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#41 tim

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 07:20 PM

I see the sense in that idea.  You have a guy like Cena who you know has a bunch of matches people rate very highly, but also a lot of stuff that a lot of people are very critical of.  More than almost any other guy, I can see thinking you can't make a competent judgment on Cena just by seeing his best matches.  Hypothetically it wouldn't be a problem for me personally because to me someone's best stuff adds positively to them way more than their worst stuff detracts from them.



#42 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 07:35 PM

It's not a troll. I haven't watched WWE TV weekly since 2001. It's possible that I've seen less than a dozen John Cena matches.

#43 Dylan Waco

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 07:39 PM

Just curious - would you say people who have only seen pimped Satanico matches should abstain from voting for him?

#44 WingedEagle

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 08:53 PM

I love that this thread is inching towards a Raw audience reaction to Cena.



#45 BigBadMick

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 01:54 AM

 

The thing about Cena is that to a large extent, he's a system quarterback. He works within the confines of the WWE formula, which is virtually idiot-proof. I complain all the time about how it handcuffs guys, but it also makes it so that pretty much any decently talented wrestler can consistently have good matches and even oxygen thieves like Miz are usually watchable. I'm not saying that he's entirely the product of a formula or road agents laying things out for him, but I do think he benefits to a degree from resume inflation.

 

This is a great post. 

 

You know that phrase you sometimes hear, "He's so overrated, he's underrated"?

 

Cena is the opposite. He's so underrated by people who hate him, that he ends up getting too much praise from people who like him, and now he's overrated.

 

I am by no means a Cena hater. He's a nice little WWE style wrestler with a nice resume of really good matches, and few really great ones. What I find odd about this thread & the general love for Cena around here, is that Cena is bad at things that many who praise him on this site value strongly (bad punches & strikes, awful looking low impact offense), and does things that routinely get ripped when it comes to other wrestlers (finisher spamming, endless finisher kickouts, video game closing stretches, etc). It seems Cena gets a pass for this stuff from some people. 

 

I like Cena. I usually like his matches, but he's also a guy who has a file folder full of absolute shit, the likes of which true all time greats do not. He's a guy who has great matches with high level workers and when he has great chemistry with somebody (CM Punk instantly comes to mind, as does Bryan), but he's also a guy who has trouble carrying bad opponents (the awful Bray Wyatt matches until the gimmick match with the shortcuts...I think LMS at Payback, which was great). He has mediocre matches against mediocre opponents (The Rock, Randy Orton, Big Show). Cena is basically the poster child for working to the level of your opponent. 

 

If this were any other site on the internet, i'd be defending him because he'd likely be unfairly ripped by just about everybody. Here he gets the respect he deserves as a worker, but I think we need to pump the brakes a bit and be fair about the flaws. 

 

He didn't make my Top 100 five years ago. He'd probably make it now, somewhere in the 80-100 range. The weird thing, is he'd probably be the only guy on my list with tons of matches I don't like very much. But the high end stuff can not be ignored, and with the amount of televised stuff he has (maybe more than anybody), he's bound to have some stinkers.

 

Agree 100% Joe.

 

I also find myself moderating my response to Cena based on how much love/hate he inspires on different sites.



#46 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 02:55 AM

Just curious - would you say people who have only seen pimped Satanico matches should abstain from voting for him?


I already expect there will be people who won't vote for Satanico, and I can think of at least three big lucha fans who don't rate him as highly as I do, so it's not something that would upset me. My picks never do well in this sort of thing.

If I were to make my list tomorrow and include Cena, where would I put him? How could I rank him against Satanico who I've seen wrestle in just about every match situation? I'm trying to look at the pros and cons of every worker I vote for and weight those things accordingly, but I don't think I can do that fairly with Cena and a token vote is a waste of space.

Having said that, if he's such a lock then maybe I should watch more of him. I don't really see how I can catch up in time though unless I start exclusively watching John Cena matches. I only watch a dozen or so wrestling matches a week so it's a bit of a quandry. I haven't even got properly started on Rey yet.

#47 W2BTD

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 03:31 AM

 

Just curious - would you say people who have only seen pimped Satanico matches should abstain from voting for him?


I already expect there will be people who won't vote for Satanico, and I can think of at least three big lucha fans who don't rate him as highly as I do, so it's not something that would upset me. My picks never do well in this sort of thing.

If I were to make my list tomorrow and include Cena, where would I put him? How could I rank him against Satanico who I've seen wrestle in just about every match situation? I'm trying to look at the pros and cons of every worker I vote for and weight those things accordingly, but I don't think I can do that fairly with Cena and a token vote is a waste of space.

Having said that, if he's such a lock then maybe I should watch more of him. I don't really see how I can catch up in time though unless I start exclusively watching John Cena matches. I only watch a dozen or so wrestling matches a week so it's a bit of a quandry. I haven't even got properly started on Rey yet.

