‘The Wrestling Hipster’ is a column dedicated to a deeper, enlightened perspective on professional wrestling for people who think having an opinion about pro wrestling makes you deeper and enlightened. If you’re one of those people who reads the italicized disclaimer, the headline is unnecessarily confrontational on purpose to make people who don’t read italicized disclaimers mad. Do not take his seriously, but obey every word I type.
Here’s where the Internet currently stands on ALL TIMES CHAMP John Cena:
– If you like John Cena, you’re a woman or a small child.
– If you don’t like John Cena, you’re a “smark.” That word was originally intended to mean “guy who knows too much about wrestling but isn’t actually in the wrestling business,” but has come to mean “person I hate.” If you have an opinion different from mine, you are a smark. It’s how Republicans use the word “liberal.”
– If you feel like the people who don’t like Cena aren’t giving him a fair shake and don’t appreciate what a great wrestler he actually is, you’re a smark. Well, a different kind of smark. You’ve got an enlightened point of view about pro wrestling and can step back and sorta objectively see how everything works, which also makes you an elitist snob. You aren’t just siting back, turning off your brain and enjoying the show.
– If you’re tired of the people who think Cena’s general quality of work and popularity doesn’t justify the years and years and years of stale, retreaded, unbelievable bullshit, you’re a smark. A third kind of smark? I don’t know. You’re able to be TRULY objective and call a spade a bloody shovel, and that means you’re negative and hate everything.
– If you are a woman or a child, all of these opinions are moot and adult male wrestling fans can’t fathom listening to you.
So, long story short, you are not allowed to have an opinion on John Cena. Here are five horrible moments that justify you having an opinion on John Cena:
1. No-selling a DDT on concrete to instantly beat two guys by himself
Recently I’ve been doing a recap of NXT season 2, so this one’s fresh in my brain. Speaking of fresh brains, JOHN CENA.
It was SummerSlam 2010. The main event was a 7-on-7 elimination match teaming The Nexus, a group of young wrestlers who’d banded together due to mistreatment on NXT season 1 and made a legitimate impact on Raw and Smackdown, against John Cena’s “quietly-formed” team of popular guys, unpopular guys and Bret Hart in a Batman t-shirt. Long story short, this was the most important match in the career of every single Nexus member … if they won, they’d be legitimized as WWE superstars. If they lost, they’d be another worthless, abandoned team of guys who are told to “make an impact” and then chastised for doing so. Spoiler alert: they lost.
The Nexus losing isn’t the problem. The problem is the finish, which is one of the very worst John Cena moments ever. Left by himself and facing a 2-on-1 advantage, Cena gets beaten up for a while, tossed to the outside and DDT’d onto concrete. Not the padding, concrete. Justin Gabriel pulls up the padding and Wade Barrett DDTs Cena straight to the floor. That’d be the end of most peoples’ careers. At the very least it’d be an excuse for Cena to take a loss, or to have to struggle for a while to regain his power. Instead, Cena IMMEDIATELY AND TOTALLY NO-SELLS IT, rolling out of the way of Justin Gabriel’s 450 splash and pinning him. Note: a DDT onto the floor doesn’t finish you off, but missing a splash does. Wade Barrett rushes in to get things under control, so Cena takes him down and taps him out to an STF. Cena then celebrates and is totally fine.
The entire Nexus story should be a number on this list. Remember when Cena was “fired” and never missed a single show, showing up at every Raw and Smackdown to run in and interfere until he was rehired? Remember the payoff, which was Wade Barrett lying under a wooden cart while Cena dropped a bunch of chairs onto the CART, doing zero damage to Barrett?
2. Beating a returning monster, announcing that he’s got to take time off, then taking no time off
Extreme Rules 2012. Brock Lesnar has returned from a 7-year hiatus and a run as UFC Heavyweight Champion to lay waste to the WWE. In his first match back, he … loses to John Cena. Again, “losing to John Cena” isn’t that big of a deal. Everybody loses to John. The problem was that
2a) This was the continuation of a “losing streak” angle for Cena. He’d just lost a big match to The Rock at WrestleMania and was convinced that his career was over. During this losing streak angle, he beats Brock Lesnar and wins the Money in the Bank match. When he gets another shot at the Rock at the NEXT MAIN-EVENT OF WRESTLEMANIA, he wins and is all WHEW THANK GOODNESS THAT HORRIBLE YEAR OF MY CAREER IS DONE.
2b) After a bloody and brutal match with Lesnar in an era where nothing is really bloody or brutal, Cena starts hamming it up for the cameras, asking his mom how he looks and telling her he’s fine. Then he sits down on the ring steps in the middle of the ring for a “pipe bomb” about about how he’s gonna have to take some time off, but how he loves each and everyone one of us for the support we’ve given him over the years. He thanks Chicago for “one hell of a last ride.” It was a retirement promo. “If I’m going out, I wouldn’t want to do it any other way! Thank you guys so much, get home safe.”
