Geno's piece, "John Cena is an awful, awful character" got me thinking... while I agree with his points, I couldn't help but feel there's something more to it. Wrestling has always been about escaping reality. The entire premise, two men "fighting" in a ring, is based exactly on that.
What made Stone Cold Steve Austin so popular was everyone's desire to flip their boss off and nail him in the jaw. The best wrestling offers this escape. Is it possible John Cena is another example of this?
John Cena represents everything we wish we could be, combined with everything we wish we could do.
He's (arguably) handsome, is in ridiculously amazing shape, is at the top of his profession, and is his company's go-to guy in just about every public relations matter. His character is based on a motto of Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect, and for the better part of a year he wore a bright orange shirt with a drawing of him dead lifting what looked to be 600 pounds and "Never Give Up" emblazoned above it. He's a jacked up, invincible Boy Scout, for all intents and purposes.
But he's also one of the, if not the, biggest asshole on the WWE roster. He went on an epic slut-shaming rant directed at Eve, simply because she didn't like Zack Ryder. WWE Creative tried to shoehorn a deceptive angle into the storyline, one where Eve admitted to "using" Ryder and would subsequently use Cena, but weeks of Eve blowing Ryder off lent no credence to that theory.
Cena would also insult Justin Gabriel's hairstyle and make thinly veiled insinuations the South African was gay. When offered the chance to face anyone on the WWE roster at Over the Limit, he chose retired, 46-year-old John Laurinaitis. A month later, he stripped Michael Cole to his boxers and poured barbeque sauce over him, for... wait for it... for "saying mean things about him".
But honestly, isn't that what we all want? (Minus the homophobia, which is simply Cena pandering to wrestling's lowest common denominator.) Who hasn't wanted to beat the crap out of a boss, manager, or superior, simply because they were making your life hard, regardless of their age? How many times has someone verbally slighted you and you wished every moral bone in your body would allow you to rain down vengeance upon them?
Morality and social norms keep us in check, but those don't apply to Cena. Nonetheless, he's still painted as a hero, a role model.
He's everything we wish we could be.
Editor's Note: This FanPost has been mildly edited for promotion to the front page here at Cageside Seats for your enjoyment, Cagesiders!