Remembering John Cena’s “Doctor Of Thuganomics” Gimmick


Its been about 10 years and some change since the WWE brought John Cena’s “Doctor Of Thuganomics” character to the forefront and people who witnessed it miss that gimmick very much. Cena in this day and age has become the king of the “PG Era” in the WWE, Cena back in the early to mid 2000’s was a fan favorite because of his promos, mic skills and vastly superior move set compared to what he has now. In this article I thought It would be cool to relive what was once one of WWE’s best heels and the John Cena everyone fell in love with in the first place.


The Backstory

For those that don’t know about the John Cena “Doctor Of Thuganomics” gimmick let me briefly educate you. Cena is a native of West Newbury, Massachusetts which is a suburban area where hip-hop isn’t the prodominant genre of music. Now while most of his friends and famly listened to rock music Cena listened to hip-hop growing up citing acts such as Public Enemy and EPMD as some of his favorite artists growing up. So WWE took that characteristic of Cena and twisted that into an edgy, thugged-out, uncensored gangstar wrestler who didn’t take any crap from anybody. He looked the part sporting mitchell & ness throwback jerseys and Reebok Pumps. He came to the ring and he verbally assualted his opponents in rhyme form, his willingness to never give a crap or push someone’s buttons made him an authentically great heel and someone wrestling fans could embrace.

The Entrance

Even his entrance was better, when the music hit you something special was going to happen. Cena evoked swagger and oozed confidence when he came to the ring. He still does now, but its a very different type of feeling and the fact that WWE creative has done little to nothing to alter his characters persona within the last 8 years or so has very slowly but surely made him corny. Its made him corny to the point where even the once most die hard Cena fan in me can’t get behind him.


The Rapping Heel

When John Cena was a bad guy he was unquestionably one of the best on the mic, quite frankly his mic skills are what have declined the most since his major character alteration. Back in the day he would go into cities and diss everythung about it, he was the ultimate bad guy in the mid 2000’s and it made for great moments and solid matches. Anybody who thinks his skills on he mic haven’t declined from 2004 to this present day in 2014 is clearly delusional and didn’t witness Cena’s rise to the top during the mid 2000’s. I think the video above is a great illustration of Cena “The Heel” with great quotables such as “the only time you people look good is at night during a blackout”. Just pure heel genius!

The Street Fights

During the prime of his heel days John Cena had a pretty solid rivalry with Eddie Guerrero, they pushed the boundries and always pained a great picture in that ring. It had every thing stealing cars, cheating and of course a classic parking lot brawl from those great Smackdown days in 2003. This match had everything you could ask for a great Cena promo, a Chicago Bears Brian Urlacher jersey, a Nike headband, Low riders and most importantly head smashing through windshield windows. Cena lost this match but it was the picture he was able to help paint in his matches with this gimmick that made him popular in the first place.


Making Others Better

The Big Show has always been a whatever type superstar to me, yes he has been in the buisness for a long time and he has been apart of some great moments but this Cena-Big Show rap battle illustrated the greatness of Cena. Even when Cena was the good guy in this situation he was still able to elevate the Big Show’s mic skills by allowing him to display a different side of himself on the mic. I mean for crying out loud The Big Show rapped “In my world you the white girl/and I’m Kobe Bryant”. It was just amazing see a 500 pound man rap, yes he was sweating but The Big Show was getting it done!


The Impersonations

When Kurt Angle came to the ring in a Jacksonvile Jaguars Mark Brunell jersey impersonating John Cena it was one of the funniest things I ever saw. He made his most concerted effort to make a fool out of Cena’s persona and did a great job doing it. After about 2 to 3 minutes of acting like Cena a midget version of Kurt Angle made his way to the ring and proceeded to call him a “weener”. Needless to say it made for a classic Smackdown moment and just another example of how Cena’s persona at the time allowed others to play off of it perfectly and always made for better shows on a consistent basis.



The Return

In 2012 during the very long Cena/The Rock feud leading up to Wrestlemania, WWE creative decided to bring back the gimmick. Outstepped Cena in a blue Cleveland Cavaliers Mark price jersey with the same bravado that made us love the guy in the first place. After a few anti-LeBron James references and some spirited words about his unmentionables, Cena would depart from the ring. WWE creative had just recyled and spat in the face of wrestling fans all in one motion.



The Truth

In the video above CM Punk drops some gems on who Cena really is from the 5:26 mark to the 7:00 mark. John Cena who was once the underdog told that he didn’t have what it took to compete at the level with the Brock Lesnar’s, Kurt Angle’s and Undrtaker’s of the world had become everything people hated- a corporate sellout who forgot what he came from and became a different person. Sure it gained him superstardom, being the face of the company and spawned a great younger fan base but at the same time he lost everyone who grew up with him and saw his meteoric rise to the top. Cena has defied all odds in this buisness, his commitment is something to be commended however his waterd down persona, moveset and character development over the years have been one of the sadder parts of the wrestling buisness over the last 15 years. The fans suffer, the product clearly suffers and the ratings have had a huge fall from grace. So to WWE creative and the corporate entity that is World Wrestling Entertainment next time you have a superstar that is a man of the people try not to water him down 180 degrees.


Sincerely From a former John Cena fan