Cena missed no time.
3. Losing “a Broski for a Hoe-ski”
A lot of serious stuff has been written about this moment, especially by me.
Here’s the version that WON’T get you called a white knight pussy vegan bitch on an image board full of neckbeards: John Cena and Zack Ryder were palz. Pals with a Z. Zack had a popular internet show and a rising surge of grassroots popularity for trying to do something different, and Cena instantly sorta latches onto whatever’s increasingly popular and siphons it for himself. He’s a walking Genesis Machine. See also: Daniel Bryan, The Shield.
Anyway, Cena and Ryder are palz and Ryder has a crush on Diva Eve Torres. Eve did not have feelings for Zack. Suddenly a wild DEMON KANE appeared, announcing that he was going to get John Cena to “embrace the hate” by attacking his loved ones. He loved ones, apparently, were “Zack Ryder.” He beat up Ryder, “broke his back,” tried to drag him into a literal Christian Hell via flame pillar from beneath the ring, confined him to a wheelchair and then pushed the wheelchair off the stage. None of this is the bad part, hilariously. Kane turned his sights on Eve, trying to kidnap her in the back of an ambulance. Cena saved her at the last minute, and Eve kissed him to thank him. They stood in the back making out, and the camera slowly panned over to Zack Ryder looking heartbroken.
The payoff to this was Cena “overhearing” a conversation Eve was having backstage about how she was using these guys to further her career, which made absolutely no sense — Eve was a former Divas Champion at this point — and led to an in-ring blowoff where Cena just berated her about what a slut she was for 10 minutes. It was HORRIBLE. A total overreaction based on one passing comment hastily written into the show to justify … something? I still don’t even know. The point was that the woman was the bad guy in a story about a guy who “deserved” a girlfriend, a demon kidnapper that sets people on fire and a judgmental goober in a neon shirt who is everybody’s instant moral compass.
If you want a broader #3, look at almost any onscreen interaction between Cena and a woman, whether it’s him getting the crowd to chant “slut” at Melina, making constant “you so fat” jokes about Vickie Guerrero, calling Lita a saddlebag-assed whore bitch or being embarrassed that his girlfriend had good news in front of his friends. A full spectrum.
4. Excitedly winning a championship he didn’t believe in from a tired little guy
John Cena cares more about the integrity of the WWE than anything. When CM Punk won the championship from him at Money in the Bank and left WWE with it, Cena still stuck up for him as being the “real champion.” He couldn’t take an anti-Punk stance, after all. With the champion gone and nothing else to do, WWE organized a tournament to crown a NEW champion. That was won by Rey Mysterio, who opened an episode of Raw with a hard-fought victory over The Miz.
BUT WAIT JUST A MINUTE. On that same show, John Cena was awarded a WWE Championship match. Outside of the tournament. Against the guy who’d just wrestled four times on Raw in seven days. Against the five-foot cruiserweight who had just wrestled two hours earlier. The fresh, already-unstoppable John Cena.
Unsurprisingly, Cena hit Mysterio with an Attitude Adjustment in about ten minutes and won the championship. He celebrated like it was Christmas morning. He’s the moral compass until HIS actions are called into question, and then it’s about how much he loves wrestling and loves this company and kills himself for THIS BUSINESS.
The fun followup to that is that Summerslam 2011 was right after that, and featured Cena losing a match to CM Punk to name CM Punk the undisputed WWE Champion. Which he already was. So Cena not only won the WWE Championship when he didn’t deserve it, he won it after he’d LOST it against a tired junior and then immediately lost it AGAIN to the SAME GUY AS BEFORE for a mild increase in drama. Rey Mysterio wouldn’t come close to touching another championship.
5. JBL is Poopy
Cena has a weird habit of enlisting Minority Pals to be his running buddies. They never stick around very long. Recently he’s palled up with The Usos as an example of this, but he was also part of a thing called the CTC. That was Cryme Tyme and the Cenation. Their most memorable moment: vandalizing JBL’s car by writing “JBL is Poopy” on it.
Poopy. JBL is poopy. This was an at-the-time 31-year old man getting TWO BLACK FRIENDS to help him write “poopy” on somebody’s car. That’s Cena’s manufactured, phony-as-f*ck sense of humor in its purest form. Whether he’s photoshopping Bray Wyatt to look like Hattie McDaniel, photoshopping a bunch of babies to look like WWE Superstars so AJ’ll know she’s a whore or simply calling Heath Slater the Wendy’s girl, all jokes inherently distill backwards into JBL IS POOPY.
Please note that not laughing at JBL IS POOPY makes you a smark and disqualifies you from reading any further.