I had the opportunity of meeting John Cena on his way up when he was wrestling as the Prototype at UPW in the Los Angeles area. We had the chance to have a sit-down chat which I’m sure that he has probably forgotten. Suffice it to say he was biding his time until he got a shot in the WWE. (Samoa Joe also wrestled for the organization as well.)
Finally, he received the call, and it was just a matter of time until he was headlining WrestleMania and developed a loyal worldwide following.
John was no dummy. He knew that he had the goods to branch out, but he had the common sense to know that he had to prove himself as a performer before Hollywood took him seriously.
Then Hollywood started calling. Most action heroes such as Schwarzenegger, Van Damme and Stallone were too long in the tooth to play action heroes. Cena has acquitted himself as bonafide action star in “12 Rounds”, and proved he had comic chops in “Trainwreck”; the outtakes are downright hysterical. The filter came off and things started flying out of his mouth that were hilarious.
Dwayne Johnson knew when to segue out of wrestling and to start building his empire in front of and behind the camera. He had run his course in the WWE. Cena isn’t getting any younger and the handwriting is on the wall. He’s done everything. There’s honestly nowhere left for him to go in the WWE. He’s smart enough to know that he doesn’t want to follow in the Undertaker’s footsteps and be trotted out until he’s too busted up (by the way, the WWE should be ashamed of themselves by taking the Undertaker out the way they did. I’m sure that Mark was happy for the payday, but is that how he wanted to be remembered?)
So Cena has branched out; he’s done American Grit. He had a great role in Trainwreck, but John’s latest film with Adam Driver FLOPPED. He’s playing a supporting character in the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg film. Right now, John is paying his dues in Hollywood just like he did when he started in the WWE. It’s going to take time for him to headline a movie that isn’t produced by WWE’s filmmaking arm. How long will it take him to open a film and not pay second fiddle? Time will tell.
Would Cena go back to the Indys where he started? It’s worked for Cody Rhodes, but for John, that’s a big fat NAH.
I remember my conversation with John. I knew he had star power back then. He knew he had what it took to be great. Despite his insistence that he’ll be back, he’ll be following in Dwayne’s footsteps, and not a moment too soon.
John, whatever you do, please embarrass yourself like Dwayne. Don’t do Jumanji 3, Journey to the Center of the Earth 3, or Tooth Fairy 4. Please. And if Hollywood pushes you to sell out to the Hollywood Regurgitron, you have our permission to piledrive your agent.