How to Fix a Cena that Can't Lose: More Wins

Bloggified by Jake on Saturday, February 2, 2013

As I was cataloging the last four nigh-flawless years of John Cena's career, I was tweeting various observations and debating the definition of a "clean" loss with some of my followers. Adam Popovich, who writes about WWE over at Grizzly Bomb, raised the question of what one could do to fix Cena's character. All he could suggest was adding werewolves. Whether Cena would fight the werewolves or reveal himself to be a werewolf or fall in love with a werewolf who is feuding with a vampire Cena has already professed love for, I don't know. The point is that I have been debating this question since writing that last post.

On a side note, I am also the father of a ten-year-old girl who professes to love WWE. (I know you're not supposed to pick favorites between your children but when your son asks me to buy him a John Cena shirt to wear to the Royal Rumble and your daughter asks you for a Cactus Jack one, they make it hard not to.) This is a matter for an entire different column, but sufficed to say the more she watches the more disappointed I get in the lack of a legitimate Divas Division. A.J. Lee, the biggest female star in the company, doesn't even bother to wrestle. Instead, she's spent a year playing doe-eyed admirer to a series of boyfriends who disrespect and don't appreciate her.

I only mention my problem with the Divas because as I was trying to fix Cena, I stumbled upon a solution that also fixes the Divas' lack of relevance. The only problem is I'm about a month late. This plan should have gone into effect in December--and I can't believe I'm saying this--when Cena should have beaten Dolph Ziggler at the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs pay per view.

As it was, Cena, who had blown his own opportunities to win the WWE Championship from CM Punk (by no fault of his own, of course) took on Ziggler, who has a Money in the Bank contract that grants him a Heavyweight Championship title bout anytime or anywhere he wants. Much like Cena winning the Royal Rumble to secure himself a spot in the main event of Wrestlemania--where everyone knew he would be regardless of the Rumble result--this seemed like a case of Cena stealing an opportunity from another deserving worker. Cena's reputation has him already hogging the spotlight while simultaneously pushing others into the darkness. Cena was poised to win and steal Ziggler's title shot when A.J. turned on him with a sneak attack and cost him the match.

Instead, I would have had A.J.'s sneak attack fail. Despite being pushed off a ladder and then taking a superkick or a Zig Zag or anything else Ziggler and A.J. wanted to throw at him, Cena gets up, shoulder blocks Ziggler's ladder and sends Ziggler out of the ring. He bounds up the ladder without any hint of struggle that is the signature of all ladder matches and becomes the new Mr. Money in the Bank. Afterward, A.J. says she did it because Cena didn't care about anything but titles and being the best and that his obsession scared her. She was hurt by his rejection, but she was also worried by what would happen to the WWE if Cena was given yet another title match. Her words are dismissed since she's a "crazy chick," but they prove prophetic.

A month later, Cena wins the Royal Rumble and Rock beats CM Punk for the WWE title, just as happened. Cena announces he'll be taking on the Rock at Wrestlemania and hints that maybe he'll use his Money in the Bank contract to go after the Heavyweight belt at Elimination Chamber. Instead, United State Champion Antonio Cesaro comes out and mocks John Cena as a typical, lazy American who can't accept that his best days are behind him. He notes how Cena lost to Rock and lost his Money in the Bank match last year and then went out of his way to get another Money in the Bank contract and another shot at the Rock. Cena responds with some jingoistic nonsense about Swiss cheese and skiing in the Alps and goads Cesaro into putting the U.S. Title on the line at Elimination Chamber. Cesaro carries Cena to a great match, but Cena pulls out the win as he always does. (Just for the hell of it, let's also have Ziggler beat Alberto Del Rio in the Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber match, ironically giving him the belt after he lost his shot at it. And why not have A.J. win the Divas Championship and get her wrestling again?)

Wrestlemania opens with a rematch between Del Rio and Ziggler. Twitter is on fire as these two each have a career match. Ziggler pulls out a win that leaves both men jelly-legged and glassy-eyed as the crowd catches its collective breath.

