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John Cena: Better Than Ric Flair?

A lot of experts are resigned to the fact that John Cena will walk away with the WWE World Heavyweight Title after Money In The Bank on Sunday. That would be the 15th time he could say that “The Champ is Here,” and would leave him one short of tying Ric Flair’s record of 16. The iconic record of Ric Flair that many believed was the focus of Triple H and was determined to beat it back in the day. In the end, it is likely to be John Cena sooner or later, can we live with this eventuality?

As someone who didn’t hate Triple H and was actually a fan, I remember the hate and venom directed towards the idea of Hunter surpassing Flair. Cena is to say the least not the most loved person by a large portion of fans due to being on top for over a decade. But do we see him in the same light as a legend like Ric Flair?

Also, is this a case like in baseball where we need an asterisk as WWE technically had two different championships for most of the decade that Cena was on top.  Does that devalue Cena’s title reigns as you had another guy walking around as champion in the same company?

Another thing to consider is that Flair accumulated 16 title reigns over a couple of decades and in a couple different companies along the way. This is not a knock on John Cena, as much as a knock on how often belts change hands in this modern era. Aside from the 434 day run CM Punk had, the title has flipped around quite a bit over the last decade with two titles in play.

If Cena gets himself to a position of being on the verge of beating Flair’s record, will this not be yet another reason for the people that already don’t like Cena to find a new motivation to continue to root against him? Flair has been a guy that has truly been self-centered and all about himself over his career, while in the later years of his career, he has become a more sympathetic figure for some. Cena has been the company guy that grants wishes and gives of himself and his time to the WWE. However, he is seen as this plastic corporate face and despite all his effort, seen as phony by many of his detractors.

To an outsider, John Cena seems like the better person. Ric Flair is in his sixties still seems like the cooler guy in most respects. Let’s be honest, who would you rather spend a night on the town with Ric Flair or John Cena?

WWE has gone out of their way to try and make Cena be considered in the same breath as great stars of the past. They did a three-year program with The Rock that ended with Cena beating him and being endorsed by him. It seems like the more they try and shove Cena down people’s throat’s, the people that dislike him grows.

Having him defeat the record of the legendary Ric Flair might be the final blow that pushes Cena hate to record levels. It is interesting that Flair has been scheduled to be back in WWE, but yet to show up. It might be cool to see Flair try and stop Cena from breaking his record by managing someone with the sole purpose to stop Cena.

While I do not disagree, given the current situation, the idea of Cena as the champion right now makes a great deal of sense. The rumours of a Brock vs. Cena Summerslam main event also seem likely as well. It seems like the exact match Vince McMahon would want after calling last year’s match with Bryan and Cena a swing and a miss. Clearly when anything in this company goes wrong, Cena tends to get a free pass. At least from the outside looking in that is how it seems for most fans.

I guess what this all comes down too is do you consider John Cena a legend? Ric Flair is without question one and people love him or hate him would freely admit that. We saw the backlash that occurred when the Undertaker’s streak was beaten by Brock Lesnar. Could we see a similar one happen when that day comes that John Cena eclipses Ric Flair’s 16 times as World Champion mark? It is almost a guarantee we are going to find out with Cena so close to the record and still planning to stick around for years to come.

John Cena will be in the WWE Hall of Fame one day and he does deserve to be. To hold perhaps the most prestigious record of being the champion the most times in history is a different story and different debate at least for me.

About James Borbath

James has covered the NBA and Toronto Raptors for 6 years for various publications as well as his own website. A native of Hamilton, Ontario where he attended the first ever Royal Rumble, James is a life long wrestling fan and has decided to trade to slams of a different kind in pro wrestling. He hopes his transition will be more successful than Dennis Rodman or Karl Malone. Among his talents is a better than average Randy Savage impression. Follow him on Twitter @condoonthemoon

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