John Cena Details Aborted Heel Turn In WWE

Though you can argue that he's grown more three-dimensional over time, it's safe to say that John Cena has maintained the same character for nearly the entirety of his WWE career. Despite many calls from fans and some within the industry to see Cena turn heel onscreen, the wrestler-turned-actor has maintained his role as a good guy throughout his full-time and part-time runs. However, appearing on "Insight with Chris Van Vliet," Cena revealed that the company initially planned to turn him heel during his 2011 feud against Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.


"I got word that they were gonna do it," Cena said. "I went out and recorded a new song. I went out and got all new gear."

Recalling a moment from very early in his career, Cena said he was unprepared for WWE's Ruthless Aggression era. Cena considers his debut showdown against Kurt Angle that spawned the catchphrase a failure. He didn't want to be unprepared for his impending heel turn, which is why the wrestler was quick to outfit himself with seven new wrestling singlets, boxing robes, and more.

"I was ready to go and already thinking about what I can do with the story," Cena continued. "What is a heel? A heel is not just new gear. ... The message behind the singlet and the boxing robes and the boots is it's the exact opposite of what you saw with the street gear."


Creative Ideas for Cena's Heel Turn

Cena's idea was to lean in the complete opposite direction of his previous character. According to the actor, his plan was to stop working as hard, become untrustworthy and disloyal, and begin making fewer appearances for fans.


"All those things you can take and make interesting stories," Cena stated. "And this is the stuff that's running through my head, not what moves can I do. It's like how can I take the intellectual property that people are familiar with and twist it so it's like this guy's insane. It's everything I've come to love and now I genuinely hate it."

However, the decision was made not to turn the perennial hero. It came down to dollars and cents, as heels sell less merchandise than the good guys, and that would mean a lot of lost revenue for the company.

According to Cena, that was the primary explanation for his hesitation to turn heel throughout his career. The "Peacemaker" star said he would have been happy to become a villain if so much revenue didn't rely on his merchandise sales and the positive image he represented for the company. The WWE star felt responsible for keeping that success going rather than taking a chance with a major character turn.


If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "Insight with Chris Van Vliet" with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.