John Cena is one of the most popular faces in the history of professional wrestling and he’s not finished building his name’s real estate value. But for some reason fans (who probably chant “John Cena sucks”) still want him to turn heel.
Former WWE writer Kevin Eck spoke to the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast and revealed why John Cena never went full-heel in WWE. Although it never happened a John Cena heel turn did come very close to becoming a reality.
“Vince had agreed to do it, but then he changed his mind and said that we can’t do it,” Eck said. “This was back around the time when McMahon was really looking at Sheamus to get his push. The question was if we turn John Cena heel then who is he going to work with, who will be the top babyface?”
He also explained, “that was the feeling back then, then we came up with some scenarios, and believe it or not, Cena was on board with it, but right around that time there was a big clothing line for John Cena at K-Mart, and Vince McMahon was like, ‘oh Jesus Christ, he has a deal with K-Mart, and now we’re going to turn him heel?’ So, KMart is to blame for Cena not turning heel,” Eck said. “During a meeting once Vince had a huge smile on his face, and he tells everyone that I know you’ve wanted John Cena as a heel for a long time, but we just can’t turn him heel and that was the end of that.”
Eck went on to discuss the difficult position babyfaces are in this day and age in pro wrestling. Especially a guy like Roman Reigns.
“In 2017, it’s a tough time to be a babyface. It’s not the Hulkamania era where you go out and talk about saying your prayers and taking your vitamins and get cheered. It’s really tough. Anybody will always tell you that it’s always easier to play a heel than a babyface, and in logic it’s much easier to have people hate you than to like you. Roman Reigns is in a tough spot; he is not a white-meat babyface.”
“In The Shield he was always the tough guy/Enforcer, so what got him over was being a man of few words, a man of action, and having that cool persona. When WWE tried to make him pander and entertaining. We always go back to the Sufferin’ Succotash promo; that’s not who he is, that is never going to work in 2017 as a babyface, so Roman is in a tough spot. He has to go out there as a somewhat silent badass and no-sell when Cena cuts a promo on him, because if he panders I think they would kill him more.”
Thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription