How John Cena won his 16th World Title with no hustle, no loyalty and no respect
Did John Cena sacrifice his values in order to claim his 16th World Championship?
History was made at this year’s Royal Rumble event as John Cena became just the second man ever, along with Ric Flair, to become a 16-time World Heavyweight Champion. There has been much debate amongst fans as to whether or not Cena, or anybody for that matter, should reach Flair’s prestigious championship landmark.
Personally, I think Cena has done enough over his career and if anyone was going to reach this milestone, it should be him.
However, this wasn’t the John Cena we have become accustomed to seeing during his 15-year tenure in WWE. ‘The face that runs the place’ lives his life by the mantra of hustle, loyalty and respect, yet failed to show any of these characteristics on the journey to his record-equalling championship win.
What did John Cena do to earn his Championship match against AJ Styles at Royal Rumble 2017? Nothing.
He returned on the final episode Smackdown Live of 2016 and put himself in a Title match with his reason being that he can, “because he’s John Cena”. While some may think that he has the right to do that, it’s just not the ‘John Cena’ way.
He’d be the first to say that you’re not handed anything in WWE and yet he can walk in and demand a championship match whenever he pleases.
It seemed particularly unwarranted of Cena to demand a Championship match since he had received one in his previous match, a triple threat against AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose at No Mercy, before taking a near three-month hiatus from the company at the end of last year. Which brings me on to my next point.
Ok, ok, this one might sound harsh. Nobody can really question John Cena’s loyalty to WWE, but it is interesting that this victory came out a time when he is taking more of a part-time schedule with the company.
Also, Cena was one of the most vocal in calling out The Rock during his hiatus from the company and has, rather ironically, began to take a similar path.
Although John has recently back-tracked on his criticism of The Rock, going as far as to say it’s the stupidest stuff he’s ever said, perhaps that’s only because he is now being presented with the same opportunities as Dwayne Johnson was when his full-time WWE career began to wind down.
Cena returning and regaining the WWE Title at this year’s Royal Rumble did bare a resemblance to the 2013 Royal Rumble, where The Rock returned to defeat CM Punk for the Championship, a move that was criticised by many fans for showing a lack of respect to Punk’s title reign.
Arguably the most surprising aspect of Cena’s character in the lead up to his 16th World championship victory was the way he talked down to AJ Styles and didn’t seem to value him as genuine competition.
One of the golden rules of wrestling promos is to not bury your opponent, a rule that can be more flexible for the heel in the feud, but not the face, especially not a white-meat babyface like John Cena has been for the last decade.
Therefore, it came as quite a shock when Cena would talk condescendingly about Styles’ time on the independent wrestling scene and would call him “just a guy” in a hostile and rather controversial promo segment that you can view below.
The footage from Cena’s appearance on the ’Today’ show, in which the presenters referred to Styles as ‘some guy from Atlanta’ shown a lack of respect and Cena did nothing to defend and talk up his opponent.
Perhaps this is WWE’s way of planting seeds for an upcoming heel turn for Cena, something that was heavily teased during his championship bout against Styles at Royal Rumble, but then again, fans have been speculating on a Cena heel turn for years and it has never come to fruition.
However, the more intense and aggressive attitude that he has shown since his return has perhaps, made a heel turn more viable than ever.
Not only did this latest victory go against everything that Cena has stood for in the last 10 years, but it also didn’t do justice to the incredible feat that Cena has accomplished by equaling one of the most prestigious records in all of professional wrestling.
With rumours running rife that Cena is set to lose the WWE Championship this Sunday at Elimination Chamber, a two-week reign as Champion seems fairly pointless. It feels as though WWE have given him the belt just to break the record, rather than making a big story out of it and having it come at the end of an intriguing journey.
I certainly have nothing against John Cena becoming a 16-time World Champion, but did it need to come at the expense of him compromising his integrity, especially if it doesn’t lead to a much-anticipated heel turn?
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