Who would have thought back in January that John Cena would make a strong case for both WWE’s best wrestler of the year AND one of Hollywood’s funniest actors of 2015?
Wrestling fans who consider themselves “smart marks” tend to abide by a list of rules when it comes to John Cena; never enjoy his matches (unless you know he’s losing), never laugh at his attempts at humor, and NEVER EVER buy one of his shirts. At the beginning of 2015, I would have sworn by those same rules (as a card-carrying wrestling podcast host), but just as the clean-cut hero of WWE changed his look in a major way for his role in the Tina Fey-Amy Poehler comedy “Sisters” (shown below and due out before the end of the year), he’s also transformed his image in a way that has countered years of stale stories and matches.
As the trailer above showcases, Cena has taken the ball and run with his comedic performances this year. While his performance in Trainwreck was a revelation, one could have argued that he was playing close to his macho wrestler persona. Heck, the role was based on Amy Schumer’s ex-boyfriend and frequent Cena opponent Dolph Ziggler! As the tatted-up drug dealer Pazuzu, Cena is really broadening his horizons in terms of comedy, showing more of a subdued sadistic sense of humor in comparison to the constant (but still great) sex jokes in Trainwreck. Off of the silver screen, the IT’S JOHN CENA meme has transcended wrestling and has added humor to the most unexpected material.
Then there’s his WWE tenure. While he’s still likely to get hit with bouts of LOLCENAWINS, it’s tough to argue that any other performer on the WWE roster has had a better year than the Doctor of Thuganomics. Even though he still talks too much and never quite gets 100% of his springboard stunner (as Botchamania points out), his amazing matches at Royal Rumble and SummerSlam (both of which included the incomparable Seth Rollins) are proof enough of Cena’s improved in-ring work.
On top of that, Cena regularly delivered exceptional matches on a near-WEEKLY basis thanks to his US Open Challenge that showcased great new WWE talent like Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, and Neville, while re-establishing older stars like Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder (said resurgence was very brief, in his case). He did all of this without holding the WWE’s biggest prize for a single day, laying to rest the criticism that Cena hogs the main event scene. You can bet when it comes time for Cheap Popcast to offer superlatives for the best wrestler and match of the year that John Cena’s name will come up surprisingly often.
As for the shirt… do I still keep my wrestling cred if I wear this Cena holiday sweater “ironically” during Christmas parties?