The Mother Brain Files: Your Time is Up
By Mother Brain
â€œNobody stays on top forever. Nobody!â€
– Charles Bronson
Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Wayne Gretzky, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Hulk Hogan. I could name hundreds of franchise players in sports who had amazing runs in their careers. Like any great run, however, the time comes when the greats have to let go of their coveted spot for the next generation to take over. For WWE, that time is now for John Cena to relinquish his spot as the #1 company man.
Iâ€™ve written countless blogs about the men who came before Cena. Only Bruno Samartino had the longest run which nobody will ever eclipse. Cena has been on WWE television for ten years with seven going eight years as the top superstar. Yes, he has won over the women and kids who buy his merchandise, donates countless hours to charities for sick kids and military veterans, and promotes the company on every talk show imaginable. Cena is this companyâ€™s Peyton Manning. Perhaps too much like Manning.
Peyton Manning spent his entire career with the Indianapolis Colts since the day he was drafted to the NFL. He helped his team to win two AFC titles, one Super Bowl, and has earned a variety of MVP awards and honors. Manning also formed a foundation for underprivileged kids and appears in countless commercials from MasterCard to Papa Johnâ€™s Pizza. Yet, one serious neck injury took him out of a season which proved to be disastrous for the Colts. Management had to make a decision: Do they wait for the 35 year old superstar quarterback recover from his injury or do they go for the next #1 draft pick, Andrew Luck? Well, they chose the latter and Manning was traded to the Broncos.
For years, Cena had advantages that his predecessors did not. He had no obligations to children of his own, remained drug-free, never challenged the boss, felt no pressure from a rival wrestling organization, and had no desire to jump into film acting full time. This past year alone, Cena has not only been working hurt from injuries to the neck, hip, and ankle, but he has also been going through a painful divorce from his high school sweetheart. Throughout all the difficulties, Cena does not take time off. Now does he choose to be on the road 24/7 or is he being forced to remain on the road by management?
Back in May when Cena defeated Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules, Cena cut a post-match promo announcing his temporary break from the ring. The very next night, however, Cena gets thrown into his next feud with John Laurinaitis and the Big Show. Just recently, Cena suffered a serious ankle and arm injury with a projected two return to the ring. Then Cena goes on Twitter saying itâ€™s six weeks. Some say itâ€™s part of a storyline to fool CM Punk into thinking he wonâ€™t be 100% at the Hell in a Cell PPV. Others say thereâ€™s a serious issue going on between Cena and the WWE.
Between working hurt, dealing with divorce, and working a hectic schedule with little time off, Cena has to be burning out. He may not show it much whenever heâ€™s on television but I cannot imagine anyone being a happy worker with so much physical and mental strain. Perhaps Cena wants just a few weeks off to cool down which is something not tolerated in Vince McMahonâ€™s world. In McMahonâ€™s eyes, Cena or any other top superstar has to be treated like a boy band in the sense that they have to maintain an in-your-face presence every week because the minute you take a â€œbreakâ€, the fans will replace your poster on the wall with someone else. Donâ€™t believe me? Ask any member of the New Kids on the Block when they took a year off after a major world tour in 1992.
So what keeps Cena in the #1 spot? As I see it, WWE has no one on the current roster to succeed him. At least not anyone with a kid friendly image. At a time when the PG rating equals big money sponsors and a chance for McMahonâ€™s spouse, Linda, to get elected to U.S. Senate, Cena is the only trusted superstar to make the WWE look like a shiny quarter. On top of all his charitable efforts, Cena is the only WWE superstar who changes his attire in support of breast cancer awareness. Admirable? Of course. Itâ€™s a very serious issue. Should he be the only guy on the roster to do this? Absolutely not. While breast cancer awareness is a very important issue that’s not to make fun of, I can’t help but see through the propaganda by having Cena as the only guy on the roster highlighting it. Unfortunately, the McMahons trust clean-cut Cena for good for public relations as opposed to a talented wrestler to tells a fan to kill himself on Twitter (CM Punk), an ex-reality star (The Miz), and a former marine who went AWOL (Randy Orton).
What the McMahons must come to realize is that time is not on Cenaâ€™s side. Iâ€™m not saying he should be fired. Thereâ€™s always room for reinterpreting his character whether heâ€™s a face or a heel. What I do believe is they have to meet a critical point about deciding on the future the same way the Indianapolis Colts had done previously. Continue to bank on a franchise player having peaked by in his mid-30s who works hurt a lot or do they start investing in a new superstar for the next decade? Well, a man dressed like a white rapper can grow very stale with age to the extent of being satirical. As for who can take his spot? Who honestly knows? Yet, as history has proven often, the next big WWE superstar is never truly handpicked by management. He is handpicked by the people. Hopefully, he wonâ€™t be a Cena clone.