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Another "What If"

What if...

John Cena doesn't cut a free style rap during the 2003 Smackdown Halloween party? Does Cena take a different path to the same destination? Does someone else eventually become the "face" of the company? Or is the name "WWE" enough to carry business?

Go!

Well, Cena was on the verge of getting cut by that point, mind-blowing as it sounds now, and I think that like many others he simply would have found something else to do with his life.  Cena's been on top for eleventy million years now, but it's not like he led a giant explosion in popularity for the company or anything, he's just a really reliable draw on top.  So if I was to guess, I'd say Randy Orton or Batista could have been slotted into his position and done most of what he did on top for all those years.  Would it have hurt them in the long run?  Yes, no doubt.  Would they have survived without him pumping out crappy t-shirts and ugly belts?  Undoubtedly.  

More important question:  What the fuck would the WWE title have looked like for the past 8 years without Cena?  

Comments

  1. It wasn't the rapping that people liked. As a heel, he's tremendous.

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  2. Wasn't Cena a bronzed bodybuilder at one point?

    So, if not for professional wrestling... gay porn.

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  3. Part of me wants to believe that every crappy gimmick over the last ten years has been the result of a wrestler wearing an odd costume to a Halloween party and Vince/Steph taking note of it. Like, one year Paul Burchill went as a pirate, or Johnny Curtis and his date went as ballroom dancers.

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  4. Andrew BarbarashMay 30, 2013 at 2:14 AM

    I'm not sure where WWE would be without Cena post Benoit... they needed to completely overhaul their reputation/image and honestly Cena was the perfect guy to fit the bill for the PG era, I'm not sure who would of filled that gap otherwise? Also I don't think Orton or Batista would of ever been the draws Cena has been, don't underestimate his 'Hogan' like persona/charisma.


    As for the WWE title, I suspect we'd still have the undisputed title design for at least another 5 years before an updated/similar version was introduced.

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  5. AmericanWolves02May 30, 2013 at 2:38 AM

    2002.


    I'd wager that had Cena not exploded the WWE title would still be the one JBL had and we'd all be better for having that title around still!

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  6. AmericanWolves02May 30, 2013 at 2:39 AM

    They weren't complex rhymes but I always thought they were pretty funny. That reminds me of one thing they don't do often enough and that is have guys cut on a promo on the way to the ring before their match. Kurt Angle and John Cena used to do that all the time. Sandow does it now but that's about it.

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  7. AmericanWolves02May 30, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    So Daniel Bryan went as a goat? And Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose all coordinated and went as Agents of SHIELD?

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  8. What's sad about the Vanilla Ice comparisons is that "Cool As Ice", as horrible as it was, is still a much better movie than all of John Cena's films combined, especially the Rifftrax version [and as a sidenote, somebody really needs to send the Rifftrax crew a copy of "The Marine" so they can finally give that movie the treatment it deserves].

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  9. Remember when John Cena said that in order to continue his charity work, he'd have to remain face?

    Well how come he played a marine (in The Marine. Five stars, btw) but didn't start shooting defenseless brown people?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8MO7fkZc5o

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  10. Baby, you're runnin' down a dream...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJPZXOHxy7w

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  11. I don't know about this idea of Cena having an inate Hogan/Rock level of charisma.

    I saw him at Rebellion 2002 when he was still a jonny-boots-&-tights and he sucked the life out of the arena. He had zero connection to the crowd and I remember thinking he was never going to amount to much. Guy just looked lost.


    I think if the Halloween rapper thing hadn't happened for him he could have been as remembered as the likes of Johnny Stamboli or Rene Dupree.


    Which isn't to take away from what he achieved once being given the ball to run with, but I don't think it was always in his destiny

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  12. Cena was such a raw physical specimen at the point I can't imagine them just cutting him and never bringing him back. They would have found something for him and Paul Heyman was on Smackdown's creative back then as well.

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  13. There are a TON of guys with great bodies out there that never got any kind of a push- most of them got cut within a year when they didn't show any potential/creative couldn't "come up with an angle for them". Cena could have EASILY been one of them.
    Shit, look at Cena's partner, "B-squared" Bull Buchanan- they tried three separate things for him (Bossman protégé when he was a rookie, RTC goon, Cena partner), and he was a big, buff dude, too. But in the end, he didn't show anything, so they dumped him.