Cue Cena's music. He comes running down the ramp with the US belt around his waist, the Money in the Bank briefcase in his hand, and a referee in tow. He hits the ring and the ref signals for the bell. Cena pulls Ziggler to his feet, hits the Attitude Adjustment, and 1-2-3, he's the Heavyweight Champion having stolen the title from Ziggler with very own contract. Later in the show, Shield members Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns defeat Team Hell No for the Tag Team Titles, but why am I bothering to mention that when the rematch of Cena and Rock now has the potential to be a title unification match? Where are my priorities?

Cena and Rock rest hold their way through some tackles and clotheslines and an STF and a Sharpshooter and both kick out of the Rock Bottom and the Attitude Adjustment, respectively. This time, Rock tries the U-Can't-C-Me and Cena catches him. An Attitude Adjustment later, Cena is walking out with three belts.

The next night on Raw, Ryback is still feuding with the Shield. He challenges them to a match at the Extreme Rules pay per view for their tag team titles. He offers to find a partner and have a three-on-two handicap match. Cena offers to be Ryback's partner, showing off his three championship belts as reference. They win and now Ryback and Cena are tag team champs in addition to his other titles.

Building up to the next yet-to-be-named pay per view, Cena sets his sights on the Intercontinental belt, which at this point is held by another internet smark darling like Daniel Bryan. Bryan is supposed to defend the belt against El Generico or Tyson Kidd or Seth Rollins, but Cena puts the WWE belt on the line in a title for title match. Bryan takes the bait and makes Cena tap to the No Lock. But Cena loses it and clobbers Bryan with the Heavyweight belt in mid-celebration. He points out some technicality about Bryan's gear or something and the referee agrees to restart the match. Cena gets Bryan to tap to the STF and adds the Intercontinental belt to his growing collection.

By now, only the hardest of hardcore Cena fans are still rooting for him and think this isn't ridiculous. Just to make it clear heading into Money in the Bank, Cena goes to Stone Cold Steve Austin's ranch and attacks him to steal the Smoking Skull belt. During Mick Foley's Hall of Fame induction, a point is made of presenting him with the old Hardcore Championship belt, which Cena then attacks Mick backstage around this time to claim under the old 24/7 rules. He challenges William Regal to a fight for the defunct European title. If only Tazz weren't at TNA and could lose the FTW belt.

Meanwhile, on a July episode of Raw, Ryback and Cena defend the Tag Team championship against... pick somebody. Prime Time Players? The Usos? Cena let's Ryback do most of the work, then tags in after Ryback hits the Shell Shock, does an Attitude Adjustment, gets the pin, and celebrates, cutting a promo about how great he is and how lucky Ryback is to be his partner. Ryback gets upset and their fight turns into a match at Money in the Bank. Winner gets both tag belts and the right to choose his partner to be the other half of the tag team champions. Cena wins after kicking out of Ryback's Meathooks and Shell Shock, maybe using some brass knucks on his Five-Knuckle Shuffle to get some extra heel heat. The next night on Raw, Cena announces his new tag team partner is... nobody. He doesn't need anybody and why should he have to share the spotlight? To prove his point, he defeats Primo and Epico in a handicap match.

Cena is now in full-on heel mode, cheating when necessary, but usually winning the exact same way he does now. No matter what anyone does to him, he kicks out and keeps going.

Uneasy about the surprise nature of the Money in the Bank competitors, Cena talks both of them into a Triple Threat match at Summerslam. Both the Heavyweight and WWE Championships will be on the line with the winner of the first pinfall getting one and the second the other. They hesitate at first, but after Cena calls them cowards and other bullying, they eventually agree. The winners--take your pick from Randy Orton, Sheamus, CM Punk, Brock Lesnar, or another of your favorites--tear it up, but Cena cannot be pinned. Even on the verge of unconsciousness, Cena manages to get a shoulder up every time. They go at each other as as soon as one gets his finisher, Cena jumps in, knocks him out of the ring, and get the pin. The ref restarts the match for the second belt, Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment, and both Money in the Bank competitors have been dismissed.

