After the main event at WWE's Live Event on Saturday night in Munich, Germany, John Cena got on the microphone and asked for Antonio Cesaro to return to the ring. There, he asked the German-speaking superstar to translate his words to the audience.
At one point Cesaro refused to translate the World Heavyweight Champion's words, because they were complimentary to him. Cena then began to praise Cesaro to the crowd. The full video is here.
This is not the first time something like this has happened at a WWE Live Event (or when the cameras have stopped rolling at a televised event), nor is it the first occurrence involving John Cena. In fact, between boos from the majority of the adult male WWE Universe, he is known for being WWE's spokesperson, on and off camera. This includes delivering important company messages on RAW (like he did with the Susan G. Komen campaign), or moments like this at the event in Munich. (Other Cena-led instances in the past have included a celebration for Zack Ryder, praise for Sheamus in Dublin and other Superstars in their home towns, commemorations for several legends, birthday celebrations and more.)
When I watched the video back, some thoughts came to my mind:
If I were to guess, moments like these are completely initiated by John Cena, without anyone's prior knowledge. It's one thing to orchestrate an entire roster -- like, for example, the celebration of John Cena's birthday which happened this past year -- its another to simply go on the microphone after the show, single out another superstar and give him praise.
John Cena is at the level where doing something like this won't necessarily get him into trouble. Many people call John "Super Cena" for the way he appears so strong against his opponents -- recently, the big complaint was about Damien Sandow and how he lost his Money in the Bank contract against Cena, who essentially was competing with one arm in the match.
We could argue that this victory over Sandow wasn't necessarily a call Cena made. At the end of the day, despite how important he may be, he is still talent and there is always someone making the ultimate decision when it comes to the TV product. But the call to bring Cesaro to the ring in Munich and give him praise in front of a WWE audience, knowing that the word would spread very quickly over the web, was deliberate and a personal "thank you" by Cena to his peer, Claudio. (I smile whenever I hear a Superstar call someone by their real name in the ring -- it's become the tacit signal from Superstar to fan that a genuine moment is taking place.)
It's something that I believe Cena did (and does) on his own accord, going out of his way to pick the right moments to make it extra special for his peers.
An important takeaway from the video is that the face of WWE publicly gave one of his peers a stamp of approval, going so far as to call him a "future champion." Not only one of his peers, but, as Cena noted, someone who labored in the independent scene for years before ever getting a chance to make it big in WWE.
For many fans watching WWE who also follow the independent scene, they find no more joy than to see their darlings achieve success -- CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are two big examples of that. Antonio Cesaro receiving praise from the man most associated with the WWE brand is an affirmation to these fans that the independent scene does produce great talent, which in the past was not perceived to be WWE's philosophy.
These fans live vicariously through these talents and want them to succeed -- they feel their joy and feel their pain -- most recently, that of Antonio's former Kings of Wrestling tag team partner Chris "Kassius Ohno" Hero, who was recently released by WWE.
Will Antonio Cesaro become a future champion? I think so. Many others think so. And John Cena thinks so. As much props as Cesaro deserves for being so diligent, hard working and successful in his career, John Cena deserves equal praise for having the capacity, wherewithal and stroke to orchestrate such a simple and impactful moment that has gotten people talking.
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