Watching last night's (Feb. 18) Elimination Chamber pay-per-view (PPV), I lamented on Cageside's Twitter account how yet another WWE show ended with John Cena inside the ring smiling and saluting while half the audience --- those under the age of 12 -- cheered their little hearts out and the other half -- everyone who had gone through puberty -- booed until their throats were hoarse.
It wasn't so much that his match with Kane was largely forgettable or that The Rock -- rumored to make an appearance to hype their WrestleMania 28 match in six weeks -- didn't show up to rain of Cena's post-Ambulance Match parade. It was a matter of having to see something we had seen over and over again.
I've gone on record as saying Cena's character needs more wrinkles, more nuances. It's exactly why his program with Kane -- largely frowned upon by the Cageside community -- didn't really rub me the wrong way. It showed the WWE at least trying to evolve Cena from a goody two-shoes to a more complex character, complete with flaws and faults.
What would rub me the wrong way is turning Cena rulebreaker ... heel, which is a move that many have deemed as necessary for years now. Turning Cena rulebreaker isn't at all necessary.
In fact, without the right reasoning, it'd be downright pointless.
As it stands, Cena's reaction is mostly split down the middle. Half of the audience abhors him while the remaining half would trust him with their most valuable possessions. If the WWE were to swap Cena's moral allegiance, it wouldn't tilt those reactions in either direction. They would remain the same albeit in reverse.
Those cheering Cena now would hate him and those who boo him would change their tune. Well, hopefully. There would still be those in the audience who assume the show is about them and consciously decide to go against whatever the WWE would want simply because their mothers didn't hug them enough as children.
Swapping the fanbase's reactions would be exactly what the WWE should expect if Cena simply starts being a bad guy. The reason I was intrigued by his storyline with Kane was because it seemed the company was actually giving Cena the motivation he needed to turn rebel.
Superstars have gone from good to bad for any number of reasons in the WWE's history. Randy Savage did it out of paranoia, Andre the Giant did it for the money, Owen Hart did it due to sibling rivalry. The worst thing for John Cena's character would be to turn rulebreaker only because of how half of the audience feels. Sure, that can be a part of it but as the sole reason, it falls short.
If -- but probably not when -- Cena turns heel, it should have some significance, it should have some meaning. And unless that happens, the about face would be meaningless and hollow.