Source: The Wrestling Observer Newsletter
There was a lot of talk about Cena being portrayed as an “old man veteran” on RAW this week, and not good conversations either. One person in the company said it was a “shockingly bad” direction for Cena and that they can’t understand what he’s thinking in going with it.
The idea is to put Cena in a position where he is the most popular name in the company, but he doesn’t have to be the focal point and someone else (such as Roman Reigns) can be put in that place. The inspiration is the way Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund were in the 1970s, with Cena as the Sammartino.
However, as noted by those backstage, Cena is popular with a very different crowd than Sammartino was; where Bruno had a very wide fanbase that included older fans, Cena’s strongest fanbase is younger kids and women. As such, making the start to the kids the “old man veteran” isn’t likely to work, especially when he’s still the top merchandise seller. That Cena is being considered an “old man” at thirty-seven was also discussed; he is at the same age as Ric Flair in 1986, Hogan in 1990, Bret Hart in 1994 and Steve Austin in 2002, none of which were viewed as “old men” at that point.