have the guts to tell the interesting stories that people are not expecting.
Leave a comment telling me what you think of John Cena.