John Cena on today’s WWE product, The Undertaker’s recent criticism, WrestleMania
Cena said he does not entirely agree with The Deadman’s comments.
“I guess I’ve viewed the WWE as a product outside of myself for a long time,” Cena said. “I guess that’s why I was so interested in the business side of it from very early on in my career. In that, I’ve seen it evolve, but I’ve also been called ‘everything that’s ruined sports entertainment.’ I could look at the economics of it and make an argument that between myself—and the large amount of folks that carried on the roster beyond the Attitude Era into the Ruthless Aggression Era and the Reality Era—the fans of the Attitude Era certainly looked at our product as not what they’re used to, and it wasn’t. So I may have a bit of disagreement with Undertaker’s word choice because I don’t think it’s soft, I think it’s different.
“I remember one of the first time Steve Austin came back during the height of the PG era, and he was just befuddled. Because Steve Austin goes out there and runs it. And if he gets stuck, he can curse, he can throw up some middle fingers, he can ask for a beer…but we took away three of the biggest clubs that he can hit with and told him to go out there and be himself. And he came back shaking his head and said ‘I don’t know how you do this!’ But if he had enough time, he’s a great performer, he could get used to it.”
Cena not only enjoys the current WWE product of today, but also felt compelled to walk back previous comments he made about today’s product. He praised WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, WWE Champion Drew McIntyre, SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks, among others.
“What do I think of the WWE product right now? I love it,” Cena said. “I think it’s bold, it’s forcing people to take chances. Forbes did an article on me back in 2020 where I had said that I don’t believe that WWE will ever have a marquee star. And here we are, less than a year later, and I can blatantly say I was wrong. You wanna talk about being too close to the product? I was just too close. Having seen it, having lived it myself, I should have just realized that the company is in transition. It takes a long time—I would say it’s three-and-a-half years or more—to build a certain talent because I’ve walked in those shoes.”
“Now you have Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns, Sasha Banks can be in that conversation, but it’s not what I said it was in 2020. It’s not a scattered fragment of Super Friends. WWE has just refocused, re-shifted and now is consolidating on marquee stars. They have their marquee stars, and going forward they will have their big names. As far as those names being larger than life, the enormity of their impact is up to the individuals themselves.”
Regarding WrestleMania 37, Cena previously stated that he would not be able to make the show this year due to COVID-19 restrictions as he’s in Vancouver filming The Peacemaker for HBO Max. Corey Graves recently suggested on After The Bell that Cena was pulling a swerve, and would make a dramatic surprise appearance on The Grandest Stage of Them All in April. Cena responded to the skepticism and doubled down.
“Unfortunately, it’s out of my hands. Every other year except for this year has been completely within my realm,” Cena said. “If this were normal times, I would 100% be there. I’d find a way to contribute somehow. I’ve sat in the crowd as a fan. I’ll do whatever the event asks me to because it means that much to me, and WWE means that much to me, but I’m in Vancouver shooting Peacemaker for HBO Max.
“It’s a spinoff series based on my character from Suicide Squad, Peacemaker. It’s an unbelievable opportunity, James Gunn has written the whole thing, he’s directing a bunch of the episodes. This is something that I’m inspired to do. Because of the quarantine law, if I were to fly to the states for Sunday on WrestleMania—which is totally possible—the complications arrive when I come back to Canada. Because then I would have to quarantine for 14 days and that puts production back more than two weeks, which costs a boatload of money, and that would be super, super, super selfish of me.”
He continued, “Should things beyond my control normalize a bit and travel restrictions lift up, then sure, I’m in, but right now, it is logistically impossible. I can’t do that to Warner, I can’t do that to DC, I can’t do that to James, I can’t do that to the Suicide Squad. It’s just not fair.”