Hey Scott, was thinking about this the other day and maybe it's something you can post on your blog for discussion(considering many of your readers are in their early 20's)
I notice that a lot of today's wrestling fans who are in their early to mid-twenties are the main group who boo John Cena. They don't like how he is shoved down our throats, they also don't like how the PG era is shoved down their throats as well. This got me thinking, that this particular group never really had a 'wrestling era' of their own.
I am in my early thirties so I was lucky to have 2 era's, the cartoonish Rock N' Wrestling/Hulkamania era when I was 8, then the business grew with me and I got the Attitude Era when I was in my late teens and early 20's.
You are older than me(not taking a shot at you) and you had the great territorial wrestling of Jim Crockett Promotions, AWA, World Class, Mid-South, early WCW and you also got to enjoy the Attitude era. The New Generation era in 1995 and 1996 was kind of a limbo period for me.
Skip ahead to now, the PG/John Cena era which is targeted to the little kids probably til age 15. My point is that it seems that wrestling/WWE skipped a generation and people today who are in their early 20's and late teens never got an era for themselves. They weren't born during the Hogan era, were too young to watch the Attitude era and now they are getting the PG era shoved down their throats. From late 2001 to 2007, WWE kind of was in limbo in figuring out what they wanted their product to be. We had the InVasion, Ruthless Aggression, Brand Extentions, but no era was defined. Eventually they decided they wanted to target the younger kids, so they went PG and everyone who is in their early 20's kind of missed out.
I guess my question to you and your readers(especially those in their late teens and early 20's) is do you feel almost cheated that you didn't get an 'era' to call your own? Does that in turn make you hate today's PG product even more and want to boo the top star? Most people boo Cena because they want him to be the edgy Cena that he was in 2003-2004(an Attitude era character). I don't mind Cena, I figure since I had Hogan/Warrior and then Rock/Austin to cheer, I let today's younger kids enjoy their 'Hulk Hogan' so I just cheer him too. I also think wrestling is a cycle and their will be another 'Attitude type era' that will be targeted towards these same young kids. It will start when these kids grow up and get tired of Cena(like I did with Hogan) Then WWE will turn Cena and it should be as big as Hogan's turn in 1996. But that's a discussion for another day.
Wrestling is not necessarily cyclical, and trying to reproduce past “eras” of the past in hoping for the same returns is the same kind of thinking that led to Vince Russo’s WCW tenure.
That being said, I wouldn’t generally say I’m booing or cheering Cena, I’m more just indifferent to his act and waiting for something else to come along on top. For instance, I’d call myself an active fan of Ziggler, Ryder and CM Punk at the moment, and I would go to a live show and happily boo Mark Henry, but Cena just doesn’t inspire much reaction in me one way or the other.