John Cena is without a doubt the most polarizing figure in the WWE.
He has been a face character for years but has been routinely booed like a heel. Most of those booing do not have a personal problem with Cena the man, but rather with his character. He had been portrayed as “SuperCena,” and he was seemingly invincible.
The hate for Cena was only fueled by the fact that he had to go up against The Rock at Wrestlemania XXVIII, as The Rock is liked by the majority of WWE fans, even though he is supposed to be the bad guy in the situation.
Cena lost at Wrestlemania, but the fans showed no remorse in April when it was revealed that his next opponent would be Brock Lesnar. Everyone was so amped up to see Lesnar return, and for good reason. He left so abruptly in 2004 that most were simply excited just to see him back in action.
Lesnar squared off against Cena at Extreme Rules in a match that was dominated by Lesnar throughout. It was not until an Attitude Adjustment on the steel steps from Cena to Lesnar that Cena had control of the match. This gave him the victory, and it left many questioning the reason to bring back Lesnar just to have him lose. It also drew the ire of those who could not stand the “SuperCena” character.
Even with these questions, Cena gained respect from the crowd with his speech following the match. He thanked the fans in Chicago and seemed to be legitimately hurt as he hinted that he would be taking some time off.
He returned on Raw the next night with his arm in a sling, but with no true injuries. He was still drawing boos, but more cheers came his way in the following weeks once it was announced that his opponent at Over the Limit would be John Laurinaitis. No one likes “Big Johnny” so it was a perfect way for WWE to put the fans back in Cena’s corner.
The match at Over the Limit was simply Cena picking on Laurinaitis until Big Show interfered to give Johnny the win. It was a predictable outcome, but it was done to further Laurinaitis as a heel, and Cena as a face. This was a success as there are far more cheers for Cena than there were in the past few months, and “Cena sucks” chants are less prominent in the crowd.
Cena is set to face Big Show at No Way Out, but before that comes the WWE fans were treated to a great show on Monday night. Cena came out and was told that he would be able to pick his opponent. After a particularly annoying interview from the annoying Michael Cole, Cena chose none other than Cole himself.
Laurinaitis let Cena do this in the name of “People Power,” which actually was cheered by the crowd. I think it is less love for “People Power” and more hate for Michael Cole’s awful heel-announcer gimmick.
Cena was set to take on Cole, but Laurinaitis pulled a textbook heel move and told Cena he would have to defeat Tensai before he could face Cole. This would have been more threatening a few months ago, when Tensai was still a lord, but Cena got the win and began his match with Michael Cole.
The match featured Cena toying with Cole, just as he had done with Laurinaitis, until Tensai interfered and delivered his lord-less finisher to Cena. Cole attempted to weasel his way to a victory, but Cena kicked out before the three-count, further proving how non-dominating Tensai truly is.
Cena got the win over Cole and continued to mess with him by covering him in JR’s bbq sauce and spraying him with a fire extinguisher. If nothing else, this match accomplished the goal of getting Cena more cheers, as no one likes Michael Cole at all.
If Cena is not going to be in the title picture, but is still going to be main eventing the PPV’s, he must be over with the fans. Letting him defeat the most hated characters in the business is succeeding in getting that done.