True or False.....
John Cena has saved professional wrestling.
Now, before I dismiss this statement outright, I'd like to ask some probing questions concerning the landscape of the day AND look at some other thoughts to consider as they relate to answering this question one direction or the other.
1. When did John Cena catch fire?
Maybe the phrasing of the question is misleading, but the spirit of the question deals with when Cena actually got over with the fans. Some may agree, others may disagree, but my view of Cena's rise begins in the late months of 2002, when he debuted the look that he wears today minus the padlock/ chain pendant. Who "made" John Cena? What feud defined his character? To me, the winner of that title was the late Eddie Guerrero. Eddie made the perfect foil, playing a heel to begin with, but the likable heel, whereas Cena played the heel people loved to hate. He was brash and arrogant. He was the rapper who made short work out of freestyle promos, most of which would push the PG censors to their limits. He was innovative and used the persona well. Fans ate it up and the rest is history.
2. Was Cena the WWE's most promising star?
Not even close. Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, Big Show, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and The Undertaker were the anchors of the blue brand at the time and held their places on the card with prominence. In 2003, had WWE played their cards better, there were two other recruits who may have become every bit as big, if not bigger.....
Do you see the point? John Cena was on the right brand and in the right place at the right time. WWE never picked up on their mistakes with those who may have been just as successful under the right conditions. You could call me biased, but I'd like to use the term realistic.
John Cena didn't save wrestling. The fact of the matter is simple. WWE was putting up higher numbers on Spike TV in 2002 than they are on USA now in 2013. Look it up. Smackdown was running close second, and there was no competition for a second place brand behind WWE. TNA wasn't even a blip on the radar and Ring of Honor was barely known about, except for die hard indy fans.
While John Cena has been a staple on WWE TV for over a decade now, it seems careless to overlook those WWE hadn't had the patience to work with or cultivate. But then that's Vince's business and who are we to argue? We just built the fanbase he enjoys, but "I'm not telling you anything you don't already know."