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The Champ

Never ceases to amaze me how Cena rolls with the hate.

I was one of those singing “John Cena sucks” at Mania a few years ago, before it truly took off with the crowds. And yeah, I was a mocker of the “five moves of death” and a bit sick of the Super Cena persona.

But let’s be honest. No one works harder to entertain the fans than John Cena. He works every TV and every house show, and he gives his best at both.

And no one sells tickets like Cena. Whether you’re buying a ticket to cheer him or boo him, you’re buying a ticket because of him.

Very few men can match Cena in the strength department. Cena’s a monster in the gym, and people tend to over look just how powerful he is. Look closely the next time he’s in the ring with another big man. Cena’s a very, very strong guy.

And if we’re really being honest, Cena is more than five moves. Go look on YouTube at some of his matches from OVW. Cena can do a lot more that he does in a typical Cena match. Cena’s a student of OVW’s Rip Rogers, and Rip has always taught his students that less is more. Why go off the top rope if you don’t have to? Why go off the top of the cage if it’s not going to sell a few more tickets? Why do a Shooting Star Press every night when doing it once will make you immortal?

(Okay, yeah, didn’t work out for Brock, but see Snuka and the leap off the cage for an instance where one big bump DID work.)

Do your job, take care of your body, don’t do more than you need to in order to get over and sell tickets. That’s what Cena was taught. That’s why Cena’s endured physically.

Could he use a character change? Sure, everyone needs to evolve. Should he do a heel turn? Maybe, maybe not. It would not be a hard thing for him to pull off. Again, go to YouTube and look at his OVW work. He was the most hated man in Louisville when he was the Prototype. I’d love to see that side of Cena one more time before he retires.

Cena’s one of the very best, not just of his generation but all time. I believe that time will be kind to him and so will the fans.

That said, I don’t know that “Cena sucks” will ever go away. I don’t think it has to go away, and I don’t know if Cena wants it to go away. The more people chant, the more he perseveres. The more he perseveres, the more “Cena sucks” becomes a term of endearment.

 

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OVW HD – A new Indiegogo Campaign!

The first time I saw Ryan Howe was the night after Wrestlemania XXVII. He was the first of the new round of Tough Enough contestants to introduce himself to a Raw crowd that chanted for Stone Cold Steve Austin to “Stun them all!”

I saw him again almost two years later at OVW, the night I started work on Bluegrass Brawlers. He didn’t wrestle that night, but I saw him a few times over the next couple of years. He had a great look, and he showed potential, but he was always in the mid-card, working underneath guys like Rob Terry and Jamin Olivencia. He was better each time I saw him, but he was always outshined by the main event players.

Wednesday night, I saw him again. He worked the main event against OVW champion Mohamed Ali Vaez. This was a completely different Ryan Howe than I had ever seen before. Same look, same gimmick, but there was a confidence and a swagger about him I hadn’t seen before. Howe looked like he belonged in that main event. He looked ready for the next step. If history is any indication at OVW, he’ll probably get it sooner rather than later.

That’s the legacy of OVW. OVW has set the standard for wrestling schools for nearly 20 years. Cena, Orton, Lesnar, Batista, Punk, Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, Miz, Mizdow, Henry, Big Show, Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Dinsmore, Conway, Shelton Benjamin, John Morrison, Lisa Marie Varon, Jamin Olivencia, Rockstar Spud. Over 100 students have gone on from OVW to work for WWE or TNA.

OVW just launched an Indiegogo campaign to upgrade their television equipment. OVW is the longest running wrestling television program in America outside of WWE (over 800 episodes!), and they’re ready to step it up and go HD. This campaign will allow them to upgrade their studio, their cameras, and their editing equipment so they can continue to produce a top quality program while providing the best training for the business, from inside the ring to the editing room.

OVW television airs locally in Louisville, but it’s also available to view online. OVW alums have shared with me how fans have come up to them in airports and venues around the country, fans who know them only from watching online. Most recently, OVW announcer Dean Hill told me he was approached by a fan in Seattle, Washington who watched OVW on TV!

Independent wrestling is growing in popularity once more, and OVW is positioning itself to take advantage of the changing tides. Check out the campaign on Indiegogo and the perks that are available – including and opportunity to train at the school. And by all means go to www.ovwrestling.com to check out their show for yourself!

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Louisville’s Greatest Matches: Nova vs. John Cena

Crybaby Chris Alexander told me about this match when I was working on Bluegrass Brawlers. I honestly am not sure why this story did not make it into the book, other than I simply forgot about it.

Cena was “The Prototype,” an unstoppable monster heel who had run over every challenger in OVW. Nova was the new guy, a veteran of ECW looking for a new start with OVW and the WWE. His first night at OVW, he got a shot at the champion.

Alexander was backstage that. Danny Davis walked over to him, wearing a big smile. “Hey Chris,” he said, “Do you want to know how to put a new guy over in one night? Just watch.”