WWE faced embarrassment this week when Jack Swagger—the No.1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship—was arrested on DUI charges.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time WWE wrestlers have gotten the wrong sort of publicity.
It’s at a time like this when you learn to appreciate John Cena’s clean-cut, family-friend image—on and off screen.
In this respect, it’s easy to see why he’s the face of a multimillionaire corporate company. Vince McMahon can fully rely on him to carry WWE and not be a headache backstage.
His on-screen image—a funny, good-natured guy who just wants to win back the title—is also great for WWE in the PG age.
Sure, some roll their eyes at Cena’s juvenile jokes, over-the-top facial expressions and gaudy in-ring gear.They may long for an edgier main event babyface and feel Cena’s goody-two-shoes act is dragging down the entire product and making it more watered down.
This probably explains the vociferous boos Cena often receives on television and pay-per-view from many adult male fans (the kids still love him though).
Of course, these people bring up a fair point. Cena’s character is somewhat bland. He often comes off as more of a caricature than a real person.
It’s also questionable how much longer Cena has before his juvenile gimmick becomes flat-out embarrassing.
Come on, he’s 35 now. What about the future? Do fans really need to see a 40-year-old Cena march out to the ring in his jorts? Eh, probably not.
But, these issues aside, is a darker, meaner Cena really what WWE needs right now?
Arguably, Randy Orton and CM Punk have tried to fill in the role of “edgy lead babyface” in the past, but neither have had anything close to Cena’s success of moving numbers.
Hey, for all his popularity with Internet fans, Punk, in particular, was a mediocre draw as a face at best, as the dismal ratings from his title run show.
Maybe in the unruly, rebellious '90s Punk would have been a viable draw in wrestling, but times have changed. The masses want something else.
Sure, a subset of fans may want to see a different type of product, but that’s just not where WWE is going as a company. Thanks to deals with the ones like toy maker Mattel, they’re committed to the PG direction—they can’t go back now. It would simply be bad business.
And Cena, and his clean-cut image, is undoubtedly an intrinsic part of this family-friendly image.
Get used to him, folks. Cena, and his jorts, are here to stay.