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  14. When you downvote me, all you're showing me is your

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQgNrq2eNzk

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  15. The whole 'Cena was going to be released but caught lightning in a bottle' seems silly and contrived to me. I don't believe it.

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  16. I thought I was the only one that didn't like rapping Cena! I disagree, and do think it's leaps and bounds better than what he's doing now, but his stuff was never as great as people make it seem.

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  17. I HATED that they started calling him "B-two" instead of "B-squared." Argh! Also, huge markout moment when he showed up on Raw a couple years back. That was hilarious.

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  18. Yeah, I tend to agree with this. They also booked him to give Angle all that he could handle in his debut which many people still remember. I don't think he was going anywhere permanently.

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  19. Let's back up a second: Who signed off on him showing up at the Halloween party as Vanilla Ice? Do the wrestlers really get to choose their own costumes and do whatever the hell they want during those backstage skits? Seems VERY unlikely. Assuming many management did play a role in the Vanilla Ice stuff, then it's hard for any of us to say definitively that they weren't planning to push him all along.

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  20. Tell that to B-Squared

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  21. Supposedly the talent dresses up as what they want to. AJ tells a story about how before she was getting a big push she dressed up as Kitana from Mortal Kombat (actually a pretty well designed costume) but none of the writers knew who she was.

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  22. Alexis CaraballoMay 30, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    They tried four: the Truth Commission stable when he debuted.

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  23. Nah they were booked as (elaborately dressed) security

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  24. Yeah, I remember pre-marky mark Cena. Basic outfit, being compared to a young Sting; hell, I remember him doing the Stinger Splash in some match, don't remember which one.


    That also reminds me I need to bust out my "OVW - Before They Were Stars" DVD sometime. Cena was The Prototype, disciple of Rico The Role Model Constantino. He was pretty funny in that role.

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  25. It would have been hard for anyone else in the company to have the same momentum Cena had at first. Even though Batista beat HHH clean in their Evolution blowoff match, Cena was the one that really pushed HHH down the card. He had become the new hot act in the company by 05-06 and even HHH was smart enough not to put his body in front of that train.

    It's doubtful that anyone new would have been on top but other guys in high card position would have been pushed earlier or longer. Batista and Orton would have been on top for longer and HHH probably stays at the top of the card another year, if not even longer (below). Hardy and Punk probably get pushed a little sooner simply because they would have fewer main event spots open. Jericho probably gets a more serious attempt to be a true main event guy. Same with Edge.

    The big winner probably would have been HHH and I say this for only one reason. After Benoit they needed to find a squeaky clean, completely drug free charming guy to be the face of their company. Orton? Batista? Punk? Hardy? Mysterio? Undertaker? If you're Vince none of those guys fit the bill. Really Cena was a godsend for them, a guy who really is good as advertised whose biggest misstep was (allegedly) stepping out on his wife with divas (and fat women). Without that guy there is no second best choice. HHH is probably the 2nd cleanest/most media friendly guy they had in that 07 period which is truly a scary thought.

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  26. I'm kinda questioning this theory, but my theories suck (Superfriends Aquaman COULD beat Batman, given the right conditions), so whatever.


    I think he would've found a spot, but I don't really think it was his rapping that saved him. Watch the skits he did where he ran down Undertaker before their match in Chicago, or when Angle made fun of him with the midget - Cena showed an incredible amount of intensity during that time.


    As far as who would've gotten the ball and kept running with it? I think we would've gotten more of HHH/HBK, some combo of Botchtista/Orton, and maybe a longer leash with RVD?

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  27. The story goes that he did the rap on the coach during a UK tour and the boys all loved it.


    Either Hunter or Steph heard it and thought it was great so they put it on smackdown and the rest is history.

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  28. Maybe another wrestler would have shown his personality and then been allowed to mold his character after said personality, perhaps connecting with the audience in an organic, genuine wait what am I talking about? More pandering, stiff Mexican wrestlers, fake bigots and yodeling!

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  29. cabspaintedyellowMay 30, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    I don't know if Orton or Batista neccessarily could have done what Cena did, if only because, for a stretch of a few years between 2005-2009, Orton was practically Mr. Glass when he wasn't busy getting suspended for shit, and Batista was already up there in years. Cena didn't get hurt as often, he provided a squeaky clean public image, and if he did get hurt, he was so steadfastly committed to working that he'd rush back in virtually no time at all.


