Brian Gewirtz: Why John Cena Never Turned Heel But Roman Reigns Did

"Obviously, at some point, you can’t ignore the reactions."

Former WWE writer Brian Gewirtz believes Vince McMahon is relieved he never gave the creative team permission to turn John Cena heel, but has accepted the same mould would not work with Roman Reigns. 

Despite clamour from fans during Cena's time as the face of WWE, the company never allowed the 16-time WWE champion to switch to the dark side after his initial face-turn at the end of 2003. 

The booking of Roman Reigns as the new face of WWE has led to comparisons by fans between the current WWE Universal champion and Cena, with Gewirtz understanding McMahon's desire to keep Cena as a good guy. 

The former WWE writer feels McMahon is delighted he kept Cena as a babyface, looking at the money the Doctor Of Thuganomics made for WWE and how he represented the company, but also reckons the WWE Chairman has now recognised his belief that Roman Reigns could fit the same model was not working. 

Speaking on The Masked Man Show, Gewirtz said: “Don’t get me wrong about Vince, he is the man and nobody works harder and nobody’s had more hits than him and continues to. His work ethic and his passion for the business is unparalleled by anybody who’s ever worked in it, but sometimes, we all get tunnel vision, and I think when it came to Roman, the model was John because there were plenty of times where the writers would come in and be like, ‘Can we just turn John heel?’ With the ‘Lets go Cena, Cena sucks,’ can we do it? Can we pull the trigger, and it was something Vince never wanted to do.

“He considered it. He always considers all ideas, but ultimately, he didn’t want to do it, and I think in the end, he was like, to put it bluntly, ‘Thank God I didn’t listen to you’ as far as turning John heel, because John’s the standard-bearer and made a ton of money for the company, and Make A Wish, and merchandise and everything. And Vince, I think, considered by not turning him heel, not saved the company but made a lot more money with him sticking to his vision as a babyface as opposed to taking the short-term approach by getting a pop in the ratings or a spike in interest by turning him heel. 

"And I think the problem was I think he took that approach with Roman as well. I think it was the ‘don’t listen to people, trust your gut. Roman’s a babyface. He’s the new face of the company.’

“I can’t speak to this exactly, but whenever we wanted to turn John, it was like, ‘Okay, well who’s going to replace him? Who’s going to be the guy that’s going to go on the talk shows and be able to be the face of the company and want to do that kind of stuff as well,’ which is also a challenge. So that might have something to do with Roman, but obviously, at some point, you can’t ignore the reactions. 

"And it wasn’t ‘lets go Cena, Cena sucks’ with Roman. It was pretty heavily boos, even if you always get their reports from the live events, and it would be like, ‘Wow, the crowd pop for the finish, and they popped on his entrance. And there was a section of people booing.'”

H/T Wrestling Inc.

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Mitch Waddon

Written by Mitch Waddon

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