Whether it’s because of his on-again/off-again WWE schedule, his opinion-changing United States title run of 2015 or just because Roman Reigns has taken his position as smark lightening rod, fans don’t debate John Cena “burying” other wrestlers much any more.
But we’re not too far removed from the days of LOLCENAWINS, so the topic still comes from time-to-time, as it did in an interview Cena just gave to The Wrap.
Cena is doing press for his Fox reality competition show American Grit, one of many projects which keeps him away from SmackDown these days (he will be returning on July 4). This portion of his chat with writer Tony Maglio focused on his WrestleMania 33 feud with The Miz, however.
It’s in discussing the “pull no punches” approach he and Miz took to that program that the “b” word is brought up - by Cena:
This is why I have the reputation of quote-unquote “burying younger talent,” because I will let them do whatever they want with me — and then after they get done, they’re not as motivated. So, it’s not that I sink their ship, it’s that they fail to operate at an elite level. And I’m on to the next person, [to] whom I say, “Hey man, bring your best punch and I’m gonna punch back” — and they don’t take that attitude beyond me.
It’s a belief which fits in with the “‘Strong Survive’ environment” Cena says he embraces at WWE, and lines up with Chairman Vince McMahon’s “grab the brass ring” management approach.
But it also simplifies things a lot. Have Bray Wyatt and Rusev failed to operate at an elite level since ending their rivalry with the 16 time World champ, or are there other issues at play? Were they given the same latitude in their next feud, or told to stick to a script when not working with the face of the company?
Answering questions like that, and the way Cena’s approach doesn’t even seem to consider them, will keep this discussion going for a long time come.