John Cena is slowly winding down from one of the best runs in WWE history. He’s done almost everything. He’s won every major championship. He’s wrestled nearly every relevant wrestler since 2002. He’s sold a mind-boggling amount of merchandise. He’s main-evented WrestleMania. It’s a remarkable list of accomplishments.
What Cena hasn’t done since becoming WWE’s most-recent megastar, is turn heel. We’ve heard a million different excuses over the years as to why WWE hasn’t pulled the trigger on a John Cena heel turn. Some of them make sense, some of them don’t, but as of October 2017, Cena is no longer a full-time WWE Superstar, and it doesn’t seem like we’re ever going to see a significant character shift out of him at this point.
The latest round of why hasn’t John Cena turned heel yet? rumors come courtesy of The Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast. Keller had former WWE writer Kevin Eck on the show, and Eck revealed a couple of different instances where all parties were on-board with a Cena heel turn before WWE changed their minds last second.
The first failed heel turn occurred right around the time Sheamus got his first big push.
“Vince had agreed to do it, but then he changed his mind and said that we can’t do it. This was back around the time when McMahon was really looking at Sheamus to get his push. The question was if we turn John Cena heel then who is he going to work with, who will be the top babyface?”
Fine speech. In all seriousness, this makes some sense? Would a Cena heel turn be more valuable to WWE than a big Sheamus push? Well, we’ll leave that up to you to determine.
The second John Cena heel turn attempt was canceled due to a huge mMart merchandising deal. No, really. Kmart.
“That was the feeling back then, then we came up with some scenarios, and believe it or not, Cena was on board with it, but right around that time there was a big clothing line for John Cena at Kmart, and Vince McMahon was like, ‘Oh Jesus Christ, he has a deal with Kmart, and now we’re going to turn him heel?’ So, Kmart is to blame for Cena not turning heel. During a meeting once Vince had a huge smile on his face, and he tells everyone that I know you’ve wanted John Cena as a heel for a long time, but we just can’t turn him heel and that was the end of that.”
In case you had any doubt that WWE alters their storylines based on merchandising or licensing deals, there’s your evidence. Kmart blocked our John Cena heel turn.