It’s long been a topic for debate on professional wrestling websites if John Cena, like Hulk Hogan or “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, could play a bad guy at some point in his career or if like Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Tito Santana, he is just too well-liked to pull it off. While it is true that he’s granted more wishes than anybody else in the history of the Make-A-Wish foundation, he also has half the audience singing “John Cena sucks” when he enters an arena. Yes, he sells a lot of T-shirts, but so have a lot of heels. If the WWE tried to turn John Cena against the fans, would the half that hate him suddenly embrace the Doctor of Thuganomics and would the half that love him suddenly take over the “Cena Sucks” part of the “Let’s Go Cena/Cena sucks” chant during his matches? It certainly would be interesting to see how all of that could shake out. Hulk Hogan’s turn to the dark side actually made him more popular at a point in his career when he needed a boost.
John Cena is not Hulk Hogan, though. He appears to be on the edge of a legitimate mainstream media career, appearing in movies and hosting gigs like The Today Show, The ESPY Awards, and American Grit. Would turning John Cena into a ruthless jerk hurt his public persona or do enough people understand that wrestling is just a show and there’s a difference between the real person and the character? Whether they have planned it or not, the WWE has begun what could be the perfect heel turn for John Cena. Now, we know reality TV isn’t exactly a part of the documentary genre, but generally, real situations are spiced up for the camera. The E! program, Total Divas, dramatized the real lives of some of the women wrestlers in the WWE with Nikki and Brie Bella as the centerpiece. Once Nikki was put out of action with a neck injury and Brie retired, there was no plausible reason to keep them on the show (although that never stopped Eva Marie from appearing) so they were spun-off into their series, Total Bellas.
The premise revolves around Brie and husband, Daniel Bryan, moving to Tampa along with their brother, mother and mother’s fiance, John Laurinaitis (who ever thought this piece of cardboard would be on a reality show?), so they can help take care of Nikki while she is on the mend from her neck surgery. They all move into the giant house owned by Nikki’s boyfriend, John Cena. Maybe it’s a characterization, maybe he’s playing a character, or maybe audiences are seeing the real John Cena for the first time. We’re not even halfway through the season and we already have 15 reasons why Total Bellas proves that John Cena is a tool.
15. Cena Mandates A Bed Time
During the first night in the house at dinner, Cena addressed the Garcia family and Daniel Bryan by saying, “If you’re going to be up late, text me or tell me because this is a ‘Shoot First’ state and I have a lot of guns” and he wasn’t kidding. He used his John Cena Serious Voice. We’re not going to disparage anybody who owns guns or anybody who feels they have the right to protect themselves. We’re just not cool with people who passively aggressively makes an excuse for telling their family members they have a bed time. Of course, only a few sentences earlier, Cena told them there were alligators all around his property and if they ate anybody or their pets, it was their fault and the person or pet had it coming. It’s a strange man who fills the first full dinner family conversation with warnings about how not to die during their visit, and by “strange man” we mean jerk.
14. Living In John Cena’s Home Requires Paperwork
While we don’t know if he made the rest of the Garcia family or Daniel Bryan sign anything, Nikki Bella admits in the first episode that John Cena made her sign a contract before she could move into his house. In the second episode, we learned that it was 75 pages long. That’s like a prenup agreement for a prenup agreement. “His home is his legit baby” explains Nikki in a one-on-one interview with the camera. She defends this position by saying that both she and Cena had rough upbringings so “Now that we are more accomplished, we like the finer things in life.” If there was an Emmy for most pretentious thing said on television early in the Fall season, we’d have to give it to this little nugget. You’ll often hear people say of the new-money rich, “Money has changed them. They didn’t used to be that way.” We don’t buy it. Pretentious rich people were pretentious poor people. They just didn’t get the opportunity to make their girlfriends sign contracts to live with them.
13. John Cena Is Anally Neat…And You Will Be, Too
At the start of their first family dinner where Cena now-famously laid down the law in the first episode, Nikki spilled a couple of drops of wine on the table cloth. Cena bolted, reappearing with a bottle of what he calls “Wine Out” to spray down the spot. For those of us who enjoy our beer in a can, yes, “Wine Out” exists. Only minutes later, when explaining the rules to everyone, he said, “If your habits include leaving your towels on the floor, not attending to your laundry, not making your bed every day, then change your habits and respect ours.” If the Bellas and their guys were sharing a bedroom, we’d get it, but Brie and Brian stay in the guest house. Who cares if they leave a towel on their floor? The show makes it seem like Cena is home a lot more than he probably is, so hopefully Brie and Brian were leaving their dirty underwear and twice-used pool towels all over the place when he wasn’t around.
