Tuesday 5 April 2016
The Curse Of The Cena Duelling Chant By Shaun Nichols
I've always been a fan of the duelling chants, as fans show their encouragement and support in hoping that their preferred wrestler will prevail. To me it is a more genuine reaction than the 'This is Awesome' chant which was actually created as an ironic reaction to a mediocre TNA match and was then picked up by ROH fans to acknowledge good matches and then became widely accepted.
Even worse is the 'This is Wrestling' chant, having been a fan for over 30 years. I have managed to successfully identify the fact I am watching a wrestling match and have yet to feel the need to hear that chant to clarify the point. I don't mean to come across as rude but a lot of wrestling chants are pointless and misplaced, don't even get me started on the 'You've Fucked Up' retort which hardly is going to help things.
The duelling chant is the epitomy of being a fan, it shows your support to the wrestler or wrestlers as you will them on to hopefully a successful outcome. Usually the duelling chant features fans taking it in turns to support each wrestler, though in the case of John Cena that is not generally the case.
This blog isn't a criticism of John Cena the wrestler or how he relates to the fans. If anything it is more a damning indictment of the WWE and their failure to book their talent to the best opportunity. Cena is by far the most over wrestler in the company, his merchandise sales, his ability to draw fans to the live shows he appears on and how he positively affects TV ratings show that his position his overall justified.
The fact though that he has been the WWE's main man for the best decade means that you will always get some frustration from fans that yearn for change. Cena may not be the greatest wrestler but a lot of criticism levelled at him can't really be backed up. But no matter who you are, very few people want to see the same thing all of the time.
The 'Let's Go Cena'and 'Cena Sux' battle as been the feature of virtually every episode of Raw and PPV events for years. A combination of those fans who support John Cena and those who are fed up with having the same wrestler forced down their throats for the last 10 years. It's a natural reaction to express your anger in the company's direction, but it also tells us something else.
Part of it, is that when something takes hold it becomes the thing to do. Do fans chant 'Cena Sux' because it's the cool thing to do? It is clear that Cena is generally popular among the female audience and children. There is a large part of the company's fanbase that does not and will not relate to the happy and go lucky John Cena character.
The big issue with the Cena duelling chant is that it makes it clear that in most cases his opponent does not matter, there have been very few matches over the years when fans haven't fallen into this trap. It tends to be when fans are actually emotionally connected to his opponent, examples include his matches against The Rock at Wrestlemania, MITB against CM Punk, One Night Only against Rob Van Dam and finally the Daniel Bryan match at SummerSlam. In short they have been few and far between.
I have always subscribed to the idea that if you a fan of something or someone then you want them to be successful, football fans chant in support of their team rather than shouting for the opposition to play badly. Wrestling in general is no different, you hear the duelling chants regularly in a number of different promotions including the WWE but rarely in a John Cena match.
I don't know if it will ever get back to a point where Cena is wrestling and the fans who don't want him to win are actually showing support for his adversary rather than telling him that he sucks. I hope that we do reach that point because it will show that the WWE are on the way to creating stars that both currently and in the future can take the company forward.
But what I do know is that for the WWE it is a very bad sign that in many main events only one man seems to have been able to capture the ability to make wrestling fans respond and react to him rather that be in a supportive or a critical way. We can only hope that will change and sooner the better.