Time is now for John Cena to turn heel
In the television listings today, the teaser for tonight’s Raw says: “After WrestleMania, what’s next for John Cena, Triple H and champion Randy Orton?”
I’m so glad they asked.
For Triple H and Orton, I think a title match between the two at the Backlash pay-per-view on April 27 in Baltimore would be in order. As for Cena, I would suggest something a little more dramatic.
It’s time for WWE to finally give in to the humanoids and turn Cena heel.
In the past, whenever a babyface got a strong negative reaction or a heel got a lot of cheers, the promotion listened to the fans and went with the flow. With Cena, WWE has defiantly gone against that conventional thinking.
I always agreed with Cena and others who said that a passionate reaction — whether it’s positive or negative — is better than no reaction, and I understand WWE’s reasoning for not turning him. It’s mostly guys that are booing Cena, while he is incredibly popular with kids and women, two important demographics for WWE.
Kids make up a large segment of the audience, and their parents buy Cena merchandise and tickets to house shows that Cena’s on. Women are often a difficult group to reach, so when they find an attraction that they are willing to pay to see, the company cannot ignore that. Turning him heel could hurt WWE in those demos.
For a while, it seemed like WWE had succeeded in getting the majority of the audience back on Cena’s side, especially when he was feuding with Edge. But it didn’t last, and the verbal assault on Cena is more vociferous now than ever.
The mean-spirited response he received at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony was the clincher for me. A response that spirited needs to translate into dollars. A heel Cena likely would mean a spike in ratings, pay-per-view buys and ticket sales, which could offset whatever WWE loses in merchandise sales.
A Cena turn also makes sense from a creative standpoint. Pro wrestling is in need of another “Oh my God, can you believe that happened?” moment, and there’s no doubt that Cena as a heel would create a buzz. Plus, he already has faced most of the top heels in the company, and his character is in need of a fresh direction.
Cena’s motivation for turning couldn’t be more obvious. All he has to say is that no matter how hard he tried to do the honorable thing, the fans hated him. “Now, I’m going to give you a reason to really hate me,” he would say. I could even see him going back to his roots and slipping into his rapper persona.
The keys to getting the most out of a Cena turn involve when and who. It should come out of nowhere, perhaps at the end of a Raw or on pay-per-view. And the wrestler he turns on needs to be a very popular and sympathetic babyface. Triple H and Shawn Michaels are possibilities, but the best candidates would be either a revered icon such as The Undertaker, or a rising superstar such as Jeff Hardy.
If WWE regains confidence in Hardy, he would be my choice. It would immediately make Hardy hot again, and it would make story line sense, especially if WWE wanted to incorporate elements of real life into the angle. Cena could be resentful of Hardy being so over with the fans despite not having his act together, while Cena has always walked the straight and narrow yet he gets no respect.
It’s not necessarily an original concept, but I’ll bet it would be a successful one. And if history is any indication, when Cena inevitably turns babyface again, he might be more popular than ever.