John Cena recently spoke with Graham Matthews of Bleacher Report to promote the reboot of “Wipeout” on TBS, which he co-hosts with comedian Nicole Byer. The shows airs each Thursday night.
Cena missed WrestleMania 37 this year because he was filming The Peacemaker series for HBO Max in Vancouver. He was excited to watch The Grandest Stage of Them All as a fan again this year, but had no regrets at not being there in person, and felt blessed to be in the position he’s currently in.
“I want to be where I am and doing what I am, that’s why I made that choice,” Cena said. “I think it’s really special, and we all think they’re never going to go on without us. That’s not true. It’s more reassuring to me to not only see that WWE has a life after me, which is inevitable for sure, but that the life is thriving.
“There’s so many great storylines, so many great matches. It’s called WrestleMania, not CenaMania, you know? I’ve been a part [of it], and that part is over.”
Cena has not been seen in WWE since the Firefly Fun House match with “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 36 in 2020. He remains close with WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, and is forever grateful to Vince for the opportunities he’s received over the years.
“Vince McMahon to me is more than anyone could realize,” Cena said. “He’s a close friend, a mentor, a father figure. He means a tremendous amount to me. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to conceptualize how much I love him and how much he means to me.”
Cena continued and noted that another important aspect of the relationship with Vince is how the WWE boss is happy for everything Cena has accomplished away from WWE, and how he does not have hard feelings over Cena being busy with non-WWE projects. Vince realizes that Cena growing his brand makes more people aware of his WWE roots.
“It’s also appreciative that someone like that understands what I’m doing and approaches my choices with empathy rather than apathy,” Cena said. “The guy who runs the joint isn’t saying, ‘Screw it, get down here! It’s on a weekend, I know you’re not working!’ He approaches those choices with empathy, saying, ‘This is a great opportunity for you, John. You’re always a part of this family, and if you do well, we all do well.’ I reciprocate in saying that I want the WWE to thrive.
“That’s why I’ve invested so much of my blood, sweat and tears. I don’t want to see it fall off. I want to see it be everywhere. I want to see it be larger. I want to see it have more success. I want people to look back and not say, ‘Oh, man, it was great when…’ I want people to say, ‘He kind of opened the door for what’s going on now.’”
Cena had major praise for WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, and a singles win over The Big Dog has always alluded him. Cena has been paying close attention to Reigns’ recent heel work on SmackDown, and feels like he’s finally firing on all cylinders as a character.
“Roman is walking in his own steps, he follows in no one’s footsteps,” Cena said. “This happens every time a marquee attraction has moved on. I went through it, everybody said it with Steve [Austin] and The Rock and I understand that. But Roman is crafting his own path, and I think it’s very important to say that he’s doing a great job. I feel this is the best he’s ever been and that comes with comfort. I don’t know what got him over that hill, but he’s over it and that’s a very important one to jump over.”
Cena compared Reigns’ rise to his own initial rise.
“I just went out there comfortable with who I was and comfortable even if I failed,” Cena continued. “Taking brave choices and those brave choices haven’t stopped and aren’t stopping today as I continue to try to challenge myself. Roman has hit that point and that is, for audiences, a beautiful thing. Now he’s going to challenge himself and entertain the audience in ways they didn’t think he was capable of.”