John Cena: Great Worker? (John Cena, The Rock, Hulk Hogan)

Columns, Top Story

It’s been a long time since writing on here. ROH recapping is a fuckin’ nightmare. You know what you have to do when recappin’ ROH? Watch the shows! Which is really hard to do given how lousy the shows are. So, what prompted me to dust off the Inside Pulse log in and get to typin’? Something Blair Douglas said.

Steven Gepp: It ran circles around Rock/Hogan at WM18.

Blair: I disagree with this. It had the same kind of vibe, but Rock / Hogan was way more fun to watch, especially with the crowd reactions, nostalgia, and back-and-forth stuff. That’s just me. I get what you’re saying, though.

Steven Gepp, you’ve got a weird last name, but, you’re right. These matches are on two different levels. The vibe was nowhere near the same. And, Rock/Cena runs circles around Rock/Hogan.

There is a huge difference between keeping the crowd into a 30 minute match like Cena/Rock and doing a 15minute match where you soak in the crowd going bananas for the moment and then get the hell out of there on a high note.

Nostalgia, baby! The crowd went wild and then they worked a shit match that the crowd went wild for because the crowd would have gone wild for them doing anything in the ring for those 15 minutes. Rock/Hogan had it. And, it led to a great crowd at the start of the match. Cena/Rock had a good crowd at the start. They didn’t have a great crowd, though. To be fair to the crowd, though, the lead-in to Rock/Cena was an episode of American Idol.

How do we know the crowd would go wild for anything Rock/Hogan gave them? Oh, because the two worked an insulting match. Blair says the match still holds up for him. I call bullshit on that. But, then again, you show me a replay of when the Phillies won the World Series and I’ll likely still at least drop a mean fist pump. When I think of Hogan/Rock I think about the dudes standing outside of the bar looking in to catch a glimpse of the match. I’m not trying to take away that moment. But, let’s respect it for what it was. A moment built off two legacies. And, Rock/Cena, well, it’s less of a moment. It’s built off strong ringwork, though, because Cena is still trying to build that legacy.

Cena/Rock needed to work a good match. And, they did. I could talk longer about the match, and probably will over at Spinebuster, but, for now, I want to get into whether Cena is a great worker. Because leaving this match, that was the question that stuck in my mind.

Cena/Rock was a match that built their crowd reaction to a better reaction through the work in the match. And, when Cena went for the People’s Elbow for the hell of it, it came across that he was at a loss for what to do…because of how they built that match. The vibe is by no means comparable to Hogan/Rock. On a show where Jericho targeted Punk’s back for match psychology, Cena did a match better job targeting The Rock’s midsection. To be fair, The Rock also brought it in this one, compared to the performance against Hogan.

So, where does Cena stack up as a great worker? I don’t know. But…I do know that now, it’s becoming something that I think about. A year ago, I wouldn’t have cared to consider it. In the time since, he’s been great in the Punk match, now this, and going back to take a look at some of his prior performances, well, Cena is growing on me.

And, just as I started to look at Cena in this light, I came across this video about, hey, the topic of Cena’s greatness. The video does a good job of explaining the criteria that he’s analyzing Cena from to determine whether or not he’s great. Spoiler alert, it’s not a simple “CENA IS GREAT,” because one of you jerks will listen to a couple of minutes and say, “fuck this Cena mark” , he doesn’t conclude that Cena is great. The process that he takes to get there is the interesting part. And there’s analysis of criteria he uses to determine whether someone is a great wrestler which is also interesting in terms of discussion points. I highly encourage you to watch the video and leave a comment on it here.

The Davey Richards comparison is fun stuff as well, mainly because Davey’s ring-work is one of the most overrated things on the internet when it comes to wrestling. So, do watch, bitches!

Don’t watch the last 30 seconds of the video, though.

You just watched those last 30 seconds, didn’t you? You sonofabitch! I told you not to. Well, don’t blame me for that weirdness! You can also get more of that kind of analysis at, a messageboard put together by the guy in the video.