John Cena's heel turn could be something that can take WWE to new heights but, is the success guaranteed, no one knows.
Legendary WWE Superstar John Cena was said to have been open to turning heel at one time in his career, albeit it never really occurred. During an appearance on the Cheap Heat podcast, veteran WWE writer Brian Gewirtz shared Cena’s response to a prospective villain turn (h/t Nitish Vashishtha of ThirstyForNews.com): “All right, listen, you want to turn me heel? If that’s what Vince [McMahon] says you guys want me to do, I’ll do it. But just so you know, I will go full-bore heel. There won’t be none of that like, ‘Oh, he’s a fun heel, he’s a cool heel, he’s winking at the audience heel. He is going to go full heel. That’s what he wants to do, which would have been awesome.”
Early in his stint with the WWE, Cena did briefly turn heel, but the popularity of his rapper persona caused the audience reaction to make him babyface. He made his main roster debut in 2002, and by 2004, he was on the fast track to stardom, winning the US championship in 2004 and the WWE championship the following year. From that point on, Cena would serve as the face of WWE, albeit in more recent years, as he concentrated more on his developing acting career in Hollywood, the door has been left open for others to assume that position.
Gewirtz revealed that although turning Cena into a villain was frequently considered, there was always a good reason why it couldn’t or didn’t take place: “We did push plenty of times for John to turn heel, and there was a lot of reasoning going into it. [McMahon] was tempted … but ultimately, there was like the merch [sales] and everything John does.”
When Hulk Hogan joined the New World Order in the WCW and changed his name to “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan in 1996, it may have been the largest heel turn in the annals of professional wrestling. Hogan had been the biggest babyface of all time throughout his tenure with WWE, but WCW fans began to get weary of him, leading to the decision to turn him, which helped WCW Nitro surpass WWE Raw in the ratings for 83 straight weeks.
Roman Reigns was recently turned heel by WWE, and the change has unquestionably been a success as he has improved and grown in popularity, and he is currently engaged in one of the longest world title runs in WWE history. It’s certain that Cena would have excelled in a heel role, much like Hogan and Reigns, but it now appears doubtful that fans will ever get to witness that happen.