In the latest WWE news, pro wrestler John Cena has been discussing a plethora of topics related to his career, and amongst them is why he dropped the “Dr. of Thuganomics” heel character he used to play. The character involved Cena as a hip-hop gimmick of sorts, where he wouldn’t just dismantle opponents in the ring — he’d also dismantle his opponents by throwing a rap freestyle verse promo at them over the microphone. Among his victims were Kurt Angle, The Undertaker, and, more recently, The Rock. So what made Cena decide to get rid of that particular character and go another way?
According to Wrestling Inc. in their recent report, Cena talked about dropping the heel character. He said he realized that particular character played well into the hip-hop culture and youth identifying with it. However, as Cena notes, he becomes “less youthful by the day.” That’s part of why he dropped the gimmick. The other relates to WWE’s current programming format.
Cena discussed why the character would not work as well over the years.
“I knew that the platform really wouldn’t be indicative of success. I knew [the PG format] would just drastically change the style and almost cripple the character so I was the one proactively who said ‘no’ and said ‘I would like to take everything another way.'”
When Cena first debuted it wasn’t under the rapper gimmick. He showed up on WWE’s SmackDown show to challenge Kurt Angle to a match, which he lost. However, he gained in popularity with fans and went on to win over several superstars, including Chris Jericho, the late Test, Chavo Guerrero, and D-Von Dudley. He would go on to team up with Billy Kidman in a tag team tournament, and then he eventually turned heel against him.
From there, Cena dressed up as rap star Vanilla Ice for a Halloween-theme episode of SmackDown and dropped a freestyle rap. That was the start of the “Dr. of Thuganomics,” which ultimately brought a theme song rapped by Cena exclusively. He would go on to release a full album called You Can’t See Me, which included the help of his cousin Tha Trademarc. That was Cena’s only studio album, and he hasn’t mentioned any plans to release another hip-hop album since then, even though it’s a question he gets asked quite a bit. In October of 2014, Wiz Khalifa featured Cena on two songs for the WWE 2K15 soundtrack, though.
So basically, Cena decided to transition into the more heroic good guy, who became a poster child for the WWE. For years, various fans have wanted to see John Cena embrace a heel role again. However, Cena has yet to do that, mostly based on the fact he is so popular with many children and their parents as a good role model. Still, there are those who argue John Cena moving to the bad guy role could help jumpstart him with another bunch of vocal fans out there.
Cena has shown some passion in his latest promo work, which included him responding to Dean Ambrose’s comments about him. However, it will probably take a lot more in order to gain Cena more support from a certain part of the fanbase. Still, it seems a return to his previous gimmicks is a thing of the past only reserved for special occasions when John Cena and the WWE want to reminisce.
WWE fans, do you think a John Cena heel turn would benefit him or the WWE? Do you think he should bring back the “Dr. of Thuganomics” character or some variation of it?
[Featured Image by WWE]