A Pilgrim in an Unholy Land: The John Cena Experience

You’re going to notice a trend lately that I post a lot about wrestling for awhile. I’m in one of my phases, so sue me. Not that long ago Netflix added a few wrestling DVDs to their Instant Queue and one thing I was curious about was the John Cena Experience. The DVD is a 2 hour documentary following Cena for about 6 months or so and shows how hectic his life really is. From being on RAW, traveling over seas to visist the troops, charity work, wrestling, charity work, filming a movie, wrestling, charity work, making a rap album, golfing for charity, wrestling, filming a TV show, charity work, working out, charity work and oh my god I could go on but you really get a feel for just how crazy it is to be John Cena. Few wrestlers have reached the level that John Cena is currently at. In fact I can only think of two other names that could be in the same category as him, Hulk Hogan and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Unlike those two though, John Cena is a touchy subject among wrestling fans. You either love him or you hate him, but all fans will agree that they respect him.

Cena’s “rap/homie/gangsta” personality rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way but at the same time gained him a following among kids, teens and yes, women. You’re average male over 18 however, aren’t really buying into it. So when I say that I sat down and watched the John Cena Experiance and some of my views were changed, you can get an idea of how good the documentary is. I always knew that a lot of wrestlers do charity work and that the WWE is a company that is always giving back in any way it can. Every year the WWE makes a trip overseas and puts on a show called The Tribute to the Troops where a ring is set up at an armed forces bases and the wrestlers put on a show just for the men and women of the armed forces. The trip has always been voluntary for the wrestlers and John Cena has gone every year since his introduction to the WWE. Having a cousin serving in the Army, I can tell you it gives me a good feeling to see a worldwide organization like the WWE give back and the scenes with Cena and the other wrestlers interacting with the service men and woman brought a tear to my eye.

Aside from the troops, Cena dedicates much of his free time to the Make-A-Wish foundation which is documented on two seperate occassions as he attends a “Pizza Party” for some of the kids in Phoenix, AZ as well as bringing two kids to the Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View with their families free of charge. I was actually surprised at how little the amount of time was that they spent showing Cena in ring and talking about particular events other than Wrestlemania. The documentary really is on Cena and his life outside the ring. I was even intrigued when a reporter for ESPN asked if he’d ever leave the sport like The Rock did to go after other dreams. Cena shook his head “no” before the reporter could even finish asking. He replied that he’d only leave wrestling when he was too old or it simply wasn’t fun anymore. You may hate his “gimmick” but you’ve got to respect that.

Like most WWE Docs, The John Cena Experiance is well shot since the WWE boasts some of the best technology available in TV, Film and audio. Quality is never an issue when it comes to their products. If anything, my only problem with the documentary itself was that it had no overall narrative. It was more of just a series of events being shown. There was no big end or flashy video. It just ended. You’d think the story would end after Wrestlemania, since the biggest Pay-Per-View of the year is a logical place to end, but it continues on. Personally, I’d have forgiven them showing some things out of chronilogical order if it meant a somewhat better “story.” For a wrestling fan though, whether you love him or hate him, the John Cena Experiance is worth a watch and your time. You will end up with a brand new respect for the man as well as all of the WWE Superstars and Divas. Who knows? You may even end up a fan. I think I may have.

PETER is a member of “Team Bring It!” and will be rooting The Rock on at Wrestlemania next year against John Cena. Though he must admit, he’ll pick John Cena to play as in video games every so often know. He still thinks it’s funny that Cena’s finisher the “F-U” got changed to the “Attitude Adjustment.” Way to go WWE. Make him more marketable to kids!

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