Can John Cena Ever Go Heel?
Way back in the Summer of 2002, Kurt Angle issued an open challenge to the Smackdown locker room: he’ll take on anybody. Out came some fresh faced kid with short hair and generic trunks. He gave Angle a run for his money but ultimately the Olympian came out victorious. But it was on that night that John Cena started his road to super stardom. Later that year he turned heel and fully embraced his hip hop roots. Cena went on a tear over the next eight months; freestyling on everyone he could. He even challenged Fabolous and Eminem to a rap battle at WR19. Neither responded, which left Cena off the card except for a rap he performed.It didn’t matter, however, as he was gaining steam. So much, in fact, that he faced Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at Backlash. Later in the summer he fought the Undertaker and again lost, but again, it didn’t matter because he was still tremendously over.
Then it happened: as a heel he was getting so over we started to cheer him. A lot. It came time in the fall of 2003 that he turned face and never looked back. Fast forward to June 2005: Cena is the WWE Champion and he gets drafted to Raw. It took about three weeks before the people turned on him. No matter what he did, half the crowd cheered, the other half booed. Fighting fan favorite heels like Christian, Jericho, and Angle certainly didn’t help his case. It seemed like every week he came out and made corny jokes, then would turn on his super high intensity then win his match. There was no drama to his matches or character which is why the males in the audience began to resent him.
So here we are six years after he got Drafted to Raw, six years after he started hearing the boo birds. For a good portion of this time the jeers were overwhelming the cheers (I personally made it a point to never lose a dueling chant when I went to shows). He was getting bigger heel reactions than Triple H and Randy Orton. The opportunity was there so many times when they easily could’ve turned him full blown heel, but I understand why they never have. Between being the absolute franchise of that company, the massive t-shirt sales, not to mention the extensive charity work he does, it would be a bad business decision on their end. But dammit if we don’t just want it.
Sitting there at Wrestlemania this year, I just felt bad for Cena. As someone who’s hated him for so many years, I actually have sympathy for the guy now. I agreed with everything he said against the Rock heading into the show, and actually supported him in this particular instance. But in the back of mind I can’t help but want them to turn him heel. Especially how for next Mania he’s fighting Rock, in his home town no less. It’s a lose-lose situation for Cena during this Rock feud. John Cena is going to be jeered to no end during the home stretch heading into Mania. Should they just bite the bullet and turn him?
Cena needs to win at Mania. Unless Rock is coming back full time it makes no sense to have him go over the biggest star the WWE has had since, well, the Rock. Will it really hurt them to have Cena just embrace being a bad guy? They don’t have to full blown turn him, just give him an “I don’t care” attitude. Almost like Stone Cold. He did nothing different as a face that he did as a heel. Cena could do the same, just show a little mean streak, don’t pander to the crowd as much. It could work. And who knows, maybe THAT would get over and he’d end up being a bigger face than before. There’s only one way to find out, so here’s hoping.