John Cena Comments On Seeing The Rock For The First Time In A While On WWE SmackDown

For the first time in years, both John Cena and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson were present at a taping of "WWE SmackDown" last month. Appearing on a recent edition of WWE's "The Bump," Cena was asked what it meant to him to stand alongside his rival once again but opted to correct the question a bit before diving into their relationship.

"Thank you for the question," Cena said. "I want to adjust it a little bit. 'What was it like to see a friend that I haven't seen in a long time?' And in between the times we've spent with each other, I've openly kind of come to a realization that the first foray into us competing against each other probably was a professional mistake on my part, and I've been very apologetic and open with my apology."

The episode last month saw Johnson appear in a segment with Pat McAfee and Austin Theory, with Johnson and Theory verbally sparring before Johnson landed some of his iconic moves on the young star. As for Cena, the future WWE Hall of Famer is in the midst of a return run that has seen him team up with LA Knight against The Bloodline.

Friction Between Cena And Johnson

The animosity between Cena and Johnson, while no longer active, dates back more than a decade. Cena stated that, during his 2011-2012 feud against The Rock, he made comments about his opponent in an attempt to heighten their rivalry. However, Cena now regrets the comments and was happy to be able to speak to Johnson about the issue in person.

"That's the first time we'd seen each other since publicly apologizing for that," Cena continued. "And I just wanted to make sure he heard it from me face-to-face as well, and it was really nice to see a friend."

The comments Cena is referring to saw him tearing down The Rock in interviews and on TV, questioning his work ethic after leaving WWE for Hollywood. Cena would later go on to become a Hollywood star himself, returning to WWE for part-time stints, like Johnson. Cena would then go on to explain why it was so important to make things right with Johnson.

"Respect is something that's one of my core values," Cena said. "It's on every hat. It's on every shirt. It's on every towel. But I believe respect is earned, and I think mutual respect for your peers — it needs to be reciprocal."