In an appearance on ID10T with Chris Hardwick, WWE star John Cena talked about his relationship with wrestling fans over the course of his career. Cena has always received a polarizing response from fans, and he believes that reaction has helped mold him into the person he is now.
“I think a lot of it comes from the WWE and its audience,” Cena said. “Being told you suck, every time you go out five times a week. Like genuine, visceral, and the reason I know it was genuine was because I was a good guy. They boo the bad guys because they know, but I was deemed the role of the hero. And to have this adversarial, visceral, genuine force of reminding you that ‘don’t get too close to the sun, don’t sip the Kool Aid, hey dude, you suck.’
“And I think a lot of that helped me kind of, one take that in. Take their opinion in and understand why they thought I sucked. Two, be okay with being humiliated every night. And three, looking in the mirror and being like ‘no I think I’m okay with what I see. I think I’m going to be alright.’ I always say I owe the WWE audience more than I can explain. They made me into the person that I am. Not the professional; I took a lot of professional tidbits from my time there. But they made me into the person I am.”
One thing Cena doesn’t like to hear from people is that he is where he is because he received carte blanche from WWE owner and chairman Vince McMahon. Cena instead pointed to his work ethic and sacrifices to describe how he wound up where he is.
“I heard it so much in WWE,” Cena said. “‘Well, Vince lets him do whatever he wants. That’s why he can consistently perform at a level that’s acceptable and entertaining to the audience. He gets to do whatever he wants.’ Nope. I ask and I execute and I invest and I’m meticulous with the detail and I’m consistent night in after night out. I’m trustworthy, I’m giving of self. But the perception everyone else has is ‘he just has a better situation.’ And I’m not taking away from anybody’s struggle. And I’ve learned to appreciate everyone’s struggle, and everyone has a different struggle. I can understand where those feelings come from.
“You can have those feelings when you’re done analyzing yourself and saying like ‘yo, am I at max capacity? Am I doing, because if I really want to wear those shoes or put on those jorts, am I at max capacity? Or did I party too much?’ This is a completely acceptable example, ‘did I want to see my family?’ I wrote off everything but wrestling in my life for two decades. Everything. And that’s a toxic relationship, but the byproduct was I got some wonderful opportunities. But now I’m dealing with a landslide of stuff where I’m rebuilding myself as a man, as a human being, and gladly and open and welcome.”