Relive The Beast Incarnate's savage return in this slow-motion video, captured during the Jan. 16, 2017 edition of Raw.01/18/2017 - 17:00
Should Cena embrace the hate?
John Cena doesn’t hate anybody.
He doesn’t hate his opponents, he doesn’t hate his detractors, and he certainly doesn’t hate the divided response from the WWE Universe that has become something of his calling card. Cena also doesn’t hate you if you boo him. More power to you, in fact. He has dealt with the interspersed jeers his entire career. Indeed, the Cenation leader began 2012 much as he ended 2011: in the middle of a WWE ring, passionately insisting to the WWE Universe that its opinion is its own and he, a humble athlete, has no place to tell them otherwise.
If there was anything to take away from the address, it was that John Cena would do what he has always done and take the high road, all the way to WrestleMania and the WWE Championship.
Here’s the thing, though: the high road isn’t working for Cena like it used to. And if he doesn’t change up his style, there might not be a Cena for The Rock to get his hands on at WrestleMania.
You can forget championships. These days Cena’s lucky to make it through the night in one piece. The high road didn’t protect Cena from The Great One’s bone-jarring Rock Bottom at Survivor Series, the one that sent him stumbling back to the locker room while The Brahma Bull bathed in the MSG crowd’s adulation. It didn’t get WWE EVP of Talent Relations and Interim Raw GM John Laurinaitis to grant Cena a match at WWE TLC, even after he sacrificed his spot in the main event so that Zack Ryder could challenge for (and win) the United States Championship. And most importantly, it hasn’t saved him from Kane the past few weeks.
Kane is an example of what a WWE Superstar can become when he embraces the hate: terrifying, ruthless. A hair shy of grotesque, yes, but after his maulings of Cena, there’s a good chance you could add “unbeatable” to the list as well. Kane vowed last summer to exorcise his humanity, and his “resurrection” in December did just that, turning The Big Red Machine into the faceless monster of yesteryear.
His current agenda is simple: expose Cena's goodness as a lie, and convince the Cenation leader to crumble beneath the animosity of the WWE Universe members who boo him. Cena insists it’s all good, that he’ll make like the T-shirt says and simply Rise Above Hate. The truth, however, is that Kane won’t stop tormenting Cena until he does as commanded.
Oh, and by the way: Kane is winning.
Physically, Cena has been little to no match for the monster, falling time and time again to the demon’s chokeslam. Mentally, it doesn’t take a longtime viewer to see that Cena’s façade is crumbling. His stoicism failed him as Kane led the “Cena Sucks” chants to close out 2012, and he nearly jumped out of his jorts when The Big Red Monster attempted to drag Zack Ryder down to hell on Raw SuperShow this past Monday.
To top everything off, the jeers keep coming. Cena’s boobirds are fast becoming legion, growing along with Kane’s mean streak. And if there’s one thing to take away from the last few Raw SuperShows, it’s that no one is coming to help him, and without his beloved Cenation at his back, he may well be unequipped to handle such an opponent.
Imagine, though: What if Cena changed it up?
What then would we have on our hands if Cena took all his power, harnessed all the anger he says isn’t there and turned it against his detractors? What if he embraced hate and used it like Kane is using it? Would Kane crumble beneath the Attitude Adjustment? Would The Rock tap out to a shattering STF? Would Cena grab hold of a thirteenth World Championship and never let it go? It’s a scenario that begs consideration.
Even with The Rock looming large in the distance, it seems likely that Cena must go through Kane to get there. When these two meet, it’s a fair point that Cena might need a little extra something to overcome The Devil’s Favorite Demon – to carry him onward toward his showdown with The People’s Champion in Miami.
Cena, to his credit, won’t hear it. Even with the exit sign to the high road in ashes, John Cena still doesn’t hate anybody.