    There's no way they could have built a company around Orton or Batista, at least not to a Cena level, since I don't know that they have Cena's obsessive dedication to the business or his borderline unhealthy work ethic. I just can't see Orton or Batista granting 300+ wishes.

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  30. Worst_in_the_WorldMay 30, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Totally with you on this Dougie. This has always sounded like just some WWE-approved bullshit mythology to me. The dude looked like Vince's wet dream of a wrestler, had all the dedication and drive and squeaky-clean intangibles that they want, and had already wrestled some good matches on TV. There's no f'n way he was already on the chopping block, especially considering all the stiffs they keep around for years on end. This absolutely has to be a "this will make a great story on the John Cena DVD!" type of thing.

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  31. I guess John Cena's a liar.

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  32. A professional wrestler? Lying? Oh my stars and garters!

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  33. I'm not so sure about this. I remember being on the smartmarks.com board (whatever happened to that anyway?) and even the jaded WWE viewers really liked him when he had that match with Angle. Many said that he reminded them of Sting.

    Having said that, I think John Cena is proof positive that star making is a long process of trial and error, and that most of the wrestlers on the current roster could shine if given the proper amount of work.

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  34. I knew you'd say that and I'm glad you did. Just remember this example when you argue with someone over whatever point and you use the wrestler's own words. Can't have it both ways...

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  35. When have I done that? And I'm not even saying that John is definitely lying. Maybe they lied to him.

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  36. Worst_in_the_WorldMay 30, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    My guess is that if there's no Cena, then we probably get HHH turning face sometime right after the Batista feud, and them running with HHH as a main event face for awhile.

    Anyway, even as a guy who absolutely hates Cena's act right now and thinks his current babyface run is doing them more harm then good, I agree with everyone who says they could have been screwed in the mid 2000s without Cena. Not "oh the company would have collapsed!", obviously, but I definitely think Cena drove business at the time in a way in which nobody else on the roster (Edge, Batista, Orton) could have. I mean, face Edge had never really clicked with fans, Orton is just plain and simple an awful face (and a bit of a corporate nightmare, at least at that time), and Batista was just too old and injury prone to reach Cena's heights.

    I mean, as far as Batista goes— after the amazing HHH storyline and feud, what the hell else happened in that title reign? Did he have ANY memorable feuds or matches that year? Now granted, with Cena out of teh picture, Batista probably would have gotten the "A+" opponents like Angle, Jericho, Edge etc, so things would have been different.

    So yeah, as much as I can't stand him now, SuperCena was a godsend for them at the time. Hell, one mistake I always thought they made was how much they cooled him off after the big Rumble return in 2008. I totally think Cena should have won the belt from Orton at Mania 24 and run with it for another year. It was weird they had him jobbing so much (Orton, JBL, HHH, and Batista) around that time.

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  37. Jericho confirmed it in his book on top of Cena confirming it.

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  38. Tells a story?


    I mean..she did it on television...

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  39. Yes, and I'm sure management makes a habit of pointing out to Jericho the people they're getting ready to release.

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  40. I was a rapping Cena fan. But really, I just want Cena to show an edge. He's fallen into a Hogan-esque character where his actions are right just because he's doing them.



    I find HHH and Cena so grating as characters because there's no flaw, no self-doubt, no vulnerability. Cena makes corny jokes and laughs no matter what. Not to be an armchair booker but had Cena lost to Brock he had a great narrative for Wrestlemania 29: "For the first time in my WWE career I've had doubts. From Money in the Bank 2011 to now, I've lost: I lost my title, I lost my wife, I lost my best friend [might as well make chicken salad out of the Zach Ryder story], lost the fans, Brock Lesnar kicked my ass, the Rock beat me. If I don't beat the Rock than maybe the doubts are true. I have to win that title at Wrestlemania to prove to myself and to the world that I'm the best damn wrestler in this company".

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  41. Stunt double for Marky Mark?

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  42. Yeah, that 2007 period is when they'd have missed Cena the most. But while I think Orton would have been (and is!) a disaster as a company carrier I think Batista would have been good.

