If you were to ask someone today if they could name a wrestler in the WWE, chances are the name John Cena would be in their top 5 picks at least. That’s a pretty big indication of just how well-known he is in the wrestling world. Let me reiterate; I said how well-known he is. John Cena has essentially been the franchise player from 2005 to the present. He is the guy that Vince can call in to bring in PPV numbers, regardless of whether the crowd boos or cheers him. Since he has been the face of the company, Cena has portrayed a face character, or contextually the “good guy”. He’s been known as Super Cena; the guy that no matter how outnumbered or outgunned he is, he always seems to pull off the victory. At first, he was endearing to the crowd. Until he wasn’t anymore. Than he began to receive boos from the crowd. Now every time he enters, the response is literally polarizing. A wave of cheers is followed by a wave of boos. Most critics, both official and unofficial, have stated that it’s due to his formulaic booking and character. They have also suggested that in order to revitalize his character, he would need to turn heel, or become the “bad guy”. It’s been successful before. Daniel Bryan and The New Day turning heel ultimately made them more popular and successful later in their respective careers. But that’s not the case with John Cena. The reason why John Cena hasn’t turned heel yet is simple:
THERE IS NO ONE TO REPLACE HIM.
Simple as that. The Internet Wrestling Community and the older generation of wrestling fans are thinking that there are plenty of wrestlers that could take his place. But it’s not about the main event spot or being a company guy that would take losses to Michael Cole, but who the kids look up to. It’s always been about that. John Cena has set an all-time record for most Make-a-Wish foundation wishes granted at over 450 wishes. It’s because although the older generation and the IWC hate that Cena gets preferential booking or that he is overly cheesy, he still inspires the young kids to “Never Give Up”. And it’s that message that Cena wears on his arm that continues to win over the kids in the audience.
In order for WWE to feel comfortable enough to even think about booking a John Cena heel turn, they need someone who will be able to take over that responsibility to the kids. They tried with Roman Reigns, but Reigns has been largely disappointing as a top face. Even worse is the fact that Reigns is not “the guy” to be giving a positive message. He is the silent ass-kicker that he should have been; a man with few words and more punches.
In reality, there was only one person who could have realistically been the catalyst for a John Cena heel turn. And that man was Daniel Bryan. One just needs to research Connor “The Crusher” Michalek to know that Daniel Bryan had the potential to be the guy to replace John Cena as a hero to the kids. Unfortunately, even though Daniel Bryan had that potential, he would prefer a more private life with more time to himself whereas the guy that WWE wants to replace John Cena must be willing to uphold their massive schedule.
When it comes down to it, a John Cena heel turn would be pleasantly surprising and would easily reinvigorate his character. But you shouldn’t count on that to happen. Because at the end of the day, WWE cares about the kids. And they care about how much they can profit off of the kids.