12. When it Comes to Dinner, John Cena Thinks it’s 1930
Nikki described the weekly Wednesday night dinners that John demands from his family as Downton Abbey themed, but we wouldn’t go that far back in history. He wants everybody to spend time getting ready and wearing formal attire. Daniel and Brie found out that this means that they need to wear nice shoes, even though Cena has a “no shoes in the house” policy like your grandparents did. The thing that really made us recognize what an arrogant tool Cena is was when he let everybody know that following dinner, the men retire to the cigar room to sip on brandy while the ladies go to the drawing room and talk about whatever ladies talk about (the cameras didn’t follow them). Instead, in the first episode we got 30 seconds of John Cena making Daniel feel out of place for drinking water instead of alcohol. At least he admitted later in the episode that he was difficult to live with and apologized for being moody and temperamental.
11. John Cena Hates Dogs
Dogs are great, but dogs bark and dogs bite. When you have a dog or allow a dog to live with you, it’s just part of the deal. It’s also part of the deal that you don’t lose your mind when a dog acts like a dog, but this is John Cena’s house. In John Cena’s house he can be judge, jury and executioner. He would have been happy to serve as the dog catcher in the first episode when Brie and Brian’s dog nipped at his leg. Obviously, it’s not cool, but Cena looked at Nikki and suggested, “We call animal control and they take the dog away.” Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and the dog was allowed to stay, but as the show progressed we simply found out that pets are too big of an imposition to have around. In the third episode, Nikki told her sister that John is a fan of the idea of giving their dog, Winston, to Brie and Daniel when the time comes for them to return to Phoenix.
10. John Cena Would Rather Train Than Hang Out With Nikki Bella
The impetus for Total Bellas is that Nikki has had major neck fusion surgery, involving the insertion of a couple of screws into her spine. Since she can’t do basic things like drive, she asks her sister and brother-in-law, Daniel Bryan, to move in to help. During the time in early 2016 when the series was filmed, John Cena was not able to compete because he was rehabbing a bad shoulder. This would give him plenty of time to sit around the bikini-clad Bella Twins, or simply partake in a lot of date-like activities his schedule didn’t allow when he was on the road. Instead, every episode has at least two or three scenes where Cena is either leaving to head to the gym or coming back from the gym. He told the Bellas’ brother that he looked at rehab as his full-time job and laid out a ridiculous rehab and gym schedule. Rather than using this period to deepen his relationship with the most important woman in his life, Cena would rather pump iron.
9. John Cena Loves Emojis
Oftentimes, 20-year-olds complain about what older people say about what the world was like before the Internet. Those 20-year-olds are just on the edge of being able to tell kids who are soon going to be getting their first cell phones and tablets, “I remember a world before emojis. I remember when if we wanted to make a smiley face, we needed a colon and a parenthesis. Why, we didn’t even have a symbol for a cat laughing.” Emojis are a thing for the younger generation and anybody over 27 or 28 who uses them to excess is simply trying to hold onto the idea that they are still hip and cool. This describes John Cena perfectly so it should be no surprise to anyone in the second episode when Nikki made a passing comment about his use of emojis. He’s perfectly happy to embrace this fact, where many adults his age are still asking what an emoji is.
8. John Cena Equates Getting Married With Buying Guns
Just as John Cena’s career was exploding, he got a divorce from his first wife. She had to make it through the lean years, got dropped, and now Nikki gets to enjoy the fruits of his labor. On the plus side, the first wife possibly gets a well-deserved alimony check. John Laurinaitis is engaged to the Garcias’ mother and brings up the idea of a prenuptial agreement since both bring some level of wealth to the marriage. Daniel Bryan stays silent on the matter and J.J. fumes a little bit at the idea, still not convinced Mr. People Power is the right man for his mom. Cena, as always, shares his opinion, telling Laurinaitis he thinks a prenup is a fantastic idea. “It’s like when you go to the store and get a gun for protection. You pray you never need to use it, but it’s there just in case. I made Nikki sign a contract to live here. It wasn’t one page. It was 75 pages.”
7. The John Cena Character Is, In Fact, Really John Cena
There are plenty of wrestlers who could never mistake their character in the ring for who they are in real life. Can you imagine Goldust walking around in his costume and face paint in public? Before Vince McMahon, most wrestlers used their real names because there were no characters. Bob Backlund, Bruno Sammartino, and Harley Race were the same guy in and out of the ring. That’s not the way it is these days and sometimes, wrestlers forget that they are not their character and start to believe the things written and said about them. CM Punk, as it turned out, really was a punk. Steve Austin thought he really was The Rattlesnake and was suspended in the process. Bret Hart refused to lose in Canada. That’s Bret Hart the man, not the character. There was no difference in his eyes. Most guys who become their characters have trouble differentiating between the two at the end of their career. A lot of people say their character is just an amped up version of themselves. We’d say the real Cena is just an amped down version of the hustle, loyalty, respect, towel-toting dude you see in the ring.
