Busted Open Interview: John Cena
On whether The Rock match is the biggest of his career: Absolutely. And amazingly enough, there is no physical championship on the line. But I truly believe anyone who’s everyone knows that it Is Number One versus Number One.
Honestly, I don’t wanna say it’s like another day at the office ‘cause it’s not. But not only have I been in high-profile matches, I’ve been in some pretty hostile crowds as well. Like everybody’s like, "Ooh! You worried it’s Miami? It’s The Rock’s backyard!" I’ve been in Hammerstein ballroom in New York facing the ECW faithful, I’ve face Edge in Toronto in a TLC ladder match, I’ve faced CM Punk in Chicago in Money in the Bank. I’ve been in some pretty savvy home crowds. This one’s gonna be fun. The year is over, it’s now to the point where we’re counting down the hours. This is really cool! It’s gonna be fun.
On mixed crowd support: Well, it’s always been back and forth. And in the entertainment business—what’s the line in Batman? "You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."—I’ve been here ten years; people have the way they feel about you. I’ve never been one to shun people feeling negative, and I think that I’m the first guy to do that, to not "turn heel" when they boo you. I kind of embrace it as, "You are the ticket-buyer, do as you please." And just as we’ve seen the waves go one way, they go crashing back another way. It’ll change, it’ll go back and forth, but the one thing that’ll remain constant is who I am and what I stand for.
It’s been a wonderful ride. I think it’s something you have to tune in to Raw every week to see what are they gonna do with Cena this week. It’s been wonderful, and along the same vein, it lets our audience be honest. We’re not preaching a program that is untrue to anybody. If you like this guy, cheer for him; if you don’t like this guy, boo him, but feel however you want about him. It’s a never-been-done-before scenario. It’s been a hell of a ride for me.
I think that’s the most important thing when people ask why don’t I change who I am? Because I know there are mass majority from the "Attitude Era" that will want me strung up and burned as a witch. But for every guy who says "Cena sucks!" there is a mom or a dad who will come up to me privately and say, "Thank you for being a good role model for my kids." And there’s the kids: You’re eight-year-old daughter, her friends, the little kids that I meet, their friends, the Make-A-Wish families that I meet. I think to be a bad guy in this business, you’ve gotta be a genuinely bad guy. As long as we have those families showing up, I’m gonna be who I am. And I think that’s most important, and that’s why I don’t care that there’s a split in the crowd.
On the WrestleMania 28 buildup: It’s been extremely hard. Especially on me, it’s been a lot of pressure; it’s been very mentally draining. But after the last Monday in Atlanta, I took a deep breath, thought about it, and realized that I couldn’t possibly do anymore to build up April 1. I think it is the biggest it can be. People realize what’s at stake. Not only do they realize it’s a marquee matchup—we have a lot of those—but they realize that I really don’t like the guy that I’m facing, which, in our business, is becoming more and more rare. It’s everything that a big fight is supposed to be.
On Disliking The Rock: There’s no other reason needed. I am company-proud through the good times and bad. We’ve gone through some difficult times in the WWE, and I’ve been the guy on front street trying to mend fences and make sure everybody knows that we still got a great product. And even in good times, I’m the guy who says this is the best business in the world. There are a lot of those, this business is a lot about making me the biggest superstar that "me" can be. I guess I’m just too much of a company guy.
"The guy leaves and drops his name and drops the business, and tells everybody that he’s done with it. Even up until before he came back last year to host WrestleMania, he was very adamant about, "No, I’m not going back there." Now he’s back and the first thing he does when he say he’s back is he’s never leaving, he loves everybody, and then we lose him for another amount of time, and then he comes back again… I truly couldn’t ask for a better opponent because he’s the biggest superstar the WWE has ever had. I just disagree with the way he thinks.
On "Cena-Lovers" vs. "Cena-Haters": "People who are vocal of their criticism, I get that. But at the same time, you can’t argue with what the company is doing business-wise. I was the first to beat the drum of Guys, we may need to switch the content because I would watch the people coming into the building every night. Go to a live show, see the audience, tell me I’m wrong. I’m on top of this stuff. I’m the guy walking through Access at 5:50am to make sure the set-up’s correct. I’m the guy who’s in the crowd somewhere that you can’t see when people file into the Garden for a live event.
"I’m on top of this, this is what I do. When I say I love the business, I don’t just love hitting the ropes and falling down in the ring; that’s beautiful. But I love the business, and I want it to be the best it can. I want it globally to be the biggest phenomenon it can. We just have to be here right now. And as frustrating as it is for some, I still think the program is unbelievably entertaining. We still have an unreal stable of superstars, and we’re able to go more places and more people can enjoy it.
It’s almost like when a garage band makes it. There’s those people who are like, Ah I wish they would be back to the garage band days! But then they go play sold-out stadiums and they’re on the Top 40 charts. You have to adapt and overcome. It’s just the way we have to be now.
On "Super Cena": "I’ve also lost a lot. And I think that’s another thing that critics tend to savor their own flavor of soup. You can look at my win-loss record. It’s as good as an average superstar. I mean, I’ve won a lot of marquee matches, but I’ve lost a lot of marquee matches. Who was in the main event last year at WrestleMania?