The following night on Raw, we see how low morale is in the locker room. Everyone is giving up on the hope of ever winning a belt again. A.J. makes the observation she did before the Royal Rumble that John Cena's obsession would be bad for the WWE. Cena overhears her and makes an angry face. Later in the show, A.J. is defending her title in a Lumberjill Fatal-Four-Way match. Cena comes down and gets in the ring. The lumberjills try to stop him, but what chance do they have against a guy who can pick up Big Show on his shoulders and flip him? The four women in the ring stand up to him, but he hits them all with the Attitude Adjustment. He gets in A.J.'s face and accuses her of jealousy and mocks her and her silly butterfly belt. If she wants to talk trash about him, why doesn't she do it to his face? Why doesn't she put her belt on the line? She says no, because it's a Divas belt, but Cena argues that if she's not willing to compete against the best competition, what value does it actually have. For the next few weeks, Cena haunts A.J. and demands a title shot. Since she refuses, Cena instead threatens the rest of the Divas. When the number one contender is named, she declines the chance to fight for the belt at Night of Champions. The number two contender is likewise reluctant to take the title shot. A battle royal is held to determine A.J.'s opponent at the pay per view, but Cena storms the ring and cleans house. He declares himself the winner and demands his title shot. A.J. finally relents.

Night of Champions opens with Cena vs. A.J. for the Diva's title. Cena tosses her around like a rag doll and toys with her. Finally, A.J. gets in a surprise shot of offense--an elbow to Cena's nose or a kick in the crotch, something to slow him down. This enrages him, but makes him lose focus. A.J. uses her superior quickness and agility to hit and run, kind of like some of those old Rey Mysterio matches against Kevin Nash or Big Show or Undertaker. Cena is embarrassed and wants her to pay. He tackles her and gives her the Five-Knuckle-Shuffle, then sets her up for the STF... but she reverses it into a schoolboy for the 1-2-3! A.J. is the first person to defeat Cena in ten months!

As Cena struggles to come to grips with losing, it sinks in that at Night of Champions, every title is on the line. Kofi Kingston follows A.J. for the U.S. Title match. Cena throws some devastating moves but is clearly distracted by the loss, leaving him open for a Trouble in Paradise. Cena instinctively kicks out, but then the other contenders start to gather on the entrance ramp. He turns his attention to them and gets another kick to the back of his head. 1-2-3 and Kofi is the new United State Champ. While Cena argues with the ref, Cody Rhodes slides into the ring and hits Cross Rhodes to win the Intercontinental belt. Cena is reeling and struggles to his feet, only to be double teamed by... some tag team. Alberto Del Rio and Sin Cara? Big Show and Kane? Colt Cabana and Brad Maddox? After some double finisher, Cena gets pinned again and his tag team belts are gone. Cena is in panic mode and tries to get himself counted out, but Santino drives him back into the ring with the Cobra. Santino is your new Heavyweight Champion. That leaves the WWE title and the people's hero... Lord Tensai? Great Khali? Zach Ryder? Eh, it's probably Sheamus or Orton. Cena clings to his last belt like a mother to her baby in a hurricane. He musters some offense, digging deep as he realizes this is all he has left. Alas, it is too much and he falls, left a shattered wreck in the middle of the ring. Backstage, he gets stunnered, then Stone Cold pours beer on him and Mick Foley smashes a trash can over his head.

In the months to come, titles will shift freely and be defended often. Afterall, it's been two years since anyone but Punk, Rock, or Cena has held the WWE title. Cena finds an old WCW TV Title belt in a closet at Titan Tower, but that's not enough. He goes through all of his rematches, but a Diva always shows up to cost him the match. Cena goes on to be a monster heel, a man hellbent on controlling everyone and everything in his universe and making everything about reflecting his own glory, and seemingly impossible to pin, kind of a non-mystical Undertaker.

Or maybe he's a werewolf.

1 sarcastic replies:

cheesebadger said...

This is so brilliant it could actually work. Of course that means it'll never happen, and my werewolf theory is still slightly more likely to happen. It would be pretty amazing though if it did. You basically took Super-Cena and made him into the dark, soviet communist version of Superman from Red Son. It'd totally work too.

"Why don't you put the whole WWE in a bottle, Super-Cena?"

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