OPINION: John Cena's epic WWE return at Money in the Bank proves it's always been PASSE to say 'Cena Sucks'
John Cena made an unforgettable return to his forever home, WWE, during Money in the Bank 2021 and was met with a thunderous pop from the live crowd, which left The Suicide Squad star stumped.
"So weird 'cause I'm used to you guys telling me how much I suck, man, this feels pretty good. I see this dude's sign over here, it says, 'If Cena shows up, we cheer.' Is this like bizarro-world, What's going on?" This was a stumped John Cena's opening remark in what was a passionate promo after his highly-awaited WWE return during Money in the Bank 2021. The F9 star was greeted with a thunderous 'Austin-level' pop as the WWE Universe welcomed him back with open arms.
John's surprise reaction and witty quip is understandable and feels incredibly personal for WWE fans because the 44-year-old wrestler, deemed as the last 'face' of the wrestling company, always procured a polarising (albeit also the loudest!) reaction out of any other wrestler, on any night. The live crowd would constantly oscillate between "Let's Go Cena!" and "Cena Sucks!" A major bone of contention for 'marks' is how Cena catered to the PG era, with children as his major fanbase, subverting from the always cherished Attitude Era with your Stone Cold Steve Austins and The Rocks.
There was also the fact that while John's Doctor of Thuganomics gimmick, with those hilarious rap jabs at his opponents' expense, was universally loved, many felt Cena's Cenation and Mr. Hustle, Loyalty and Respect persona with his "Never Give Up" attitude quickly grew stale and he didn't have the edginess they craved for. Nevertheless, despite the criticism, John went on to have some of the most legendary feuds with the likes of Edge, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, Triple H, CM Punk, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, just to name a few!
Call me biased here but it's noteworthy how John was made the face of WWE at a tumultuous transition period in the company. Not only did Stone Cold and The Rock kiss their wrestling days goodbye, but the Attitude Era also made way for the PG era. WWE wasn't just for grown men anymore and instead, the target audience was widened exponentially and hence Cena, too, had to get acquainted with the tremendous change.
As for the 'five moves of doom' jab, fans tend to ignore the psychology which John brings to the table in every match and that he actually builds deep chemistry on the squared circle, whomsoever the opponent might be. Moreover, with every match, Cena learns and grows, which results in some stellar matches. If he sucked, how is it that there are so many matches featuring John which are considered the best from the 2000s? How is one ever supposed to forget Cena's legendary US Championship open challenge run, quite possibly the best US title reigns to date, where he battled some unforgettable matches against the likes of Dean Ambrose (now Jon Moxley!), Cesaro, Sami Zayn, etc. What sets WWE apart is not just wrestling, but the stories that add gravitas to a feud making it memorable.
When fans criticise John for supposedly "burying talent" like Bray Wyatt, The Nexus, etc, it needs to be understood that Cena doesn't really have a say in how WWE functions no matter how much of a 'Top Dog' he might be. What Vince McMahon wants is what happens! And, there's also the fact that John has selflessly given talents like AJ and Kevin to literally run him over and have significant main roster beginnings in the WWE.
One also mustn't neglect his immense love for WWE at large. During a live show, CM Punk, who has always been critical of Cena's corporate dominance admitted that the workaholic side of John is truly admirable. Come rain, come shine, John always showed up. Interestingly, WWE's official website recently revealed; beckoning "The Summer of Cena", that Cena will be a part of every WWE SmackDown episode along with a few appearances on WWE Raw and live shows up until SummerSlam 2021 at Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, where he will go one-on-one against Roman Reigns aka The Head of the Table for a shot at the Universal Championship. If John wins, he will officially hold the record for the most championship wins at 17, as he's currently tied with Ric Flair at 16. Cena's MITB entry happened just after the main event which saw Roman defeated Edge with The Shield member Seth Rollins' assistance. Reigns' celebrations were short-lived because John rained on his The Tribal Chief parade.
When part-timers come to WWE, it's rare to see them have a rigorous schedule. Instead, we get a few sporadic appearances until the main PPV match. This goes to show Cena's genuine love for WWE where it's not a half-baked return but one that WWE fans will remember for a long time, even when he's eventually absent from the festivities and stars in big-ticket Hollywood projects. John's last match was last year at WrestleMania 36; a Firefly Funhouse Match against Bray Wyatt aka The Fiend, which was nothing short of a cinematic spectacle and proved that Cena hasn't missed a beat inside the squared circle.
Let's not forget his insane capability to have live crowds at the palm of his hands with his fiery promos and trash talks, even when it's on the cheesy side. That was evidenced at this week's Monday Night Raw when the WWE Universe enthusiastically ate up John's opening segment directed at his SummerSlam 2021 opponent. Keeping the audience hooked has always been John Cena's USP!
Hence, it's always been passe to say "Cena Sucks!" because he never really did!
What do you have to say about the polarising reaction John Cena was previously subjected to in the WWE? Was it justified or not? Share your honest, personal thoughts along with your favourite John Cena match of all time in the comments section below.