COMMENTARY | Ask any diehard pro wrestling fan what happened on July 7, 1996 and most will easily remember the significance of this date.
This is the night Hulk Hogan turned heel at the WCW Bash at the Beach pay-per-view. Hogan, arguably the most popular wrestler in the history of the industry, turned heel, formed the NWO, and set in motion a series of events that helped make pro wrestling in the late 1990s as popular as it's ever been. In 2014, many fans think a similar formula would help pro wrestling return to those glory days.
The elusive John Cena heel turn is certainly not a new topic. Most pro wrestling writers (myself included) have already discussed the merits and drawbacks of the WWE turning Cena heel. The problem with turning John Cena heel is that it could potentially cost the WWE as much, if not more, revenue, as it would generate. But if the WWE could turn John Cena heel, while still protecting his babyface image, that would be the best of both worlds.
Take a closer look at three ways the WWE could execute such a heel turn for John Cena.
Just hear me out on this. I realize the thought of a psychotic heel hypnotizing John Cena into misbehaving and turning his back on the WWE Universe smacks of everything that is wrong with today's brand of pro wrestling. But if you think back to all the bizarre wrestling gimmicks, characters, angles, and storylines that we've seen in the last few decades, John Cena turning heel through the use of hypnosis may not be so crazy after all.
One way to do this could be with posthypnotic suggestion. Remember how Festus would go from being a blithering idiot to a terrifying monster in the WWE when the bell would ring? A WWE wrestler with evil intentions could pull a similar stunt to get John Cena to turn heel on cue. Older fans just want to see Cena turn heel and they don't care how it happens. Meanwhile, parents can tell kids that Cena is still a great guy who's being tricked into acting like a heel.
We've already seen the WWE try something like this before with John Cena. In 2010, Cena was forced to join Nexus after losing a match against Wade Barrett that carried this stipulation. However, the WWE cut this angle short as The Nexus never recaptured the buzz they generated on the night they debuted by crashing the main event of WWE Raw. At one point, John Cena was "fired" in an angle even less believable than Big Show's scripted WWE termination.
At the time, the WWE wasn't booking factions and tag teams well at all. But that is changing in 2014 as many groups are finally getting good pushes and storylines. The Shield, Wyatt Family, and Real Americans are just a few of the groups that could force the coveted Cena heel turn. In fact, Daniel Bryan joining the Wyatt Family could give the WWE a blueprint on how to force a John Cena heel turn, while having him remain a sympathetic character.
Turn heel under a mask
Some of the most popular wrestlers in history have played different characters under masks. Junkyard Dog (Stagger Lee), Dusty Rhodes (The Midnight Rider), and Hulk Hogan (Mr. America) each wore a mask at some point in their illustrious careers and claimed to be different wrestlers. However, all of these wrestlers remained babyfaces after donning their masks. John Cena could put a different spin on this angle and set the wrestling world on fire.
Typically, the masked wrestler with the obvious identity storyline involves a wrestler losing a "loser leave town" match. However, John Cena could leave the WWE either with a fake injury or to "film a movie" that isn't really being filmed. The discussion among wrestlers, fans, and WWE announcers witnessing the atrocious heel actions of a presumed masked Cena would be incredible. Then Cena could return without the mask and be the face of the WWE again.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of pro wrestling. Patrick's favorite wrestling promotion was Mid-South Wrestling back in the 1980s. Patrick's favorite wrestling angle of all-time was the NWO and his favorite wrestler is Roddy Piper. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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- Sports & Recreation
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- Hulk Hogan
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