 

 

You can watch five random Cena matches and see something great, something terrible, and all points in between. He's really all over the place, but oddly with that said, he's also a guy where you can get a feel for him by watching very little footage. He sticks to the formula and stays in his lane. He's been doing the same routine for 10 years.



#48 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 04:00 AM

I'll be assessing Cena and giving him the full microscope treatment in time. I'll admit though that he's not really a guy I *want* to rank highly. I've also seen performances of his I really dislike such as vs. The Rock, which was a terrible match. And I thought the Wyatt match sucked ass too.

He has an uphill battle: he represents a style I dislike, I'm predisposed to dislike him and his stupid fucking spinner belt, and he has worked in an era and promotion of which I am not fond. This triple barrier puts him at severe disadvantage in the Parv rankings. And despite all that I suspect he'll still find a place on the list through volume alone.

"greatest big match worker in US history" sounds like bollocks though. Better than all the NWA champions? Better than Savage? I'm strongly disinclined to believe that.

#49 Jimmy Redman

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 04:11 AM

It never occured to me that there were people starting from scratch with Cena. This is so exciting!

I appreciate the idea of wanting to see a guy in different situations. To that end I'm going to try and come up with a primer that covers as many of those bases as I can.

In other words, thank you for giving me an excuse to make another list.

#50 Exposer

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 07:03 AM

I'll be assessing Cena and giving him the full microscope treatment in time. I'll admit though that he's not really a guy I *want* to rank highly. I've also seen performances of his I really dislike such as vs. The Rock, which was a terrible match. And I thought the Wyatt match sucked ass too.

He has an uphill battle: he represents a style I dislike, I'm predisposed to dislike him and his stupid fucking spinner belt, and he has worked in an era and promotion of which I am not fond. This triple barrier puts him at severe disadvantage in the Parv rankings. And despite all that I suspect he'll still find a place on the list through volume alone.

"greatest big match worker in US history" sounds like bollocks though. Better than all the NWA champions? Better than Savage? I'm strongly disinclined to believe that.

Well, it depends on one's definition of a "big match." For example, John Cena has been WWE champion a ridiculous amount of times and with that he's defended the title a ridiculous amount of times. I wouldn't call all of those matches "big." The same goes for Ric Flair, who's his biggest challenger for that moniker in my opinion. Yeah, he traveled all over the place, so each match may have been different, but personally I wouldn't call them all "big." I watched Flair-Wahoo Battle of the Belts yesterday and I didn't get the vibe of "big" match at all. It was just a regular touring NWA champ title bout. I did like the match though. I like Randy Savage, but he's also a victim of wrestling Hulk Hogan twenty times on the house show circuit and only one of the Hogan matches ever felt "big" that being the Mania match. To be fair, I think the Warrior match at Mania VII might be the greatest match in company history. It's certainly the best "sports entertainment" match I've ever seen. Even with that, I'm not sure Savage has as many "big" matches as Cena. He's got the Hogan match, Dibiase match (sort of arguable because there's a whole tournament before it), Steamboat match, Warrior match, Flair match, and maybe one of the DDP matches from 97. I like all of those matches, but I would only call the Warrior and Steamboat matches truly great.

 

If we want to make a Flair comparison, there's all of those touring matches against Taylor, Reed, Wahoo, Barry, Jumbo, Jake, etc., from 85. I've admittedly seen only a few of them. If I get to them, which I plan too eventually, I can see which ones feel "big" to me. In other periods of his career we have Harley at Starrcade, the Dusty series, the Garvin series, the Morton series, the Barry series, the War Games matches, the Steamboat series in 89, the Funk series in 89, the Luger series, the Sting series, maybe one of those Tenryu matches, the Savage Mania match, Vader at Starrcade, Hogan series, Starrcade 95, 6 man at Bash 97, and the Michaels match from WWE. Now that's a pretty big list of matches I'd call "big." How many of those do I actually like? A fair number of them, but not all of them. Again, I think he's the other guy in the conversation. However, he has so many title matches, even though from a different time period, that there's many I can eliminate pretty easily from being "big" matches.

