I'm not saying he's as good as the Rock, I'm saying he's pretty much as popular as he was. Major ratings draw, but not as big as Hogan or Austin. If I'm wrong I'd like to hear it, but I think only Hogan or Austin are in a higher category then the other major stars from the modern era. I don't mean to insult anyone by comparison to Cena; HBK and Hart were incredible, but like Cena, they were the big stars during mediocre years for the company. Rock was there when it was really popular, but only because of Austin; the ratings drop which we continue to suffer through today began right around when Austin got his big back injury in November 1999.
Yeah, that's true, I can't say I know he's a nice guy. But I do think he does a great job of realistically playing a nice guy, and realism is all you can ask for in wrestling. The fact that older fans don't like Cena doesn't change the fact that he's doing a great job of playing a very popular character.
Um...What?? Dude where have you been the last 12 years?
Cena as Popular as Rock? LMFAO. People tried to make this argument like 5 years ago, but as we saw, when a dude who appears 7 years later is more over than your top face of the company and helps push mania to back to back million buyrates, and is basically destroyed, DESTROYED by the crowd during live segments when in the ring with the Rock (do i even need to mention the Survivor Series tag match in NYC?), i think that says something. Cena's only and i mean only moment where the crowd was even remotely on his side was when he was in Boston (his "hometown") and he got those barely audible tooth fairy chants. That's IT. If Cena was so huge Vince wouldn't need to bring back Rock, Austin, HHH, Taker, Y2J, Brock Lesnar and other Attitude Era/Ruthless Aggression (in reference to Lesnar) stars every year to help with the product.
Hogan, Austin, and Rock, in terms of success and globalizing the WWE product, overness, known mannerisms, catchphrases, ratings, having mainstream success, everything are in a class by themselves, period. It's been done to death over the years to the point where there's basically no argument.
Cena is top 10, and maybe even bordering top 5 but then you've got the other tier of Flair (could easily be argued as 4th or 5th), Andre the Giant (starting to wane, but nonetheless still huge).
And to the whole Rock wouldn't be as popular without Austin leaving for surgery argument. There is countless proof that in Sept-Nov 99, the Rock was basically neck and neck with Austin, even with clear indications of him beginning to surpass Austin with popularity and overness among fans. Don't believe it? Check out a host of evidence I took from a thread at wrestlzone:
1. Unforgiven 1999 6 pack challenge-Fans were chanting only for The Rock all throughout the match. Austin didn't wrestle but he didn't have to, there were times fans chanted for Austin when he wasn't in the ring wrestling.
2. Raw is War following night-HHH hits Rock with a chair and taunts Austin, fans chant The Rock's name despite the fact HHH is taunting Austin.
3. Raw after No Mercy 1999-Austin and Rock have a confrontation and Austin and Rock are about to go at it, the crowd was clearly more on The Rock's side.
4. Raw where they teamed up against New Age Outlaws-Fans only chant for The Rock throughout the match, despite the fact that there were no heels during the match (NAO turned heel afterwards).
5. Smackdown where Arnold Schwarzenegger guest appeared-Fans only chant for The Rock throughout the match, Austin didn't wrestle but like with the 1st example, he didn't have to.
They didn't even mention when Austin's name was booed in a raw in DC a few weeks before Survivor Series 99.
I'll even give you one of the links to the Raw after No Mercy 99.
<<< JERRY LAWLER EVEN MAKES A REFERENCE TO HOW THE CROWD WAS CHANTING THE ROCKS NAME AS HE IS ABOUT TO FIGHT AUSTIN. JIM ROSS DOESN'T EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE IT.
Austin had been face since Summer 1997, and was still strong from his peak of 1998. Rock had a brief #2 face spot in 98 before turning heel and turned back to face the night after Backlash 99. This is a mere 5 months later. THAT's how over the Rock was getting as a face.
If anything it was great that Austin left, cause he was getting stale and was in serious serious danger of getting completley overtaken.
So to the all the arguments and delusional fans butthurt over Rock leaving saying that had Austin never have left he wouldn't be big, just stop it and move on. Austin is a legend, Rock is a legend, both at their peaks make Cena's 8 years on top look like their not even in the same league.
If anything Cena's character is a failed Rock and Austin and Hogan; a forced hybrid of all three and a "mainstream" star Vince wants but didn't get, so he relies on The Rock to help his own damn product.
The ONLY thing i'll give John Cena is his make a wish record and the fact that "You Can't See Me" mannerism is VERY well known. That's it.