My Two Centsss - John Cena Returning Early ISN'T What's Best For Business
By Super Chrisss
Oct 9, 2013 - 7:13:32 PM
When Vickie Guerrero made the blockbuster announcement on Monday's Raw that Alberto del Rio would be defending his world heavyweight championship against a returning JOHN CENA at Hell in a Cell, I felt sick to my stomach. I assumed it had to be some kind of swerve, since there was no possible way Cena would be able to return to the ring so soon after his injury, especially the kind of injury he suffered (a torn triceps). But then Cena started making media appearances this week, where he confirmed that the injury wasn't as bad as originally thought, and he had the green light from all medical personnel. That's when reality began to sink in - Cena is really coming back to wrestle On October 27th.
I know there are a lot of rumours circling among the IWC that Cena being advertised for Hell in a Cell is nothing more than an angle, or a red herring. Unfortunately, I don't believe them. It's that time of year where Raw's ratings start falling, thanks mainly to Monday Night Football (I will never accept Dancing With The Stars as a legitimate excuse for a low Raw rating), and WWE goes into panic mode. Last fall, Vince McMahon became a consistent television character again. The year before that, Triple H injected himself into the CM Punk storyline and wrestled several Pay-Per-View matches. Now, with Raw failing to go over the 3.0 mark for the past couple months, WWE is forcing Cena to cut his vacation early and return ASAP to 'save' the company.
To Cena's credit, no matter how much the older fans despise him, or how he's booked, he does have a loyal, and massive, fanbase. But as I've said in the past - and so has LOP colleagues such as Tito and The Doc - Cena can't draw more because he doesn't have anyone to draw with. For years, it was always "The John Cena and Friends Show" with half the roster being used to put him over, and the other half in supporting roles (i.e. the midcard). That's why Cena putting over Daniel Bryan cleanly at SummerSlam was such a big deal - it made Bryan look damn close to being Cena's equal, as he was able to pin WWE's Golden Boy without interference or shenanigans, something not even the likes of CM Punk, Randy Orton, or Sheamus, can say they've done before. Fans want to see a Cena/Bryan rematch even more now that they know Bryan has what it takes to defeat Cena.
What scares me the most about Cena's impending return is what I wrote about in a column not too long ago - how WWE Creative will go back to being on 'cruise control' by focusing all their attention on Cena and whatever he's doing. In all fairness, that might not be a bad idea for the short-term, since Cena chasing Del Rio and the world heavyweight title could be good for business, as it would finally re-establish that title as a top belt, rather than a distant cousin of the Intercontinental title. Hell, regardless if Cena vs. ADR ends up being a cell match or not, I predict they will main-event the upcoming PPV (especially if Orton ends up defeating Bryan for the WWE Championship). When's the last time the world title closed a PPV, like seriously?
But that's only for the short-term. Obviously, Cena winning and/or feuding over the WHC would bring back lost credibility to the title and give him something different to do, but then what? Is it back to overcoming the odds as Super Cena? Being the one to finally vanquish The Authority. God, I hope not. Triple H, Steph, Orton, and The Shield have established themselves as such a dominant faction that whoever is responsible for ending their reign of terror will receive an instant boost of credibility, without a doubt. Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, even The Miz or Kofi Kingston have so much to gain by being responsible for toppling The Regime. Cena? Not so much. It would rub a lot of fans the wrong way, as they would assume the entire storyline was created just for Cena to "ride in and save the day".
Should that happen, WWE would be back to square one. All the younger guys who have received more TV time in recent weeks would be back to doing nothing and lost in limbo. Yet again, Cena is the only one who benefits from months and months of storyline. But it shouldn't be that way. If Cena absolutely has to return sooner than expected, either take a chance by turning him heel as the new "face of the WWE" or keep him out of the storyline altogether. Don't think the latter is possible? CM Punk is arguably the second-biggest face in the roster, and he hasn't crossed paths with any member of The Authority since SummerSlam. So if Punk can stay out of their crosshairs, then so can Cena.
Another reason why I am vehemently against Cena returning so damn early is that to me, it's WWE's way of saying, "Well, we tried to push other people on the roster, but it just wasn't working, so we give up. Let's give Cena a call." The problem with that is one day - possibly sooner than later - there won't be a Cena to bail them out. It's going to happen, eventually. He may be able to recover from injuries quicker than most people, and sustain a strong work ethic despite the insane schedule he follows, but the man is only a human. One day, his mind or his body will give up, and he won't be able to carry the company on his shoulders anymore. That's why they shouldn't have played the Cena card unless it was absolutely necessary (Raw consistently dipping to below 2.5 or something) and kept pushing Bryan, Rhodes, and Ziggler instead.
The funny thing is, with or without Cena, Raw does tend to perform poorly in the ratings at this time of year. So even with Cena supposedly returning in a few weeks, I can't see there being a major shake-up in the ratings. Again, it's always possible that the rumours are true, and we're due a twist come Hell in a Cell, as Cena isn't cleared to compete, and he's just being advertised to pop the buyrate before the company pulls a "bait-and-switch". Then again, many people said the same thing about CM Punk being advertised to face Chris Jericho at Payback, and lo and behold, Punk showed up and resumed his spot as a full-time wrestler. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I really do think Cena is coming back to stay at the end of the month.
It's a pity how WWE is quick to blame their roster on the poor ratings, rather than the creative team. If you ask me, they have one of the larger, more impressive rosters they've had in years - it's not their fault 95% of them have been booked to look like crap for such a long time. After all, creative turned Ryback heel and killed all his momentum. Creative have decided to make The Big Show a huge part of the angle with The Authority. Creative doesn't have a clue what to do with The Wyatts. Creative isn't able to fill up a PPV card with more than a handful of must-kinda-wanna-see matches. The roster isn't thin at all - it's the writing team who's brains are thin.
So is forcing John Cena to return early best for business? Hell no. Building up other members of the roster as being on John Cena's level is what's best for business. To me, this reeks of desperation on WWE's part and the sad part is, they probably don't even realize it. Vince is smiling, thinking to himself, "Good thing Cena's back. It buys us more time until the next Hulk Hogan or Steve Austin walks into my office."
If only there was a wrestling company out there that could step up and re-ignite the Monday Night Wars. That's how things could change, once and for all. Until then, we hope you enjoy "The John Cena & Friends Show!"
Your Two Centsss: Do you believe WWE and John Cena when they say he's coming back 100% recovered at Hell in a Cell? Or do you think we're in for a swerve of some kind come October 27th?
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