Considered by many to be one of the most influential comic book stories of all time, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal 1986 miniseries Watchmen has been receiving plenty of attention as of late. Over on the comics front, there’s the newly released Watchmen: The Annotated Edition, which features a new foreword by Gibbons and annotations by Leslie S. Klinger, as well as the start of the Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Watchmen pseudo-sequel Doomsday Clock.
Meanwhile, in the ever-expanding world of comic book adaptations, there’s the excitement over the news that Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) is helming a live-action Watchmen television series, with HBO ordering a pilot and commissioning additional scripts this past September. However, the bit that seems to have the Internet buzzing the most is the rumor that WWE’s most popular “Doctor,” John Cena (sorry, Isaac Yankem fans), might be trading in his degree in Thuganomics for one in Nuclear Physics by playing Doctor Manhattan in the upcoming HBO series.
The rumblings first started when CBR’s own Kieran Shiach noticed that Cena’s Instagram account, which is notorious for containing photos completely devoid of context, featured an image of The Comedian’s blood-stained smiley-face button and a piece of fan art seemingly depicting the WWE Superstar as Doctor Manhattan (the chin and ears definitely give it away). From there, the speculation began to spread like wildfire, with countless comic and entertainment-centric websites and podcasts weighing in on Cena’s ability (or lack thereof) to faithfully portray the stoic, God-like blue being.
Cena’s certainly proved that he has good acting chops, as evidenced by his roles in such comedy films as Trainwreck and Daddy’s Home 2. Meanwhile, Doug Liman’s 2017 war drama The Wall showed us the 16-time World Champion’s incredible range when it comes to putting on a serious performance (he’s definitely improved since The Marine). Would John Cena actually make a good Doctor Manhattan, though? And better yet, which other WWE Superstars, past or present, would be perfect to play the rest of the Watchmen characters?
Much like Watchmen itself, we’ll begin with Eddie Blake, aka The Comedian, whose big personality and large physique are tantamount to the quintessential WWE Superstar archetype. You definitely need someone who can pull off Blake’s amorality, abrasiveness, and practiced cynicism, which makes Jerry “The King” Lawler an excellent choice for an older, less-fit Comedian (i.e. the version we see at the start of the story and the one who breaks into Moloch’s house). For The Comedian in his prime, though, a man like Stone Cold Steve Austin could easily deliver Blake’s brand of brashness, brutality, and bravado (plus, he’s still in incredible shape).
Another interesting candidate for The Comedian is Charles Wright, whose stints as Kama Mustafa and The Godfather/The Goodfather share many qualities with the more bombastic and violent aspects of Blake’s persona. Likewise, a man such as Bray Wyatt would be a good fit in terms of the cynical outlook on life and the skewed sense of morality. However, there’s another Watchmen role that would make far better use of Wyatt’s talents: Rorschach.
Walter Kovacs is a man who’s extremely and irreparably damaged; a man who’s every bit as vicious as he is unpredictable. And yet, Rorschach is also a man who’s highly intelligent, and despite his broken speech pattern, he’s capable of delivering profound and truly memorable monologues by way of his journal entries.
From his promos to his gimmick, Bray Wyatt is the absolute epitome of each and every one of these qualities. Still, if you need any more convincing that he’d be a perfect Rorschach, just picture these words coming out of his mouth: “This city's afraid of me. I've seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood. And when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up around their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout ‘Save us!’... and I'll whisper ‘No.’” Pretty amazing, isn’t it?