WWE Superstar John Cena: Enduring Illogical Criticism

John Cena is one of the most picked on and defamed WWE Superstars of our time. The main point that his detractors use against him is his repetitious “Five Moves of Doom” routine – a flying shoulder block, arm drags, spinout power bomb, a fist drop affectionately known as “The Five-Knuckle Shuffle,” a fireman’s carry takeover, dubbed the “FU” or “Attitude Adjustment” for WWE’s lame PG rating turn, and more recently he’s added an STS crossface to the mix, dubbed the “STFU” or “STF” for the same lame reason. This type of moveset is known as a wrestler’s signature curtain call to any given match, however Cena comes under the most fire for it.

However, if you watch wrestling for a few weeks, you’ll see that nearly every wrestler has their own finishing sequence. Let’s visit a few of them:

The Undertaker: Face-first drop into the turnbuckle (Snake Eyes), spring off the ropes into a big boot, apron leg drop, running clothesline, arm twist rope walk (Old School), a chokeslam, then a Tombstone Piledriver. Sometimes, this is substituted for a high angle power bomb (Last Ride) or a Gogoplata (Hell’s Gate).

Triple H: Running knee lift, facebreaker, spinebuster, then a double underhook facebuster (Pedigree).

Shawn Michaels: Atomic drop, flying shoulder blocks or clotheslines, scoop slam, then a shuffle side kick (Sweet Chin Music).

Bret Hart: Vertical suplex, Russian leg sweep, backbreaker, second rope elbow drop, then a standing inverted figure four leglock (Sharpshooter).

Hulk Hogan: Takes a few punches, wags finger in opponent’s face, throws a few punches, Irish whip into the ropes followed by a big boot and a legdrop.

The Rock: Running spinebuster, Side slam (Rock Bottom), running elbow drop with theatrics (People’s Elbow), then pinfall.

Jeff Hardy: Clotheslines, scoop slam, legs to the gut, leg drop, front facelock cutter (Twist of Fate), high angle senton (Swanton Bomb). Note: Sometimes, he includes a twisting moonsault from the top rope (Whisper in the Wind) within this combination.

There are a few other examples, but let’s get to my point: None of these men are ever chastised for having a repetitious moveset. Not once have I ever heard a fan say that The Rock needed to change things up. Not a single time have I ever read a fan’s angry rant about how Triple H’s moves are getting tiresome.

If I may go off course for a second, I will say that The Undertaker has always had the most diverse moveset throughout his 19-year WWE career. Not only does he have the best hands in the WWE, but he is a great submission wrestler. Over his career, he has implemented a triangle choke, dragon sleeper, key lock, Boston crab, single-leg Boston crab, Gogoplata, and Fujiwara armbar into his repertoire. As far as technical moves, he has implemented a reverse STO, DDTs of many forms, a creative leg drop over an opponent hanging off of the ring apron, a flying clothesline, a suicide dive over the top rope, a side Russian legsweep, a sidewalk slam, throwing ballistic punches on an opponent in the corner, and an elevated arm twist drop. All of these moves are on top of his already innovative list of signature moves.

So why is John Cena so chastised? From what I see, he executes his arsenal with finesse and believable explosiveness. It’s no secret that every wrestler is limited to a set number of moves by the creative team; with that in mind, I often wonder why people demean Cena so much. He is arguably the top man in the company and works just as hard, if not harder, than anyone else in that locker room. He has great mic skills, he sells opponent’s moves well, and he is rarely injured. Hell, he came back from his neck surgery MONTHS before he was expected to!

“Well, his gimmick is played out.” It’s not like he’s had the same gimmick for his entire 8 year career with WWE. He started as a young kid trying to make it through the ranks, then he was shaped into an arrogant rapper, into a fan-favorite rapper, and now he is the ultimate babyface with a passion for fighting and backing up his words – without the rapping. Triple H has had the same gimmick since he dropped the Blueblood thing back in the mid 90s – go rag on him! HBK has had the same gimmick since ’93, only now he’s supposedly a born-again Christian. Still the same Has-Been Kid – I mean – Heart Break Kid. Bret Hart had the same shtick throughout his career, Goldberg has, Rey Mysterio has, The Rock, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit – go find a new whipping boy for monotony.

Now, all of you whiny Cena haters will have to get over this fact as well: Cena will NEVER be a heel. Ever. Cena’s merchandise sales make McMahon a very happy man. As long as McMahon can line his pockets, Cena will continue to be the babyface you’ve come to know and hate. Cena was a bad guy at one point in his career, but that fact seems to be swept under the rug whenever I enter a debate about Cena’s idiosyncrasy. Get over it, and let’s move on to his next point of ridicule.

“He’s the champion way too much.” Is he now? The same people who whine about Cena’s title reigns are the same people who are marks for Triple H and his 13 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, who are also marks for Ric Flair and his 16 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. You want a guy who is champion too much? Look no further than Edge. He has amassed 9 world titles in his 12 year run with WWE, and has been injured numerous times. He is known for quickly losing his titles, as his shortest reign as champ was 3 whole weeks. His longest? 105 days. He averages 48 days per world title. Cena has held his six titles considerably longer, with an average of 150 days per world title. I’ll admit, I got a little annoyed with Cena’s reign myself, but looking at how the belts are traded back and forth in the company like trading cards these days, I miss the days of lengthy title reigns. I must admit, I am sort of an old-school guy in my young age.

The reason guys like John Cena get lengthy title runs is because he is a workhorse, dependable and a quality wrestler. Guys like Egde, Jeff Hardy and Batista are much too injury and trouble prone to be relied on to carry a title for the company. I must admit, the prestige of either world title has been sapped over the years, and it continues to this day.

One final piece of illogical garbage I’m happy to have seen thrown out the window is that Cena fans are all impressionable, pre-pubescent idiots. Face facts people, since Linda McMahon is running for Senate and letting her own agenda supersede the voice of the fans, pretty much every face Superstar is going to appeal to the youth of today. And if Linda does get voted in, you may as well get used to this watered-down PG nonsense. Even if she doesn’t, I think the PG rating will remain intact based on the ratings increasing due to parents being less uneasy about letting their kids watch the show – especially with the much better show in my opinion, TNA, making a run for the ratings.

Where is the logic in hating a guy that does so much for the company? I don’t think I’ll ever find it. I’ve tried to hate Cena, but as a fan who respects what the pro wrestling business is about, I have to defend him for what he does and refute the illogical criticism that I don’t think he deserves. If you want to blame someone for Cena’s possible monotony, blame the writers, not him.

John Danz Jr is a serious writer with a penchant for poetry and building a foundation in every form of writing. He is motivated by a never-ending thirst for informed knowledge and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with every completed poem or story.

A drummer drawn to classic and modern rock/metal music, John is deeply interested in meteorology, psychology, sociology and philosophy. Weather has always fascinated him, he wants to know why people do what they do, understand the cultures of the world, reflect on great minds and gain a better understanding of this world and our place in it.