Up until 2005 or so, John Cena had a rapper gimmick called The Doctor Of Thuganomics. While some may not know this, he was a heel at one point too and got over as a heel. However, as we all know, that would turn out to be the only time that he would ever be a heel in his WWE career.
He made his name on Smackdown in the early days of the Ruthless Aggression Era when it featured stars such as Kurt Angle, The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero among others.
While Cena has gotten polarising reactions over the course of 10+ years, it must be noted that when he rose to the top and had his coronation at Wrestlemania 21, it was extremely organic and fans were genuinely elated at the fact that he was the World Champion.
The blue brand was where he made his name and it was where he won his first World Title. A couple of months, Cena was drafted to Raw, bringing the WWE Championship to Raw, while Batista was drafted to Smackdown, bringing the World Heavyweight Championship to Smackdown. This is where Cena would remain for the next 11 years.
Cena spoke to ESPN recently and was asked about why he dropped the Doctor Of Thuganomics gimmick that got him over.
He said, “To me, there was definitely some method behind it. Hip-hop certainly is in sync with the youth and every day that passes I grow less youthful, as much as I have tried to hold onto it. I knew that the platform really wouldn’t be indicative of success."
"I knew [the PG format] would just drastically change the style and almost cripple the character so I was the one proactively who said ‘no’ and said ‘I would like to take everything another way.'”
2005 was when Cena became the face of the company, and due to the sheer amount of media he does, the Make a Wish granting he does, the merchandise he sells, he has never turned heel, despite getting booed out of several buildings and fans begging for it.
However, from the look of it, WWE does not see the financial gain in turning him heel, and therefore they won’t for as long as he is around.
Cena got drafted back “home” to Smackdown Live this past July, and in an interview with Michael Cole, he said that the best thing he feels the blue brand accomplished in the first rendition of the brand split was the fact that WWE had to take Smackdown superstars in order to save Monday Night Raw, which was losing to Smackdown in terms of quality and ratings.
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