WWE Superstar John Cena has been known as a “babyface” or “good guy” for over a decade now. There is nothing wrong with being a face as it allows you to do a lot more for WWE, however “heels” or “bad guys” have all the fun. John Cena was a heel for a little over a year earlier in his career, however he got over so quickly that WWE felt it would be best to turn him into a good guy. Yet at one point a while back, there was a thought that he might go back to the bad lands.
Chris Hero, known as Kassius Ohno in WWE NXT, claimed recently that Cena was set to go heel back in 2011.
Hero spoke about it on the Cheap Heat Podcast recently, and said that the plan was so far in that Cena ended up putting up a $5,000 deposit on new ring gear to go toward his new heel move. WWE then killed the idea, which led to Cena taking his money back. Cena then gave the $5,000 to developmental wrestlers as a scholarship of sorts.
Hero claims that the move was set to occur after WrestleMania 27 in Atlanta, which makes sense in many ways. Hero worked with WWE from 2012-2013, which means he might have heard the story regarding this secondhand. However, Hero did have an affiliation with WWE and roster members around this time as he tried out with WWE in 2011 before being brought in.
Keep in mind, 2011 was when The Rock returned. The idea was that since WrestleMania 28 was Miami, the face going into that event was going to be The Rock. Plus he was returning after nearly a decade away from the ring. People had grown tired of the Cena shtick, and in 2011, when The Rock came in, people hoped Cena would go heel to rival him.
However, the plans never came to be. Keep in mind, Rock and Cena agreed to their match the night after WrestleMania on WWE Monday Night RAW. Rock didn’t come back to WWE until November to set up his tag match with Cena against The Miz and R-Truth at WWE Survivor Series. This was also the year of the CM Punk movement, which forced Cena to remain face while Punk was the heel.
Punk then turned face because his white hot character gave him no alternative, which only led to a continuation of his rivalry with John Cena. Alberto Del Rio was thrown into this as well, and stories kept moving along where Cena’s heel turn never occurred. Could he have turned if CM Punk didn’t get big at this time? Potentially. WWE made a lot of money in the summer of 2011 and Punk helped to aid ratings. So Cena turning wasn’t a need.
WWE attempted to force a slight heel turn with Cena before WrestleMania 28 in the set-up for the event. Sadly, it didn’t take. Fans cheered and booed him as always. Rock ended up winning and Cena was forced to fight his way back up. So the face movement continued.
Today, Cena might be able to go heel. Yet after WrestleMania 27, so much got in the way of that.
However, Cena was close to doing it. Hero claims Cena was going to wear boots and trunks as a way to be completely opposite of the character we knew for so long. The fact that WWE and Cena went so far before pulling the idea means at least there has been thought of this and it could end up happening in the future. However, a move like this would be massive. It would have to be the right time and the right story. The right performers would have to be involved as well, as a wasted turn would be terrible.
A Cena turn right now is on the same level of the Hulk Hogan turn back in WCW. It made a lot of money for WCW, and Cena could very well draw the same interest.
Right now however, the move may not be best. Cena has granted over 400 Make-A-Wishes, and he is still making a killing in merchandise for WWE. WWE would have to have someone with the potential to be on Cena’s level as a face before they would turn him. Unless they feel by working with Cena, WWE can develop a top babyface. Time will tell if WWE will make the move. However, it would be a tragedy if Cena retired before the move ever happened.
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