John Cena Career Retrospective - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

John Cena Career Retrospective - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Robert DeFelice Sunday, January 6, 2019
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Jordan Chaffiotte, Aryan Malhotra, and Ben Guest will be giving their thoughts on the legendary career of John Cena!

The 16-Time WWE Champion has been appearing only sparingly as of late, and that time has come for a career retrospective of John Cena. What is his best match? Who Should retire him? Let's discuss...

Question 1: What's your favorite John Cena memory?

GUEST: One that stands out for me is the 2008 Royal Rumble return. The huge pop during the ‘Super Cena’ era is a real demonstration of how important he was to the company. From an in-ring perspective, the US Championship open challenges were great, giving the likes of Cesaro, Sami Zayn and Neville prime airtime and letting them show what they can do is what a guy like John Cena should be doing late in his career.

MALHOTRA: There are a lot of memorable Cena moments to choose from to be honest, but the favourite one I’m gonna go with is his rivalry and eventual first match vs The Rock at Wrestlemania 28. The whole one year long build up plus The Rock’s return to his hometown really made this match feel important, not to mention of course two of the greatest larger than life personalities going at it. During this time we were also deep in the saga of fans hating on Cena, but this seems to be the main time where he actually embraced it full on to tackle the People’s champion.

Come on, anytime we get to see the Doctor of Thuganomics is a great time! Of course, it would be entertaining since John Cena and the Great One are known for getting fans engaged with their fantastic promo skills and their charisma. Rock concerts, fruity pebbles, part-time accusations, pissed off John were just a few of the limitless memorable parts of all that we saw on programming for a year. The match while not technically a masterpiece or anything, was great in the theatrical element with hooked fans, taunts, long storytelling bits, and dramatic finisher kick outs. And hey, Cena losing clean and sitting in that now timeless pose on the ramp was a big thing at that time remember. The whole rivalry and match was a fun time with us getting to see a new side of Cena too, and hence it sticks out as my favorite.

CHAFFIOTTE: Honestly, it was this Tuesday on SmackDown Live. I've never enjoyed him more, he's clearly leaning into the comedy training and it feels like he's just having fun. Dude is funny! Wrestling is ridiculous, we need more moments like him introducing himself to Zelina Vega saying "my name is John Cena, you may know me from being John Cena." Which, it just so happens, is how I introduce myself at networking events.

It's so ironic because for years we criticized him for his 5 moves of doom and an unchanging character, essentially for being a one trick pony. The reality is he's probably one of the most well rounded and diversely talented stars they have. If this is the new John Cena, the John Cena who gets to breathe without filming two reality shows, the John Cena who gets to do everything he loves, I am here for it. I can't imagine how hard the last year has been for both him and Nikki Bella, but both of their career and personal successes really shows sometimes we just have to let go.

Question 2: What would you like to see John Cena do at WrestleMania 35?

GUEST: If they want to push lars Sullivan, then this is an easy way to do it, if they want to bring Hulk Hogan back into the mix gently, have Cena, Hogan and The Rock host WrestleMania in a combining of era’s, if they want to elevate a particular title, throw John Cena into the mix. Cena’s a guy they can throw into any situation to hype it up or make it seem more important. However, WrestleMania usually needs a big match for the older fans, and where was John Cena last year?

I feel like everyone has just forgotten about the Cena/Undertaker feud, Have Cena come out saying he’s going to win the Royal Rumble and take the outright record for WWE Championships, he gets into the final four then the lights go out, gong, lightning, lights come up, Cena’s on the outside with his feet on the floor, WWE makes up some rule about that meaning he must have gone over the top (or not, if they want him to have a title match at SummerSlam), then Cena continues to call Undertaker a coward or whatever. Easy.

CHAFFIOTTE: I really enjoy Cena in this role, he's got the spotlight but not in the championship picture. Let him retire tying the record for most championship reigns, Charlotte's about to bust through that record anyway. Instead of muddying up those waters with yet another body, I'd like to see him give some young upstart a hell of a WrestleMania moment. Veterans in Cena's position are best used as gatekeepers. Who's knocking on that gate? I say, Mustafa Ali. Their gimmicks are actually very similar at their core and I believe Cena would be more than happy to take Ali's career to the next level. Is there anyone on the roster who demonstrates Cena's hustle, loyalty, and respect?

MALHOTRA: At this point, I think there are a lot of people on the roster that Cena has already had plenty of matches and rivalries with. What I love about the new Cena is that he freshens up the scene, so I want him to continue with that at Wrestlemania 35. A non-title or mid-card title bout should be perfect for Mania against somebody he has not faced before. This can have lots of flexible paths though, someone like Samoa Joe, Rey Mysterio or Nakamura are veterans who’ve had limited interaction with Cena but can make for a pretty good feud plus match. Or he can go the route with younger talent like Mustafa Ali as mentioned by my peer above or Balor or an NXT call-up maybe. The feud should be centered on something other than Cena being a part-timer this time though because that has been the theme for some time now with him. How about Cena and his newly learned fighting skills from China and Jackie Chan vs Matt Riddle and his grappling skills, BRO??

Question 3: Is this the last year you want to see John Cena wrestle? How many more years do you think he has and how would you book his retirement?

MALHOTRA: No, are you kidding me? For years Cena was a constant on our TV screens and during that time, some fans even got sick of him and wanted him gone. But now, it feels really refreshing that he comes once in 5 months on both brands, has few matches and rivalries, and then is gone again. In fact, it feels like he’s gone too much nowadays and I’m not gonna lie I miss him too sometimes. And adding to the limited experiences is that he still has the hottest rivalries supplemented by great matches, case in point being Aj Styles and Roman Reigns. This part-time act seems to be going really well and since he gets a lot of time to heal also, I see this being a successful career path for Cena till the distant future, where after maybe 4-5 years I see his retirement. Retirement should be in a WrestleMania main event match against younger talent, someone like Adam Cole comes to mind. A person who can benefit off of saying, Cena, doesn’t have it anymore and challenging a career vs title match, and after victory can boast all the time to add to his character? That idea seems undisputed, bay bay.

GUEST: Retirement talk for Cena at this point is crazy, I was shocked he’s taken as reduced a role as he has, but I think that even further supports the argument that he’s got plenty more Mania matches in him. I could see John Cena taking the Triple H role of inserting him into championship matches or helping to put over big names with nothing else to do. John Cena will probably be at WrestleMania 40 in a wrestling capacity, so no… I don’t think this is his last year.

Booking his retirement is tough, ideally, he puts over an up and coming name and one that comes to mind who might need that final push into stardom by that time is Velveteen Dream. Dream’s only 23, so lets say Cena has 5 years left, a 28-year-old Dream could have established himself as an NXT great, worked his way through the mid-card, fallen short in a world title match, then worked his way back up, only to be told he has to put John Cena into retirement before he gets another shot at the title. I would also suggest a double retirement match with Randy Orton, but apparently, most people don’t want to see any more of that feud. Maybe that means it could happen.

CHAFFIOTTE: As far as I'm concerned, he's allowed to wrestle for as long as he sees fit. Again, I wouldn't put another title on him at this point. But he's doing part-time perfectly. He shows up, makes a splash, puts himself into it and then says until next time. Cena's relatively healthy, he hasn't had any major scares or an injury that would mean he needs to retire. So what's the downside to letting him do this for a few more years? He should retire in a passing of the torch moment in a title vs career match against a younger champion.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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Robert DeFelice is a journalist and marketing student. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram as well as his apparel website Time Killer Apparel and his pro wrestling blog PandemoniuMania.


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