John Cena recently spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated. The full interview is at this link and below are highlights:
His time in the crowd at WrestleMania 34 was originally supposed to be short-lived, creative plans coming down to the wire that night:
"There were reservations about me in the audience. Originally, they wanted me to go out in the crowd for 10 minutes. I said, 'Absolutely not. I need a ticket, a physical ticket, I need a real seat, and I am going out in that arena when the doors open.'"
"It was rewarding to make an unbelievable moment believable. I also thought it was a great way to reintroduce an iconic character and let the audience know that character still exists and thrives, erasing all speculative activity that this character is gone."
His WrestleMania 34 loss to The Undertaker and praise for The Miz:
"I did not do well in this match. My 'WrestleMania Moment' was to spend the time in the crowd and not do well in a very short performance, but I loved it because it got the job done. The focus was not me, the focus was someone else. Often times, we look at things so selfishly, asking, 'What's in it for me?' Well, what was in it for me was the chance to reintroduce a WWE icon. I had to stretch the suspension of disbelief to its breaking point to do it, but it was awesome. Every single week, the crowd would chant at the top of its lungs and no one thought I would be sitting in the crowd at WrestleMania, but I was able to do that. I was able to go out and be handily defeated in three minutes and bring back an icon.
"That is a message to any performer who is complaining about their spot or that, creatively, they have nothing going for them. I've been first, I've been in the middle, I've been last. I just want to go out there and do something. There are a few performers who share my ideology, with The Miz being one of them. That's why he is skyrocketing into a new bracket as we speak, and I can't wait to see what he does next week. But there is also a lot of disdain and complacency. You should be happy with any sort of role, even if it is getting your tail kicked in."
His thoughts on the build to his WrestleMania 34 match:
"I loved it, I truly did, and I loved it for so many reasons. Our job is to entertain the audience, so that's number one. The story was amazingly unbelievable to the public, with a healthy, marquee superstar admitting, 'Hey, WrestleMania spots are earned. I've been on a losing streak, I've exhausted every option, so I shouldn't go to WrestleMania, especially with the flux of new talent.' But the fans, thinking they know that John Cena is a WWE staple and that I didn't have another project that same day, thought there was no way I wouldn't have had a match. Even if people did or didn't attach themselves to the story, I liked the fact that people still remained interested."
Source: Sports Illustrated