The Forbes website has a new article up asking if John Cena as WWE World Heavyweight Champion is really good for The WWE. The author took some of WWE's revenue figures and overlaid them with WWE's three biggest stars of the last five years - John Cena, Randy Orton and CM Punk, excluding Cena's brief concurrent championship run in the summer of 2011 and his even briefer reign at Elimination Chamber in 2010. The article contains graphs that the author created but he wrote the following:
"As shown in the graph, over the last five years Cena has only been champion during one period of rising revenue, in late 2009. Since then he’s held the belt at length four different times, and during all of them WWE’s quarterly revenue has been on the decline. What’s more, the company’s income tends to rebound shortly after those title runs come to an end.
And curiously enough, in-story COO Triple-H’s repetitive claims that Orton ought to be the face of the company appear to ring true. When Orton wears the championship belt, WWE’s revenues tend to climb. Then again, company performance was all over the place during CM Punk’s 434-day reign, and that may be the only proof we need that WWE’s in-ring champion doesn’t actually have much impact on the company’s revenue.
To reiterate, this is obviously far from a scientific study. WWE’s total revenues include segments like DVD sales and WWE Studios, which have little to do with the ongoing in-ring action. Plus this study only looks at the revenue side; perhaps a further analysis would show that WWE’s profits surge under Cena’s title reigns. But a brief look at the numbers suggests that, popular as he is, Cena being the WWE champion isn’t necessarily the best thing for business. And who knows, maybe that means Cena’s latest title run has more to do with in-ring story telling than cashing in on young fans, and maybe, just maybe, that means he’ll do something interesting for once."