Friday, September 13, 2013

Survival Tactix: 20 Questions.....1.....

As usually is the case, I found myself wandering the vast wasteland of useless information (the internet) and came across a statement that chilled me. So much so, in fact, that it prompted me to pose a question to the entire wrestling world, or at least those in my sphere of influence. So here's the question......

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.....
Nathan Jones was a classic example of what happens when proper planning and execution are tied together and thrown out the nearest window. He was a monster persona, but his character seemed cunning as well, or at least that what the promos suggested, but when it came to his debut, he was tossed into the wind and expected to try and swim in deep water all at once. For some, that kind of tactic might have worked, but the needs of his character demanded more care than Vince would allow. Exit Nathan Jones.

Sean 'O Haire. His promos following this format were brilliant, but his progress was sabotaged right out of the gate. His first appearance in character was during a dare for Brian Kendrick to streak through the arena and his first AND LAST feud was a train wreck against Rikishi and involved Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka. Seriously. In my view, his ultimate foil would have been on RAW, not Smackdown, which is where he debuted. Shawn Michaels, a face Triple H, Kane, even Batista would have given him the traction he needed to last, but he was set at a disadvantage from day one. Exit Sean 'O Haire.

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."

No comments:

Post a Comment