Debate: Should John Cena Turn Heel

By Glenn and Jake

As the world slowly limps towards another dreaded Dwyane “The Rock” Rock vs. Jonathan Cena match at this year’s Wrestlemania, the question on the lips of everyone who still has them is: will John Cena turn heel?  In wrestling, especially during the era of writer Vince Russo, wrestlers change from good (face) to bad (heel), often to deal with the stagnancy of their characters.  A real life example from the empty world of entertainment would be Kristen Stewart cheating on the vampire with another person (a heel turn).  An example from politics would David Brock, a man who veered left and started the valuable Media Matters after having previously written stupid books against Anita Hill and the Clinton Criminal Conspiracy (a face turn).  Today Jake and Glenn debate whether it’s time for superhero John Cena to finally turn to the dark side.

Glenn: Leave Cena alone.  Whether rapping, playing Fred’s dad on Nickelodeon or wrestling in the main event of Wrestlemania, Cena is the most consistent WWE performer of the past ten years and a hero to many children around the world.  His wrestling character talks a casual way that many fans relate to and always tries his hardest the way no fan can relate to.  Just think of his motto: “Hustle, Loyalty Respect” and imagine what his motto would be if he turned heel.  Perhaps “Lackadaisical, Disloyalty, Complete Lack of Respect?”  That’s actually not a bad motto, but it’s too long.  The Pakistani children and institutionalized criminally insane who write WWE storylines just need to come up with fresh ideas for Cena, not a completely new outlook on life.

Jake: Cena is met with a chorus of dueling chants: “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks.”  The longer he remains a babyface, the louder the latter half of this chant becomes.  John Cena is the anti-Stone Cold Steve Austin.  Steve Austin was a beer drinking, untrusting, anti-authoritarian rattlesnake.  He was the biggest babyface and biggest draw in wrestling history.  John Cena is none of these things.  He uses grade school taunts, drops feces on people who are just trying to share a romantic moment and calls The Rock gay.  This is who you want your children looking up to?  CM Punk goes to the beat of his own drum.  He’s a straight edge, confident, anti-authority lone wolf.  If you ground your son for calling his teacher “poopy” because he saw John Cena do it on TV, he might drop a bucket of excrement on you while you’re making your live-in girlfriend stuffed artichokes.

Glenn:  I am glad you mentioned Phil “Cartoon Man Punk” Brooks, whose famous rivalry with John Cena matches the rivalry between Rock-Steve Austin of your era and Bob Backlund-Iron Sheik of mine.  CM Punk recently shoved an innocent fan and then called some little girl a “cunt” on Twitter.  He is not a hero!  John Cena is - the only thing he does to little girls is literally making their dreams come true through the Make A Wish Foundation.  Did you know he has granted more wishes than Genie from Aladdin and that ornamental skull from Vice Versa (1988) combined?  If they turned his character heel, then all of a sudden a dastardly John Cena would be showing up in terminally ill children’s hospital rooms and attacking them with bedpans.  That is no way to force John Cena to live and no way to continue the WWE’s intelligence-insulting, low brow appeal to children and idiots.

Jake: John Cena the person is a good man, minus his marital troubles.  John Cena the professional wrestling character is a terminally juvenile superman who cannot be beaten by the best.  I don’t blame him for not putting people over--I blame Vince McMahon.  This teaches children that losing is the worst thing imaginable.  If their hero rarely loses, and when he does he acts like he doesn’t give a fuck about it, this sends the wrong message to children.  They are going to feel terrible and beaten down by a lifetime of losing, especially because it hardly happens to John Cena.  John Cena was nearly in tears on Old School Raw 2013 because he lost last year to The Rock when he promised he would win.  Promising to win and then losing is the actions of a heel.  I’m not saying John Cena should turn heel; he already is a heel.

Glenn: I agree that John Cena’s behavior teaches the wrong lessons to children (even as he does sometime show weakness - check last week’s Raw promo with Rock to see real vulnerability).  However, as we’ve seen from the entire history of professional wrestling and Linda McMahon’s twelve ill-fated campaigns for Fairfield County Coroner, WWE only believes in an amoral pursuit of money and power.  John Cena sells more merchandise than CM Punk or even your precious Berzerker.  Creatively, turning Cena heel might provide a breath of fresh air into his character but likely he will behave mostly the same and receive similar mixed reactions.  Kids, women and I will stick by him because we’re loyal even to people who treat us poorly.  It is much easier to get cheap heel heat, as we’ve see CM Punk demonstrate several times over the course of 2012, so you can always build up heels to fight a face Cena.  There are literally thousands of wrestlers Cena has never beaten but with any lucky will, at the same time, during the pre-show of Over the Edge 2013.

Jake: There is no such thing as cheap heat.  All heat is equally hot.  You don’t look at the fire you started at a flint factory and think to yourself, “This is some cheap heat.”  No, you grow aroused by the flickering beauty of the dancing flames.  CM Punk’s is over as a heel and he was over as a babyface.  Though, in a way, he was portraying the same character with very little difference.  He even once told the fans that he hated them, and they just continued to cheer.  The difference between Punk and Cena, besides a large gap in performance quality, is that Punk has a conviction to what he says and Cena is just a muscled up goof.  John Cena once claimed that if Wade Barrett beat him he would quit.  When Barrett won the match, John Cena gave a tearful goodbye speech.  Then the next week he was back, attacking various members of the Nexus.  John Cena is not a man of his word.  He’s a charlatan.  If my son or daughter told me that John Cena was their hero, I would only allow them to eat the nutritious goop that Robocop subsisted on.  If they refuse to have good taste, then neither will the food that they eat.


  1. Lol! Kudos for the David Brock reference!! This is not only a fantastic debate but also a great professional wrestling primer!!!

  2. In my dimension, professional wrestling is real and baseball is fixed. There are an equal amount of steroid cases in baseball between our dimensions.

  3. John Cena turned face at WrestleMania!


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