Friday, January 8, 2016

John Cena: #6 in the Wrestling Weekday Top 10 Wrestlers of 2015, presented by ESO-PRO

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Last year I took part in another top wrestling end of year list and I rated over forty talents. John Cena didn't make my list at all. For 2015, I personally rated him third. That's what a commitment to strong storylines, reinvigorating a title and just plain having great matches can do.

Let's face facts: John Cena will never be the greatest in ring performer on the face of the planet, but WWE will continue to push him everywhere they can until he retires from the sport of kings. But after ten years of perpetually being in the main event picture over and over again, Cena used the United States title to help elevate a bunch of talented performers and the belt itself. Within weeks of his victory over Rusev at Wrestlemania, he elevated a title no one really cared about to be almost as important as Seth Rollins' World title. He wrestled classic matches with Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn and Neville and his series of matches with Kevin Owens turned Owens into an instant monster star.

He also seemed to learn that taking the job isn't the end of the world. John Cena took a lot of losses in 2015, even if he did dominate in most of his US title defenses.

Unfortunately for the US title, it is now in the hands of Alberto Del Rio which immediately started its devaluation. Del Rio has barely defended the belt after winning it and seems like he's more concerned with tag team competition of late. And Cena's hiatus from the sport to end 2015 may have concluded just as the year drew to a close, but Cena has now also suffered his first major injury in wrestling, with a minimum six months off from WWE again.

But despite a large amount of the fan base still booing him no matter what he does, I suspect Cena has far more fans among smart wrestling fans than he ever did during his fifteen World title reigns. As Lauren Price summed it up: “Haters gonna hate, but his US Title run was wonderful. Solid matches that elevated new and mid-card wrestlers.”

While it seems doubtful, Cena will have as close to as good a 2016 as he did a 2015, I think what matters most is unlike so many of his title feuds, he spent 2015 making his opponents look good and making the WWE roster far stronger.

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