When John Cena comes out to a WWE ring, the arena usually gets louder than when anyone else comes out. However, those fans are split down the middle, half of them screaming “let’s go Cena” while the other half, mostly males, chants that Cena sucks. According to WWE Hall of Fame star Jim Ross on Monday, that is because the WWE hasn’t built up credible villains to face Cena.
Ross, who writes a column for Fox Sports, took time this week to discuss the phenomenon that is John Cena. One of Ross’ biggest arguments is that it does take two to tango, and that without a credible villain that all fans can hate, they have no reason to really care about Cena’s battles, no matter how noble. That has been slightly discredited with Brock Lesnar, a man that many wrestling fans hate, especially since he ended the Undertaker’s streak. Regardless, he is getting cheered by Cena’s haters.
What Jim Ross argues is that, throughout the years, the WWE has failed to build up any superstar that can equal John Cena’s popularity. While CM Punk reached that level for a short time and Daniel Bryan came close, neither man really challenged Cena for the crown of the face of the WWE. It might be too late right now, because John Cena became the most polarizing character in the WWE because the company only focused on building him and no one else. Roman Reigns might face the same backlash if the WWE is not careful.
The fact is that John Cena is facing the same problems that Hulk Hogan faced at the end of his first major WWE run. While Hogan was the biggest face in professional wrestling for many years, fans soon became bored with his character and started booing him towards the end. Hogan became stagnant and polarizing, much like John Cena, until the WCW turned him heel and he became a huge name in the sport once again.
However, Jim Ross reasons that the WWE can’t turn John Cena bad. The company has lost a lot of money since they started the WWE Network and turning Cena heel would cost them even more in merchandise sales. John Cena easily outsells any other WWE superstar because he is still a huge hero to kids. The WWE can’t risk that. However, that means that John Cena will continue to be hated by people bored with his character and that won’t change anytime soon.