John Cena’s Unexpected Rise in Internet Popularity

The mightiest WWE champion of all time (by some accounts) and former cinematic US Marine John Cena is taking parts of the internet by storm thanks to the viral “Unexpected John Cena” meme. From a dedicated subreddit to numerous Vines, Cena’s Google trends search volume has skyrocketed in recent months, reaching an all time high (for available search data) in the month of September 2015.

But couldn’t this just be an effect of WWE’s popularity? Perhaps not. Below is a graph of WWE’s Google trends interest compared with Cena’s interest levels. At first glance it looks as though September 2015 shows Cena’s interest peaking while WWE’s interest is declining. I downloaded this search data and did a quick linear regression between WWE and Cena. This came back with a R squared score of .32 R – basically only 32% of Cena’s Google interest can be explained by the WWE (I’m assuming of course that they are causally related). It appears as though Cena’s newfound fame is at least somewhat independent of the WWE.

Cena’s catchphrase “You Can’t See Me” just might not apply to the hordes of internet mememakers who in fact want to see him. How unexpected!


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