First, Penny Allen-Fife on Legendary:
There are any number of things I could talk about in this guest bit. The hardly shocking reveal that “they” were exactly who we all thought they were, plus Jeff Hardy. Matt Hardy’s carreer suicide succeeding. Any number of developments on Raw and Smackdown. The fact that Hornswaggle may have just made an IWC face turn by deposing Micheal Cole to give far more insightful and coherant commentary.
But take a look around the Pulse and you’ll see that every single hot topic for the past week has been done to death. Everyone’s covered everything and I’ll be just one more opinion on the pile. If I had a strongly differing opinion than most of the Pulse staff I’d go ahead and offer it. I don’t. Most of it is right on the money. TNA continues to prove it’s worthlessness, with only a handful of the faintest glimmers of hope of salvage. Matt Hardy is a fucking moron. And really, anyone could’ve got a face pop by punking Cole.
So instead I’ll talk about John Cena. The IWC as usual for the most part, bashes Cena regularly. A few folks are curious if this is the beginning of a real Cena heel turn, yadda yadda. Even fewer are giving Cena real credit for his performances of late.
My wife and I, (yes boys, that stuff is legal up here, FCK-H8), just finished watching Legendary. And it was actually a pretty damned good movie. Better than I expected, even taking the cast into account.
Cena is actually a good actor. He didn’t seem Cena-like in this movie. The best talent of an actor who already has an established personality, or a specific vibe, is to play a role and make you forget who’s playing it. And Cena has succeeded in that here. I didn’t feel like I was watching John Cena playing a guy named Mike. I felt like I was watching a guy named Mike trying to figure out how to start building a bridge back to his broken family. Cena was able to show genuine pathos.
If Cena is ever seriously injured to the point of career ending, he can make a decent niche for himself as an actor. His performances on Raw since joining Nexus prove it. And for all the ballyhoo about how Wade Barrett is doing so well, would his smug douchebag heel promos be near as effective if Cena wasn’t there looking desperate to just shitkick Barrett, but struggling to bury the urge to do what will cost him the job he loves? Barrett is getting massive heat as a heel BECAUSE Cena is selling it so well. Even the most jaded smarks feel like Cena is torn between his dream job and his personal integrity, and showing he’s a real human being capable of swallowing his pride to protect his livelihood.
Another thing we liked about Legendary was, despite a few Hollywood cliches, it didn’t go for the easy ending.While it was, for the most part a happy ending, the protagonist, Mike’s kid brother, didn’t win. He came in second. He earned the respect of his classmates, even the bullies, and went from zero to badass, but the evolution was organic. He busted his ass for it, he learned, and even after all that, he didn’t win.
But back to Cena. Love him or hate him, the man is dedicated to the job. And he busts his ass and puts in a top effort every single time. He never phones it in, and whether you worship the ground he walks on or think he’s a worthless over-pushed loser, he still makes you care. He gives you a reason to be emotionally invested. Watching him sell the raw pathos of struggling with his conscience, ignoring his instinct to do the right thing for the sake of his job, Cena is giving people a reason to care about Wade Barrett. People want to see Cena snap and beat Barrett into the ground and shut the smug limey bastard up.
That speaks volumes about how talented Cena really is, and how seriously he takes his job.
And that makes Cena, well, Legendary.
Yesterday, WWE.com posted their Top 25 Talkers in WWE History and, well, the list left a lot to be desired. So, to compensate, here are my Top 10 Non-Wrestler talkers in WWE history and tomorrow will be the top 25 wrestlers.
10. Vicky Guerrero – Damn, but she gets crazy heat.
9. Grand Wizard – Throughout the 70s, the Grand Wizard was a top heel manager extraordinaire, sticking with Superstar Billy Graham as he became heel champion and leading numerous major villains against top faces. He’s also completely awesome and would be far higher if I could find more of him.
8. Jerry Lawler – Sure, Lawler is a bad joke nowadays, but he still knows psychology better than anyone when he cares to, even if he now only shows it to show up Matt Striker, but when he was a heel announcer, it was a thing of beauty. He was hilarious and got stories over. It’s a shame perverted uncle Jerry has lowered his rank so much.
7. Lou Albano – Another guy who’s rating fell for late career comedy, at least Albano was still wildly successful as Super Mario and with Cyndi Lauper at that point. For decades before, he cut amazing promos and got over every team he was near.
6. Paul Heyman – Heyman could probably go a few spots lower due to not being in WWE for too long, but he was an awesome color man, an awesome manager, most notably getting Brock Lesnar incredibly over, and, of course, pivotal in launching the ECW brand, with his amazing One Night Stand promos.
5. Eric Bischoff – The best GM in WWE history, the best smarmy heel, as well. He was the dominant prick of WWE Raw for the early part of the decade and was just incredible in his role.
4. Freddie Blassie – The Classy one is a top heel manager anywhere… he’s just great at getting crowds to freak out, insulting them and is a true prototype for someone we’ll see a bit higher on the list.
3. Jesse Ventura – The best color man in WWE history, he really got over the stories and made you want to defend the faces he would heartlessly bash.
2. Mr. McMahon – Part of being an amazing talker is in what you don’t say and Vince’s hesitation and facial expressions lead to incredible timing and being one of the top drawing heels of all time. It’s a shame Vince McMahon announcer and Vince McMahon interviewer were so terrible or he’d be number one.
1. Bobby Heenan – Everyone remembers him as the funniest heel color man anywhere, and he was the best ever in that role after Ventura who was better at getting over stories, but Heenan’s #1 ranking comes from that he was the top manager in the WWE for a decade leading legions of heels against first Andre the Giant and then Hulk Hogan. It often felt like the entire federation’s storylines were built around his talking down to faces…. for a decade!
Tags: bobby heenan, Eric Bischoff, Jerry Lawler, Jesse Ventura, john cena, morning backlash, Mr. McMahon, Vickie Guerrero, WWE