Along with being WWE’s top superstar, John Cena has been the most polarizing figure in wrestling over the past decade. While criticism of the 15-time world champion has sometimes been warranted, Cena has proven time and time again that he’s one of the best in the history of the business, and his work in 2015 has been as good as ever.
More than any time in the last 10 years, WWE is now doing its best to build new stars. While the likes of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt have dominated the main-event scene, Cena has not lost his spot atop WWE.
Even as Cena continues to perform at a high level, his detractors are just as vocal as ever. Singing “John Cena Sucks” to the tune of his theme music each time he enters the ring, a large portion of the crowd continues to root against Mr. Hustle, Loyalty and Respect.
He might be a heel to half of the audience until the day he retires, but smart wrestling fans can no longer deny Cena’s greatness. After dominating the business for so long, Cena keeps showing why he's the LeBron James of WWE, and any real hatred of him is tired and nonsensical.
Older fans have often been turned off by Cena’s character and understandably so. His sometimes corny promos can be frustrating to listen to, but those have been few and far between in 2015.
Cena’s feud with Kevin Owens has been the best this year, and the two have exchanged terrific promos on a weekly basis. While the newcomer Owens has stood out during his first feud in WWE, Cena has been just as good, and his excellence on the mic might not be so apparent because it’s something WWE fans have seen so many times before.
When Cena is serious, he’s one of the best on the mic in wrestling history. His feuds with the likes of The Rock, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan have been the impetus for some of the best promos this decade, and his outstanding mic work has brought out the best in those opposite him.
He’ll still deliver some promos in the future that will make fans roll their eyes, but most of the roster can’t touch Cena when he’s at the top of his game.
“You Can’t Wrestle”
Cena’s haters often contend that his in-ring skills are subpar. He’s certainly not a technician between the ropes like Daniel Bryan or Eddie Guerrero, and his charisma and skills on the mic are superior to his ring work. But the idea that Cena is a bad wrestler is laughable.
Through the first six months of 2015, Cena has already been a part of multiple “match of the year” candidates. His triple threat match at the Royal Rumble tops the list, and Stone Cold Steve Austin called it his favorite triple threat match so far. At Elimination Chamber and Money in the Bank, Cena’s matches with Kevin Owens stole the show. Even his match with Rusev at Fast Lane might have been the best at that pay-per-view.
Mentioning the “Five Moves of Doom” has become a weak argument to disparage Cena’s ring prowess. He’s often adding new wrinkles to his matches, most recently using a springboard stunner against opponents.
Cena’s not the most athletic wrestler on WWE’s roster, and his STF often leaves a lot to be desired. But 13 years after making his debut, Cena is arguably putting on better matches than anyone in the WWE.
Much of the hate towards Cena is through no fault of his own. He’s been positioned on top for the last decade, and a portion of the fanbase has been tired of seeing him spotlight for so long. While some may dislike Cena for being a constant in main events, it’s that same booking that’s helped elevate other stars.
Owens is destined to be a star in WWE, no matter whom he’s up against in the ring. But his win against Cena gave him more legitimacy than a win against any other full-time WWE superstar could have. Brock Lesnar’s one-sided win at last year’s SummerSlam has helped make him one of WWE’s most valued commodities in years, and the victory wouldn’t have meant nearly as much had it come against anybody else.
Putting the U.S. Championship on Cena has made mid-card matches more important. His “U.S. Open Challenge” has often been the best part of many episodes of “Monday Night Raw.” Even in losses, wrestlers have gotten a rub because of their matches against Cena.
Beating Cena has become equivalent to winning a title, making every one of his PPV matches a must-see event.