WWE's John Cena Discusses Early Failures & Why His Hard Times Were By Choice

While his in-ring resume reflects a Hall of Fame-worthy career, John Cena has also been crafting a career outside of wrestling. With his gradual transition into the acting world, Cena has now become one of Hollywood's hottest movie stars — a stark contrast to his early ventures in California. Speaking on "Hart to Heart," Cena recounted his rather rocky journey to success. "My whole existence is based on a series of unfortunate events that kind of lined up with each other," he said. Looking back on his adolescence, Cena mentioned that he was unaware that professional wrestling was a possible career option.

With his parents pushing him "to get a real job," Cena pursued a degree in exercise physiology and kinesiology at Springfield College in Massachusetts. Upon graduation, Cena moved to California in an effort to apply his degree somewhere. Unfortunately, those plans didn't pan out quite as expected. "I couldn't get any sort of validation for that piece of paper that I paid for, that four-year certificate from Springfield College saying, 'We think you know what you're talking about.' Then I go out to try to [get a job and say], 'I got this.' [They were] like, 'I don't give a sh**.'"

"Knowledge is one thing. Life experience, wisdom is another. Maybe I rubbed the people the wrong way," Cena pondered. "Maybe I didn't know how to carry myself in interviews. Maybe I didn't search the right places. This is 1999, so it's we're not as interconnected as we all are now. But I failed to the point of like, man, I'm living in my car, I love it out here, but I think I got to go back [home]."

Enduring The Hard Times

Despite repeated attempts to secure a job in fitness, and even once as a police officer, Cena struck out. As a result, Cena had to adopt some scrappy tactics to stay afloat financially. "I remember bouncing at a place called Sharkeez in Hermosa Beach, and there was a pizza place, Zeppy's Pizza, right next to Sharkeez. They had a deal where they had a challenge if you could eat their whole pizza, you got it for free. I used to eat there every night, a whole pizza, so I didn't have to pay because I didn't have money to pay the guy."

Eventually, Cena was able to move out of his 1991 Lincoln Continental and into a garage. Through all the trials and tribulations, though, Cena says it was his decision to endure the hard times.

"I'm very fortunate for my story because it was my choice to have hard times. My father always said, 'You're my son. I love you. You're always welcome back home.' If I could get to West Newbury, Massachusetts, I would be fed. I would have a roof over my head. I would be able to regroup. I chose to stay out," Cena explained.

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "Hart to Heart" with a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.