411’s WWE Ruthless Aggression (Episode 2) Report: “Enter John Cena”
– Original air date: 02/17/20
– Run Time: 50:46
– Thanks for all the feedback on episode 1 of this series and it seems most have enjoyed hearing about something other than the Attitude Era.
– We pick up with Cena’s debut and confronting Angle with the famous “Ruthless Aggression” line. A producer asks Cena what the words “Ruthless Aggression” mean to him. Cena says failure as he failed in that moment. It was a golden opportunity and he failed. He didn’t know how to fix it, but he knew he failed. That’s quite a way to open this episode.
– Show opening.
– We jump back to Austin winning the WWF Title from HBK at Mania. JBL tells us that every era is defined by a main star: Sammartino, Hogan, Rock/Austin. Hogan talks about a top guy in the WWE having the total package: look, in ring skills, but there is a big difference between being a WWE Superstar and an attraction.
– There was no sure thing as the next big superstar and that leads us back to OVW. Gerwitz says they learned about Cena by accident as they were checking out tape of Rico in OVW. He was teaming with Cena and everyone started focusing on Cena instead of Rico John talks about starting in OVW and being blown away by Shelton walking the top rope with no assistance and Orton’s natural ability. He knew he was kind of out of place with the athletes down there. Batista talks about how when Cena arrived everyone was questioning who he was. We get some Prototype footage in OVW and it was the charisma that caught everyone’s attention. Batista was blown away by Cena’s star presence and while they may have been ahead of him in training, he was ahead of them as far as being a star. Shelton says they knew Cena was the best on the mic even in an era where Rock was on RAW.
– Back to McMahon’s promo where he challenged everyone to become the next legend and superstar. Everyone talks about how it was a shoot as Vince was basically daring someone to take the brass ring and become the face of his company. That leads to SmackDown with Kurt Angle throwing out an open challenge to anyone who he’s never wrestled. Cena says they had nobody else to go out there and picked him because he had been doing some live shows. Cena was told to go talk to Vince and the first thing Vince said “go cut his fucking hair.” Cena was out of the office and off to get his hair cut.
– Angle talks about John being one of those guys who will not only answer a challenge, but him a homer. Cena utters Ruthless Aggression and then slaps Angle in the face. Prichard says you felt the promo because what Cena was saying was real. Angle mentions he tried to blow Cena up during the match and even though it was only 12 minutes he made sure to run him. Cena earned Angle’s respect that night as he proved he could last. Adam Cole was impressed by Cena that night because he put up a fight against Angle. Kurt wins the match with a roll-up and they do a segment backstage where Taker asks Cena his name and shakes his hand. That is so awesome looking back on it knowing where Cena went from there. Prichard says that Taker congratulating Cena after the match was real, so they decided to shoot it for TV.
– Cena looked like he was going to be the future of the WWE. Cena says that time was a failure for him and the fans looking back on it as a success aren’t remembering it correctly. They talk about Cena wearing wrestling shorts that matched the colors of the city’s pro teams. That kind of got hokey to some fans and Gerwitz talks about Cena having passion, but he had no character. He started to fall to the wayside as the fans didn’t have a reason to connect with him.
– Cena was quickly falling out of favor and was working matches on Velocity. He was stressed because he didn’t know who he was. The audience can pick up on the fact that you don’t know you are as a performer. They talk about Cena being a bland, vanilla wrestler with no personality.
– Cena talks about how the WWE usually makes cuts in November and then again in May. He was told he was going to be one of the pre Christmas cuts. He didn’t blame the WWE as they gave him a golden chance and he blew it after the hot start with Angle. They did the European Tour and he was in mixed tag matches which showed where his place was at that point. They were on the bus and Cena heard guys on the back of the bus rapping. He decided to dive right in and Cena became a hit entertaining the boys. Steph was on the bus and asked Cena how he remembered all that and Cena had to explain free style rapping to her. She had a can of tuna fish she was eating and asked Cena to rhyme about that. He did so and she asked him if he wanted to rap on TV and he said absolutely.
– SmackDown Halloween Party and Cena is given his sink or swim moment. I guess you can say he had one shot to capture everything he ever wanted, so he needed to lose himself in the promo. Cena cuts a promo dressed up as Vanilla Ice and who knew that was the moment that launched the top star of that generation. Cena knew by dressing a certain way people would get what he was doing. From there we get hip hop Cena cutting rhymes while wearing throw back jerseys and yeah, it connected with the fans. Cena’s goal was to be outlandishly dressed as possible in the early days before settling on the throwback jerseys.
– Drake Maverick says Cena was awesome because he said a lot of naughty words and made the people laugh. Bland, white meat baby face did nothing, but this Cena made people laugh and cheer. Another key was that each rap was different in each city, so every fan and city felt connected. Cena says it gave him the ability to be himself and things were heading in the right direction. Man, I forgot how awesome this Cena was on the mic.