 

When we look at Cena, there's the Punk series, the Brock series, the Michaels series, the Edge series, the Umaga series, the Khali series, the Big Show series, the Bray series, the Jericho series, the Del Rio series, the Sheamus series, the JBL series, the RVD match at One Night Stand, the Rock series, the Bryan match at Summerslam, the Orton series, the HHH match at Mania, the Angle series, the Barrett series, the Rey match from Raw, the Miz series, the Lashley match from Bash 07, and the Ziggler series. How many of those do I actually like? Less than those of Flair's, but I also think Flair is a number 1 contender and Cena isn't. How many of those would I call "big" matches? Probably less than the amount Flair has as well. Yet, here's the catch. I probably enjoy Cena's best performances and aura in his "big" matches more than Flair. I think he has this undefinable ability to make a match seem "big" in the built up and during it. Flair had it too, but sometimes the guy across the ring from him did too like Savage, Sting, Vader, Funk, Tenryu, Dusty, etc. Cena got "big" matches out of Khali, RVD, and Jericho. That's more impressive to me. Cena made a lot of his "big" matches "big" on his own. Flair didn't always do that. Is Ric Flair a better wrestler than John Cena? Yes. Does Ric Flair have more "big" matches than John Cena? Yes. Does Ric Flair have better "big" matches than John Cena's? Some of better, some I don't think are. Flair likely has the edge here in the end. Is Ric Flair individually a better "big" match worker than John Cena? Right now, I don't think so. I believe it's close. When this project is over, maybe my opinion will change. It tends to do that if you read my post on opinions changing in wrestling. Currently though, I believe John Cena has the edge here. I believe he has the edge on Savage as well, because Savage doesn't have the volume of "big" matches as he does. Although, I'd say Savage is a top five US "big" match worker even from the small samples he has.

 

There's also the age thing. I hate bringing this up, but I feel like it's a factor in our differences here Parv. I grew up watching John Cena. If you want to question his popularity and his matches being "big" I can offer some defense for that as well. In middle school and high school when Cena was on the rise and eventually took the throne there were a lot of kids and teenagers into wrestling because of him. The hype for the HHH Mania match was huge. People talked about it all the time. The hype for the Khali matches were huge. The Punk hype was huge. I ran into several people who were hyped up for the Brock stuff this year. He's a "big" match type wrestler and has been for several years. I also believe he's one of the best ever at working that style.

 

I will admit I haven't seen all that I can see from a "big match" standpoint. I have a good deal of NWA 70s and 80s to watch.



#51 W2BTD

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 08:04 AM

Cena has had way too many of forgettable WrestleMania matches, and a few flat out bad ones, to be consider the greatest big match worker in U.S. history. Does he have a top ten Mania match? I don't think he does. Top twenty. Maybe the HBK match? I couldn't even remember all of them, I had to look it up. A coupe of forgettable three ways, and some bad/mediocre stuff like Wyatt, Rock II, JBL, Miz.



#52 soup23

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 08:16 AM

Cena's Mania placement has been utterly bizarre at times and I love the guy.

 

2005: vs. JBL - Disappointing match and moment

2006: vs. HHH - This was an important match and a very good one

2007: vs. HBK - Great match in the mix of my favorite Cena run

2008: vs. Orton & HHH - I think this gets devalued slightly as in 2008, it was still rare for these three guys to be in the same ring at the same time. Orton vs. Cena feels entirely played out now but they only had their first signature title match at SummerSlam 2007. Still, this is clearly behind Flair vs. HBk for importance on this show and probably Edge vs. Taker as well.

2009: Vs. Big Show & Edge - Really disappointing throw away match here as there was complete potential to something special with Cena around this time either having one blow off match singles vs. Edge, a "dream" match vs. Jeff Hardy or building up someone new like Punk.

2010: vs. Batista - Nice match and #2 for the top ahead of Jericho vs. Edge IMO

2011: vs. Miz - Really bad performance from Cena, maybe his worst in a big match.

2012: vs. Rock - Huge drawing match and a good one

2013: vs. Rock - Huge drawing match and a bad one

2014: vs. Wyatt - This is where Cena takes a role working on the undercard as none of the main players in the promotion fit him. I enjoyed the match which I know you didn't Joe so I wouldn't count this one against Cena.

 

Typing all of that out, it is really not as bad as I thought going in as Cena was in the top match 4 out of 10 years and I would say in the top three nine out of ten with the exception being last years Mania (main event, Brock vs. Lesnar and HHH vs. Bryan all bigger). I think the biggest thing is that Cena doesn't have that ONE classic match from Mania on his resume, but even the match quality isn't terrible here as I would rank six out of these ten matches at *** or above. The best match is probably vs. HBK and that is hindered by them having the England match a few weeks later that was better.

 

Fantasy booking note but I still feel their was some big missed opportunities where Cena could have faced Batista for the first time at WM 26, faced Hardy at Wm 25, and faced Taker at WM 29. All of these options were available with minimal changes and I think it would have resulted in better results overall for Cena.



#53 El-P

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 09:06 AM

I am by no means a Cena hater. He's a nice little WWE style wrestler with a nice resume of really good matches, and few really great ones. What I find odd about this thread & the general love for Cena around here, is that Cena is bad at things that many who praise him on this site value strongly (bad punches & strikes, awful looking low impact offense), and does things that routinely get ripped when it comes to other wrestlers (finisher spamming, endless finisher kickouts, video game closing stretches, etc). It seems Cena gets a pass for this stuff from some people. 