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  43. Yeah I mean it's obvious that she wore it and got to wear it on TV but the interesting thing (to me) was that none of the writers or Stephanie knew what the costume was and they let it go on anyways.

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  44. I agree with half of that. Some guys just don't have it. I think you can fool fans into believing someone is important. See Orton, Randy.

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  45. I could see it either way. I could see it as myth-making bs or it could be that they gave him the rapper gimmick and if it hadn't gotten over they'd release him.

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  46. cabspaintedyellowMay 30, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    I see no reason not to believe it. Fans have certainly been more accepting of confirmed falsehoods, like Eddie being booked to win the title the week he died, or Lex Luger blabbing to some reporter in a bar before WM X.


    If the choice is between believing Chris Jericho and John Cena, two guys who were actually there at the time, or saying, "Well, I personally don't think it sounds plausible so everyone should ignore two instances of independent corroboration," the choice is pretty easy for me.

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  47. Why would management go to Jericho and tell him they were going to release Cena? He was probably told the same story after the fact.

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  48. cabspaintedyellowMay 30, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    It could simply have been a common, generally-known story that circulated around the locker room. Vince may not always talk to the boys, but plenty of the people in his inner circle do. And did. So it's not beyond the realm of possibility that his inner circle knew who was on the chopping block and, whether inadvertently or not, spread that information.

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  49. Surly Cena would have made it somehow, what with all of that RUTHLESS AGGRESSION he had inside him.

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  50. Jericho requested to work with Cena to put him over in his first PPV match, and had to practically beg Vince to let Cena win the match. According to Jericho, Vince didn't see anything special in Cena at the time.

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  51. I guess?


    The writers aren't 90s kids. And Steph doesn't really seem like a gamer to me.


    It'd be like making a Marx Brothers reference to an 11 year old. Most would not know what the fuck you're talking about.

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  52. If Cena isn't there, doesn't Batista become the #1 guy and THE MAN in the 21st century in WWE? Unless Cena is the one who gave Randy Orton the pot, in which case that's Randy Orton.

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  53. Age. Of. Orton.

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  54. I work with people who've never heard of Indiana Jones. So, yeah.

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  55. I think about this scenario all the time. Prior to the Halloween Vanilla Ice bit, Cena was just some smiling babyface who would wear generic colored trunks of one of the local sports teams in whatever city they were in. Pure pandering.
    As an aside, I remember going to a house show in June 2002 in Oakland (the infamous "Austin can take his ball and go home show" where Rock returned) and Cena wrestled as Prototype as a heel in a dark match against Shelton. The fans chanted boring because they were nobodys. Amazing.

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  56. I was going to say the same exact thing. Batista had some injury issues, plus was old. Orton had injury issues and character issues, and drug issues, and many other issues. He still is super protected and probably loses less than even Cena did. But he's still not the top guy because he's a shitty babyface and kind of a shitty person from everything I've heard. He definitely wouldn't be doing the 300+ wishes because what's stopping him now? Just the fact that Cena is the Make A Wish guy doesn't mean Orton can't be too. He chooses not to be.

    Also I just want to point out yet another guy given a totally shitty gimmick by Vince and the gang. Actually another totally shitty non gimmick. Just sent out there as a guy. Of course that fails and he's about to be sent out to pasture and he totally saves himself by creating his own gimmick. And changes the company forever in the process. Who knows how many other John Cena's and Rocks and Stone Colds are out there that never got their chance to recreate themselves.

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  57. what? Randy Orton totally has "it".

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  58. Yeah, as in the second half of shit. Orton has the look and the name. He's been pushed for a decade and wasn't over until 2008. He has no poise (see: "stupid, stupid, stupid"), is a sub-par worker who can be raised to mediocrity by superior workers and his promos are heinous.

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  59. They booked him to give Angle all that he could handle... and that was it after they had him beat Jericho. Suddenly, he's teaming with Billy Kidman, turning heel on him, and then barely showing up on television until the Halloween episode.

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  60. THREADJACK: does scott have any other pieces like the Lazarus and King Lear ones? Just read them and they're fantastic.

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  61. Oh yeah, I knew that, and totally forgot about it. They also used Mantaur for a bit in that stable. I always found that stable totally worthless overall.

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  62. The smartmarks board moved to www.therealtsm.com years back over some admin disagreements or something.

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