For months I have been pointing at a John Cena heel turn knowing full well that such a thing is simply fantasy in this day and age. His being the face of the company and a role model to all the annoying kiddies watching WWE lately mean it is becoming harder and harder for big Vince to take that oh so desperate plunge into the shock value bin, regardless of whether the fans are screaming to boo him. It’s not that we don’t respect John and his image, far from it in my opinion; we just wish he was fresh again. WWE are currently celebrating Cena’s 10 years in the company, which is a grand accomplishment to be sure. Over that time though I would argue he has simply not changed. Of course he entered our living rooms at first as the ruthless aggression guy and then later took on his quite entertaining Vanilla Ice gimmick; but both these periods took up, at most, 2 years.
WWE are scared of the potential image being portrayed to their younger viewers, naturally, but I would argue they are much more afraid at the potential loss of merchandise sales from Cena’s image. But what if there was a way in which all the haters of Cena and lovers of Punk would buy up merchandise by the case load. You’d call it madness of course you would and you would likely be correct. What if there was a proposed move that would benefit rising stars in the company, a cause that in my opinion far outweighs that of sales! What if John Cena and CM Punk become the new Mega Powers?
We’ve seen the two biggest names in the company join forces several times before and to great effect. I believe and I could be wrong in that the first were Hogan and the Macho Man! The original mega-powers that dominated the WWE for some time! More recently however you can point to the Two Man Power Trip in Steve Austin and Triple H; created the RAW after WrestleMania X7. These two would have had a much bigger impact I’m sure were it not for Trips’ horrible leg injury side-lining him for months. Why not bring this magic back as I am positive the fans would engage.
Older fans love heels and there are some great reasons for this. Generally they are the better wrestlers, they tend to be much more than the two dimensional smiley boys and their heelish tactics bring a smile to our faces. As the history of Batman in all forms of media will attain to we love a good villain, the world of pro-wrestling is no different. But when you bring two of the biggest names in the business together for the greater bad, the results help everyone.
As I mentioned earlier the potential for shifting merchandise relating to the two biggest shifters in T shirts at the moment will be incredible. Give them a great name and look and by golly the smarks would eat it up. Especially if it were to relate to the craze of booing Cena in some way! They would also likely have 3 separate Shirts out at one time creating more bucks for Vinnie Mac to rub his greasy hands on. One each for Punk and Cena respectively and also the team shirt with, the potentially, kick ass logo taking centre stage. You may lose some sales from the kids and parents crowd but they would fly out to pretty much every other demographic. Men would want the Punk shirt and would finally allow their lady friends to wear a Cena shirt (I can’t stop my wife wearing her Cena Tee’s as it is), and if all designs are great but unique in their own way and the team itself is badass, you might find fans buying all the designs up. It may take some sales away from other Midcard stars but in the long run, it will most definitely help those lower on the pecking order.
A big theme of many of my articles is looking at promoting the future stars of the business, something WWE used to perform extremely well until the mid-2000’s when they simply got a bit lazy along with their business direction becoming a little fuzzy. Vince and Co. simply relied on Johnny boy for everything! From shirt sales to PPV buys to house show gate sales, it was pretty much always Cena fronting the campaign. In that time they have made so few stars we’re basically treading water until the new faces of the company emerge. I don’t see that happening with Cena still main eventing and feuding with the top heels as the only babyface. WWE can make up for all this time wasted by first turning Cena and immediately joining with Punk. It’s a double whammy in effect as you will have two massive names under one banner allowing more time for the younger guys to develop, alongside the mid-carders ability to feud with a super heel team to get the super face rub. WWE would be creating superstars for the future to sell even more events and merch for the coming years. Much like Triple H and Austin did for Benoit and Jericho.
A recent revelation showed me that however much we want a Cena heel turn, it probably wouldn’t pay off. If Cena were to turn he could potentially become lost in his new role as, in my opinion; he requires quite a bit of direction and is potentially very image conscious as it pertains to his fan base and who could blame him? After playing the same goody two shoes character for 10 years, he would need a superb heel mouthpiece in Punk to make this work. Punk, who has proven he can cut promos unlike anyone else on the roster, can bring Cena up to speed in how to do things. Punk is a master on the mic as, even though he draws cheap heat when he wants, he is fully aware as to what it is; Cheap! Therefore he doesn’t rely on it, instead going for the smart, condescending, best in the world shtick. If Cena were on his own he would only have cheap heat as all he has now is cheap pops.
The current magic of this scenario is CM Punk’s manager and close friend Paul Heyman. You couldn’t have Punk constantly standing next to Cena telling how what to say, you would need the two to be apart from time to time to develop their own feuds and Paul can be that guy that drifts. Much like Punk, Heyman is a guy who knows exactly what buttons to press while speaking to the fans. He can be the cowardly voice on Cena’s shoulder as I don’t think a cowardly heel Cena would be what anyone wants to see, but an element of fear is always a good way to put over the face. By no means would Cena’s motto of Hustle, Loyalty and Respect need to be thrown out of the window either, it would simply change how he implements it. He’s never been a cheater but the ruthless aggression can resurface with all the “anger” of the boos he receives and with last WrestleMania playing on his mind, can force him out of his current vanilla mould.
With CM Punks up and coming encounter with The Rock at the Royal Rumble, there has been no greater chance to join the two / turn Cena heel. Every fan gets told almost weekly that John lost to Dwayne at ‘Mania 28 and this could be the great catalyst to start the whole scenario. Even though John is the proverbial Boy Scout, that loss to Rock in storyline terms and probably professionally, must have hurt him. He wants his hands on Rocky and at the Rumble; he’ll be right in the middle of the ring with Punk. Queue a double team beat down by the new power team of the WWE. How better a start to ‘Mania season would you need. It’s unlikely the WWE championship match will be before the Rumble but if it were, Rock could quite easily eliminate Cena from said match through interference after Cena did the same. Cena Vs Rocky II at WrestleMania 29 but this time, there are quite a few elements leading to it with an actual grudge to settle!
Going further into the future, and taking the aforementioned rub for newer talent as a given, you could end up with any number of scenarios to break the team up in an entertaining and money making fashion. How about before a couple of up and comers get there rub, both Cena and Punk hold both the major titles in WWE. This alone spits out two lovely storylines and both as intriguing as the other. The first could be that both men lose their respective belts, pushing talent in the process of course, causing a fire to burn within them both which brings the two together into a heated feud. The second revolves around the two feuding whilst they both have a championship each. Queue a title unification match that a lot of fans are screaming for. To add some salt to it, how about someone has a Money in the Bank briefcase they cash in immediately afterwards. I’m all about ideas to push new talent.
Its nigh on implausible that this scenario would ever come about and is very much like many other of my articles in that they are based in pure fantasy. It would be entertaining and with the recent news that Vince wants to build up huge talking points during WrestleMania season I can’t think of a single greater talking point than the long term golden boy teaming with the biggest heel in the business, running the WWE and taking on all comers, including the damn Rock!
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This article was first posted on January 6, 2013