 

Bingo. 

 

I've seen too many supposedly "great" Cena match that were in the range of "good-very good" and way too many ones that were self-conscious über-rehearsed WWE Epics​™ that were actively annoying so I just can't take him seriously as a great worker at all. He's been the perfect big match worker for modern WWE style, and that's coming from someone who hates the modern big match WWE style. He's been an absolutely unbearable character for his entire career and the one thing I really enjoyed about him was his way to troll his haters. All in all, year, pretty good worker with his ups and downs, capable to have some quite excellent match and also quite horrible ones. He's really not someone I would want to revisit for this poll.



#54 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 09:24 AM

Well, it depends on one's definition of a "big match."


I do get your point. And we're dealing with different eras -- i.e. Cena in one where there's a monthly PPV and the NWA guys in an era with a travelling champ, sometimes going to rinky-dink local venues.

But, like you say, it depends on how you define "big match". Since you had the bigger towns that ran a monthly "big show" loop like MSG in New York, Spectrum in Philly, Omni in Atlanta, Greensboro in the Carolinas, Kiel in St. Louis, Houston, etc. etc. you COULD argue that every 10,000+ gate Omni show or every 20,000+ MSG card is sort of like your equivalent of a modern-day non-big-four PPV.

If you do argue that, then all your Savage MSG and Spectrum shows plus SNME etc. "count". And all of your Flair defenses at the big arena shows do.

If you don't, then guys from the 70s and 80s can't really compete with Cena because of the number of PPVs.

But regardless of any of that, I think "big match worker" is a cop-out BS phrase that is short-hand for "modern WWE main-event style". I'm not picking on you here, I'm talking to everyone. "Big match worker", WTF is that? You're almost certainly not talking about Harley Race wrestling 60-minute broadways, you're talking about endless false-finish matches at Wrestlemania, invented by Vince for the WWF/E audience. So the first "big match" in wrestling history is something like Hogan vs. Warrior, other "big matches" include all the HBK crap from the 00s that WWE fans love so much, and anything else that makes the typical WWE history highlight reel. Tell me I'm wrong and why.

I don't have a particular axe to grind here, I just want to know what people mean by "big match worker". If it's what I said, then how much is it an achievement for Cena to be the best one? What's it really saying about him?

I say this as someone not particularly looking forward to spending 20+ hours of my time watching his matches for this project. Every guy is going to have to justify time at this point. Why should Cena have my time?

#55 W2BTD

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 09:31 AM

I think a "big match" in modern WWE would be an important main event on an important show. Maybe the rare semi main event too on a loaded show. Certainly any Mania man event. Summer Slam. 

 

I don't think every PPV main event in this era would qualify as a "big match", because they clearly run some non important big picture stuff out there on your common B-shows.



#56 tim

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 09:38 AM

I think when people talk about Cena as a great big match worker they're talking about a STYLE of match rather than the match's importance in terms of booking, year presentation, etc.  They mean a long WWE style main event.



#57 Yo-Yo's Roomie

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 10:16 AM

Surely a big match is just a match where the stakes feel high, whether that be manufactured by the booking, or by the skill of the wrestlers involved. I don't think it has to be a match held in front of a large crowd, though it's probably more likely to get that 'big match feel' with a big crowd.



#58 Exposer

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 10:57 AM

I think when people talk about Cena as a great big match worker they're talking about a STYLE of match rather than the match's importance in terms of booking, year presentation, etc.  They mean a long WWE style main event.

I suppose this is what I mean when referencing Cena as a "big match" worker, but I don't believe every one of his "big" matches falls into the WWE main event style. I probably should have prefaced this earlier, but the context of a match is what really makes it "big" for me. The build to it. Cena-Umaga and Cena-Khali aren't worked in the traditional WWE main event style. The first is an LMS match, the other has Khali in it who can't work a match with ten near falls. Both had excellent builds making them "big" matches and title defenses in my opinion. Another example of a Cena "big" match not being worked in the WWE Main Event style is the Lesnar match from 2012. That's far from it. Really, both the Lesnar matches from this year are too. The Punk matches are worked that way, but I think they're probably the greatest matches worked in the modern style. Ultimately, it's the context of a match that makes it "big" for me.

 

Also, I hate Cena-Rock II, the Miz feud, half of the Orton matches, and most of the Nexus feud so I'm not without my criticisms of the WWE main event style or Cena.



#59 Loss

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 11:10 AM

This may sound ridiculous on the surface, but setting aside the stylistic differences, I think a side-by-side comparison of John Cena and Atsushi Onita as big match workers would be very interesting.



#60 Matt D

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 12:26 PM

"Big match feel" is probably the single least important metric in wrestling to me. I do think that sometimes Cena is a wrestler who believes that the best creative choices to make for the moment and the crowd aren't necessarily the ones that'd lead to the best match.






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