– Cena says everyone backstage hated him and Christian says there was some jealousy over the chances he was being given. Angle says he saw this young guy taking his place and there was nothing he could do about it. There is a good camera shot of Angle watching Cena cut a promo in awe and telling the camera that Cena was going to be a major star. Cena calling A-Train his wookie and then telling him chicks dig Wookies is amazing. Gerwitz says that Cena knocked everything out of the park and each week he just kept topping himself.
– WrestleMania XX and the detractors were still waiting to see Cena fail. He was working with The Big Show and Show talks about some of the boys telling him to not let Cena win and that he is a flash in the pan. Cena says he knows people didn’t want Show working with him and that Show stood up for him and told they boys they were wrong. Show was really impressed with Cena and puts over his passion for the business. Cena hits the FU to a massive reaction as that MSG crowd was 10000% behind him. Cena remembers he parked in a public lot and he walked out with the title and left the building with all the fans. It was a moment that kept him grounded.
– The positive reaction to the match came at a critical juncture for the WWE. On that same show The Rock had his last match for years, Austin slowed down what he was doing, and Brock Lesnar decided to go be a football player. That left a massive gap for someone to take over and that was John Cena.
– WrestleMania 21 and Cena is facing JBL for the WWE Title. They feel Cena was the perfect opponent for JBL. Vince McMahon pulled JBL aside and asked him his thoughts on Cena and JBL told him he was the guy to be the face of the company. Cena wins the Title and was now the man in the WWE.
– They decided to gave the WWE Title a makeover based on how well the US Spinner Title was received. Cena thought the belt he won was kind of bland, and wanted to do something different. Show calls the spinner belt, 30 lbs of garbage. It was viewed by some as basically a toy.
– Cena says he saw that the crowd was becoming mostly kids and he went to Vince and said he needed to stop rapping. Soon the hardcore fans and males in the crowd started booing this new Cena. Cornette says it became the cool thing for the hardcore fans to boo Cena, but the kids who bought all the merchandise were cheering him.
– No WWE Champion had ever received a mixed reaction and it reached a critical point at Mania 22. Cena says that JBL was a wonderful villain, while HHH is a cool wrestler. They show some promos heading into the match and HHH did no favors to staying heel as he fed into what the hardcore fans thought about Cena. The night before at the Hall of Fame, Cena is inducting William Perry and crowd absolutely hated Cena. He was booed out of the building with such passion and he looked to Vince and asked what he was supposed to do. Vince told him to just go out and smile. They include the crowd chanting “fuck you Cena” (censored though) and John needed to address it but not left him affect him. He learned that Vince was right and that lesson stuck with him. His take away from Mania 22 was to trust Vince McMahon. Cena wins by making HHH tap and everyone comments that was the moment he was crowned as the face of the company.
– Now he had to run with the crown and he did it with a smile while sticking it to the haters. Gerwitz brings up the insane schedule Cena had during this time with public appearances. He no sold ever being tired and never once complained he was being asked to do to much. The life of WWE Superstar can be short and nobody took to the idea of making every second count more than Cena did. Cena says there was never a second he felt he couldn’t accomplish everything that was asked as he wanted to push the limits of what he could do.
– WrestleMania 23 is at Ford Field and is the first time since Mania 19 that they were back in a stadium. They put a lot of the success on Cena’s back and while I’m sure that helped, Mania was the selling point itself and they were never going back to arena shows. Cena was challenged again to prove himself and this time against Shawn Michaels. Cena gets a win over Shawn and that gives him back to back Mania wins over DX. Cena proved himself once again that night.
– We are back to the beginning with Cena saying he failed with Ruthless Aggression. He knew he failed and the lesson he took was that he would never fail like that again. The WWE filled him with passion and purpose and nothing was going to stop him anymore. He made this business his life and it kept giving back. He says he earned every inch. Hogan says he has a special place in his heart for Cena because of the love he has for this business. Not many people would put the business before their outside life, but he did. Nattie wraps it up by saying the WWE needed Cena and he needed the WWE.
– It was probably smart to devote an entire episode instead of bouncing back and forth between guys over several episodes. I hope this episode puts Cena in a positive light as the man was a solider for the WWE and carried them at a time when the business wasn’t at it’s most popular. He was the guy that had to follow Rock/Austin and did so with fans, and colleagues dumping all over him as he made the rise. This episode was fantastic in showing us Cena’s thoughts as he was going through this era and his transition to the top guy. This series has been great so far and I am kind of disappointed we have to wait a week for Episode 3. Thanks for reading!Ads Links by Easy Branches