Wrestling Soap Box: It’s Official, John Cena is a Good Wrestler
Mar 4, 2013 - by Atlee Greene
– Wrestling Soap Box: It’s Official, John Cena is a Good Wrestler
Guess what folks? John Cena can wrestle, and he proved it last Monday when he and CM Punk tore the house down, and arguably had the best match in the history of Monday Night Raw.
Is Cena the world’s greatest wrestler? No. Are his promos gods awful and infuriating at times? Absolutely. The fact of the matter is you can’t suck and have the kind of match that he had. CM Punk does bring the best out of him, but Cena wasn’t carried in any way, shape, or form.
“I’m serving humble pie and I hope all of my critics are hungry” were the first verbal shots fired by John Cena in his pre-match promo. He was determined to have the kind of match that fans will be talking about for years to come.
Cena is a lousy mechanic, which is what he gets such a bad rap for. However, he can tell a great story and knows how to work in the right situations. Don’t believe me? Let’s take trip down memory lane and look at the best John Cena matches.
-Cena vs. Rob Van Dam, WWE Championship (ECW One Night Stand 2006)
“If Cena wins, we RIOT” perfectly describes the atmosphere in Hammerstein Ballroom that evening. ECW represented the hardcore fan and John Cena is the epitome of what hardcore fans hate about wrestling. The crowd did anything they could to get under his skin. The champ would not break as he did the one thing that infuriated the ECW faithful more than anything. He was simply himself and pulled off all of his trademark moves including the five knuckle shuffle.
-Cena vs. Edge, TLC Match for the WWE Championship (Unforgiven 2006)
While this wasn’t the first time Edge and Cena wrestled each other, it was their best outing. Like CM Punk, Edge always brought the best out of John Cena and was the first person to get people to boo the doctor of thugonomics. Bringing out the best in someone is not a knock on the guy who is getting the best brought out of them. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink it and the same applies here. Cena went over on Edge in his home town of Toronto and took an absolute beating in the process.
-Cena vs Umaga, Last Man Standing Match (Royal Rumble 2007)
I don’t think many expected much out of this match and we got so much more than we bargained for. Super Cena wasn’t super enough as Umaga dominated him at almost every turn. Cena even resorted to low blows and still couldn’t derail the big man. Cena had to choke him unconscious with the detached top rope in order to secure victory. It was an exciting train wreck that proved Cena could be vulnerable and still look strong in the process.
-Cena vs. Shawn Michaels, Monday Night Raw 4/23/07
An unexpected one hour classic turned out to be the match they should have had at WrestleMania 23. HBK can make anyone look good but he didn’t have to this time because Cena was with him every step of the way. This was a tremendous back and forth match that had the crowd from the opening lock up to the match ending super kick. The fact that this wasn’t an Iron Man made it even better because you had a story of two guys who wanted so desperately to win and would have fought all night if they had to.
-Cena vs. CM Punk, (Money in the Bank 2011)
The Summer of Punk turned out to be one of most exciting time periods in recent memory. We all know the story that led to the match the world had to see. While Punk was the catalyst for all of the media attention this angle was getting, it takes two to tango, and Cena was the other piece of the puzzle needed to make this match the success that it was. There is another bullet point I’m forgetting …oh yeah, it was Match of the Year.
-Cena vs. The Rock, WrestleMania 28
I watched this match in a house full of people where the majority knew nothing about the IWC. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was more vested in this match than any other encounter on the card. It wasn’t so much a great wrestling match as it was a spectacle. Every submission attempt and near fall had people jumping out of their seats. The finish was perfect as we got our first glimpse of what a heel John Cena could look like.
-Cena vs. Brock Lesnar, Extreme Rules Match (Extreme Rules 2013)
This was an amazing symphony of domination and brutality as Lesnar battered Cena with an arsenal of vicious elbows, stiff clotheslines and arm wrenching Kimuras. In the end, John Cena found a way to pin Lesnar’s shoulders to the mat and everyone has an opinion on the matter. Some felt the WWE gave away millions of dollars with Lesnar losing so soon after his debut, but the way everything unfolded made Cena winning the right call. If things were not executed as well as they were, it might have been a different story.
John Cena’s body of work over the years proves he is a good wrestler; he just doesn’t look good while doing it. Should substance minus style matter when grading the skill of a wrestler? In my humble opinion, No. Good, bad or indifferent, it takes a certain performer to resonate with the audience.
If it hadn’t happened before then it did on Monday night. Chants of “You can’t wrestle” and “Same Old %$#@&” are now null and void as it relates to John Cena and it’s time for folks to recognize.