Where Are the 'You Can't Wrestle' Chants for Cena? Oh Yeah, He Just Shut You Up!

Justin LaBarFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2013

Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Photo courtesy of WWE.com

Where are the John Cena “you can't wrestle” chants?

John Cena shut the critics up with his match against CM Punk on Raw. If you don't think Cena put on a good match against Punk, you have no business being a critic, because you don't know what you're critiquing.

Don't try and say that Punk carried Cena the whole way. I've been in wrestling school and been around a lot of wrestling all of my life—it takes two to dance. You can only carry someone so far. Every match that the two have had on television in the last two years has been a good one. You don't get carried that many times without a big slip up.

The fact they had the match is what should have sparked negative chants from fans. Cena put his opportunity to battle for the title at WrestleMania on the line. The opportunity he had to beat 29 others for. I don't care how heroic of a babyface you're supposed to be; logically, that's dumb.

It gave a great main event for Raw and of course presented the potential for others to get involved if they wanted. Nobody got involved in the match, and now after having watched the match back twice, I have to say, great decision.

The story is, Cena's putting his WrestleMania title shot on the line against a guy he hasn't beat. The match had the necessary drama. It had tons of false finishes that left the crowd jumping, gasping and engaged even more than they were three seconds earlier. Both guys pulled out moves you don't normally see from them or at all. Power bomb from Cena, piledriver from Punk. The rare moves translate as desperation. It lets the crowd know that the normal repertoire just isn't good enough to get the job done.

Cena has always been able to wrestle. The formatting of WWE television just doesn't give him much need or reason to deviate from a routine on a weekly basis. Every wrestler has their routine, Cena's gets viewed under a microscope.

Bret Hart used to appear on WWE television weekly. He would work a five minute television match against an enhancement talent. Hart would do the same repetitive cycle of signature moves—Russian leg sweep followed by a pin. His opponent kicked out, and he would then do the elbow from the second rope. He pins his opponent who kicks out, and then it was time for the sharpshooter.

He did that over and over as they built to a pay-per-view match, and then we got the full half-hour match where Hart reminded us how good in the ring he was.

If Cena was the top guy in 1993, he would do the same thing. I'm not saying he would be as good as Hart in certain categories in the ring, but questions of his (Cena's) in-ring ability wouldn't be what they are. Cena works more matches in a year on television/pay-per-view than Hart ever thought about doing on television 20 years ago.

Cena works more days than anyone else in WWE. He's got to preserve himself. Cena also knows what his role is. Cena can shoulder tackle his opponents over and over, because that's what pops his fans. CM Punk does the running knee into the corner, which he follows with the running bulldog, because that's what pops his fan base and has become part of who his character is.

“Smart” fans talk about matches and use phrases like “he's a good worker” or “he can't work.” Being a “good worker” doesn't mean having a counter for every move, pulling out a move we don't normally see or displaying a unique combination sequence of moves. A good worker could possibly do all of those, but that doesn't define what makes them good.

A “good worker” is someone who knows how to get a reaction out of the crowd. They know how to get a reaction and do it at the appropriate time to take the audience on a roller coaster ride of emotion and storytelling.

Being really good as a worker and as a pure wrestler are two different things. The word “work” defends the entire presentation of the character. It's the showmanship of it, and like I said, the ability for what you're doing to take the fans on a ride.

Hulk Hogan was a good worker. Hogan's natural wrestling ability was what needed to be compensated for.

Cena has shown that if he isn't limited to quick television times and the story is there to be told, he can put on a show. Often times, Cena's out there, and the business needs to get over; the time restraints which he has don't allow for him to do much more than his “5 moves of doom.” He's accomplishing whatever goal was given by the booking team, and he's giving the people what they want.

Fans buy tickets to see Cena. Whether they want to cheer or hate him, they want to see him. When you go to a WWE event, Cena starts doing his signature moves and you hate on him―he's giving you what you want. Part of your experience and reason to buy a ticket was to be there live to take part in the “Cena sucks” chants. He's giving you the opportunity to do that. He's also giving those who really like him the chance to get excited because he's doing his signature moves that signal the end could be near for his opponent.

That's why John Cena is who he is and hasn't been turned heel. He gets such a reaction from everyone. He “works” all of you whether you like it or not.