6. Every Fib Is Major Betrayal For John Cena
When you’re a WWE superstar performing multiple times per week and hitting the gym everyday, you’re burning a ton of calories. Nikki mentioned that without wrestling or the gym, she’s had to curtail her diet from around 3,000 calories a day down to 1,200 and it’s the first time since she joined the WWE that she has had to count calories. It’s only later in the episode we find out that the idea for the strict diet came from John Cena because he wants Nikki to stay in shape. At a poolside fire in the early evening in the third episode, Nikki says she still has more than 300 calories left so she can go out to eat with Cena. A minute later, she admitted that she was fibbing and she’s gone over the 1,200 for the day already. Cena acted as if Nikki just told him she was a man, dressing her down in front of her family. He got up and went into the house to pout. Nikki followed and talked him off his cliff, also letting him know that he’s not spending enough time with her.
5. John Cena Plays Dumb When Family Asks For Help
The third episode included a trip to the WWE Wellness Center in Tampa with Nikki, J.J., and Daniel Bryan. J.J. mentioned that he loves the energy in the center while Daniel rolled around the floor with Sami Zayn and dozens of other trainees working to become the next WWE superstar. A side storyline is that J.J. is having issues working with his mother and the idea of becoming a wrestler is something new and exciting to him. As the audience, we can recognize that he’s 30 and not in the kind of shape an NXT trainee needs to be, but he has a dream and wants to try to become a wrestler. When the group got home, J.J. was sitting alone with Cena and asked if Cena could pull some strings for him after having a discussion about the performance center. Cena doesn’t know what kind of strings J.J. was talking about. He asked if Cena could help him get his foot in the door, but Cena didn’t know what door he was talking about. This went on a few more seconds when Cena finally told him that Nikki and Daniel brought J.J. as far as Cena would be willing to help.
4. People Feel Like They’re On Eggshells Around John Cena
The first 45 minutes of the first episode were either full of John Cena explaining the rules to his new house guests or enforcing them. In one quick scene he admonished the Bellas’ mother for not making her bed and in the same way, Donald Trump likes to repeat “Wrong” during debates, Cena repeated “Make your bed” several times in a row. When Cena can’t be around to tell people they’re doing things wrong, Nikki serves as his surrogate. Brie, Daniel, and J.J. were in the process of building a small dog run putting a few stakes in the ground when Nikki saw what was going on and started lecturing them about not checking with John before they did anything. That night, at one of those oddly formal dinners, it came out that the trio felt like they were going to get in trouble anytime they try to feel more at home. Cena apologized, but admits he’s tough to live with.
3. John Cena Demands The Family Spend Time Together On A Rigid Schedule
Routines and schedules in most people’s homes develop organically over time, not scheduling it like it’s a military exercise. Even though John Cena has a lighter schedule because of his injury, he seems to schedule everything down to the minute. Perhaps that’s true, but the others in the house don’t act this way despite the fact that they also have plenty of things going on in their lives. J.J. works for the Bellas’ mother, Brie is on the road half of the week with the WWE, Daniel does a ton of autograph signing and John Laurinaitis does whatever John Laurinaitis does. At the same time, he announced the rules during the first fancy dinner night. Cena instructed that they would have these dinners on Wednesday nights and must meet for coffee every morning to talk about anything going on. In a scene in the second episode, Daniel mentioned to Brie that he was going to skip morning coffee but Brie stopped in her tracks and told Brian that it wasn’t a good idea. In John Cena’s house, you jump when John Cena says jump.
2. John Cena Is Incapable Of Emotion
When speaking in a slow monotone cadence (be it loudly, whispering, or somewhere in the middle), that’s not a range of emotions but rather the ability to use your vocal cords. Think about all of the John Cena promos you’ve seen in the wrestling ring during Monday Night Raw or SmackDown. It has to be in the hundreds. How many are truly memorable? John Cena barely gets angry, he just speaks louder. John Cena never gets sad, he just speaks in hushed tones. Look at the acting he’s done in movies. He’s typecast as a dumb guy most of the time. The place this emotionless persona truly works is as a host for things like True Grit or The Today Show. Almost half a season into Total Bellas and he hasn’t ever been angry, expressed disappointment, regret, sadness, elation, or confusion. Maybe he’s felt them, but living with Cena must be like living with a robot who complains.
1. John Cena Has To Turn Everything Into A Sex Joke
Back when The Rock and John Cena engaged in dueling promos to build up interest for their two WrestleMania matches, both of them amped up their “potty humor” game. They’d never been shy of the occasional double entendre or reference to bodily excrement, but we figured it was just two characters trying to speak to the 13-year-old boys in the crowd. We can’t speak for The Rock, but in real life, John Cena doesn’t hesitate to turn every conversation into a sexual joke. Nobody in the house can use the words “hard” or “come” in a sentence without Cena having some kind of dirty spin on the sentence, making jokes like “Was it long and intense, too?” even if the conversation is simply about traffic. Oh well, some people never grow up. Perhaps this is seen as endearing to some, but for many, it is just another reason to look down on John Cena. As adults, we call people that turn to these childish acts as tools.