Hey there, hi there, ho there. It’s me, your pal, James! And between working somewhat tangentially in the financial field during tax season and recuperating from my birthday weekend, I am beat like a jobber in the ’80s. So I’m submitting a column I first proposed when I got the grand notion to write for this site, but one that in light of someone’s well-received promo against the Rock this Monday night is still awfully relevant.
But before all that, I do have to apologize for an error on my part that delayed my column to Friday last week. And I paid for it by going from 20+ comments to… one. So if you feel like you’ve missed something awesome, well, you should. With the miracle of clicking on slightly different looking words like this one, however, you can go back in time to the 24th of February… a more innocent time where you can read my existential musings on the deeper lessons to be held in professional wrestling and comment down below…
Now I’m about to commit smark suicide. I’m going to lose all my Internet cred points forever. And those were gonna get me… gonna get me… something worthwhile, I imagine.
I’m about to defend John Cena.
Would I consider myself a fan of John Cena? The wrestler? Not so much. The man? Definitely.
John Cena is quite possibly the most clean-cut face that the WWE has ever had. Go ahead and dig around on some of the personal demons and scandals faced by former figureheads of the company like Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, HBK, or Austin. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Or maybe I don’t need to, because you instantly thought of exactly what I might be referencing for each of those guys. Pretty unseemly.
I don’t need to tell anyone that wrestling does not exactly enjoy a sterling reputation as an above-the-board entertainment option. Nor should it. In a recent column, Blair A. Douglas did fine job laying out some of the more seedy rumors and scandals of wrestling (which you can revisit here), and that’s just the most public stuff. You dig deeper, and you’ll be pouring rubbing alcohol on your eyes and childhood memories like I spent one Saturday afternoon doing.
WWE has years of bad publicity and shadiness to make up for, and Vince realizes this. It’s no coincidence that the two current heavyweight champs are only two guys on the roster who aren’t likely to ever be pulled over for a DUI or for carrying more drugs than a Duane Reade. But CM Punk is new to the top, and Daniel Bryan is a heel as of present. So who has been carrying the burden as default ambassador and talk show guest? John Cena.
As far as I know, the dude is as clean as the shiny, never-used dog tags around his neck. No Wellness violations, no spousal abuse, no running through the ring rat world like Randy Orton on a Viagra bender. In fact, this guy is the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s wet dream turned real, not only fulfilling more requests than a doctor with the antidote but donating his extra airline miles to boot. And that’s in addition to being the poster boy for good behavior onscreen as well, telling kids to “rise above hate,” and spreading messages of never giving up.
And yes, I admit it, my favorite wrestlers are the same as every other unoriginal Internet jerk. CM Punk. Daniel Bryan. Chris Jericho. Underutilized guys like Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler. But right now John’s not on the top of the card. Nor have I ever heard of him demanding to be. I’m sure if Vince wanted to repackage him as Gobbledy Gooker Jr he’d sew the costume himself. And when he’s at the top of the card? I change the channel. Turn the YouTube video off. Close the browser window. Watch something else that interests me.
Let’s face it, bashing Cena is about the most unoriginal thing you could do. It’s like bashing Bush in ’08. We get it. He sucks. You could have warned everyone else in ’04. By all means, don’t be a pollyanna. Just bash something more relevant that they might actually be able to be worked on, like Zack Ryder being buried, why they punish their own superstars with losing streaks or how they fumbled turning CM Punk into the biggest crossover star since the Rock.
Listen, Cena ain’t goin’ anywhere. In the ring he amps down his above-average ability on demand from backstage. He brings in the women and the kids, and even seems to have a sense of humor about being hated by the men (check out the YouTube where he poses with rabidly booing bros if you don’t believe me). Behind the scenes he’s gone to bat for guys like Daniel Bryan and Evan Bourne, shows up wherever he needs to show up for and keeps his nose clean. That’s what they want That’s what they need. And maybe it’s what we deserve.
So kick back and relax and acknowledge it’s a John Cena world. But try to remember that Punk and Bryan are current champions. And that wrestling ain’t the end of all existence. That’ll come soon enough. Thanks a lot, Mayans.
The Great Beyond
This week, again thanks to my lack of time, I shall only promote… my twitter. Which you can follow here. I do warn you that it’s more of an “all over” twitter. It’s me, and since wrestling is only part of my interests, in following me you get to subject yourself to my responses to people I know in real life, my lame attempts at humor and… well, I do retweet @CMPunk a lot. So there you go! The wrestling connection is made. Fun fact: one of CM Punk’s newest fans is a 23-year-old female college grad I know who is obsessed with Sarah Jessica Parker. This is what you get when you come out against violence towards women, fellas!
Tags: Bret The Hitman Hart, chris jericho, cm punk, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, evan bourne, hbk, Hulk Hogan, john cena, Kofi Kingston, randy orton, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, vince mcmahon, WWE, zack ryder