John Cena recently sat down with Chris Van Vliet for an in-depth interview. Among the topics discussed, Cena explained what he had said to Roman Reigns after he announced his leukemia had returned, how getting over in Hollywood compares to getting over in a WWE ring, and his status as a part time professional wrestler.
One of the final feuds Cena was involved in before his most recent hiatus was against Roman Reigns, which came to a head in the fall of 2017. On the October 22, 2018 episode of Monday Night Raw, Reigns announced that his leukemia was out of remission and he would be taking time away from WWE to focus on his health and recovery. Cena revealed what he messaged Reigns following the announcement.
"I texted him the day of the announcement, just letting him know that he is in really good hands," Cena said. "He is part of a very exclusive fraternity. We all love him for what he has done. We all respect the fact that he is taking care of his health, which is first and foremost. And I told him if he needs anything, he knows where to find me. And I know Joe, I know Joe is a tough s.o.b. I don't ever expect him to say, 'Hey man, I need this.' I don't ever expect to get that text, but if I ever do, I think we have a mutual understanding that it is as good as done."
First starring in The Marine in 2006, Cena's film career has grown in to starring roles in big budget Hollywood films and working with some of Hollywood's top producers like Judd Apatow and Steven Spielberg. Cena compared his success in Hollywood to his success in a WWE ring, saying that both can be attributed to listening to the what the director has in mind.
"So, performing in a WWE realm is unbelievable because it is that thrill of improvisational storytelling," Cena began. "You can listen to the immediate response and change your story to cater to the people who are in the building. An audience in Miami isn't going to be the same as Chicago, isn't going to be the same as Montreal, and Montreal the last time isn't gonna be the same as this time. That's what I love about it. That's why I'll never leave it. That's why I got a month to myself and I'm going to do live events. Not even TV's, I'm just going to do live events because I can't get away from it. I love it. I think you feel— and it's a creative process so it's different for everyone.
"Some actors are gonna be like, 'Nailed it! Got it!' I feel most comfortable in establishing an open and honest dialogue with the director. The director is the person who sees the whole movie as a shot list, knows exactly what we're doing, know exactly what they want in the edit, knows how the finished product is going to come out. I guess this would hearken back to my relationship with Vince [McMahon] and the people who produce our television. How do you shoot this? How do you make it look? How can I help you make the best thing? 'Well, I need you to do this.' There are creative feelings inside me who would love to be a bad guy in WWE. That ain't gonna happen because that's not my job. My job is to be who I am. And that comes from my director."
Ever since Cena revealed his new coif haircut at Super Showdown in Australia, fans have been poking fun at him. Cena agreed that the new hairdo will look strange on his WWE character once he returns and it may even interfere with wearing his signature ball caps.
"It's gonna look weird. Yeah, I don't know if I can wear a cap," Cena said with a chuckle. "You'll see."
Cena's transition from full-time wrestler to Hollywood leading man and, subsequently, part-time wrestler has been heavily scrutinized, especially considering Cena once mocked Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson for maintaining a similar schedule. Cena explained that he has since apologized to Johnson for the comments he made during their rivalry, and that Johnson deserves credit for Cena's success in both Hollywood and the WWE. Cena then confirmed the claims of him becoming a part-timer to accommodate his Hollywood schedule and said he didn't expect to change people's opinions about it.
"I owe a lot of what I've done in WWE and in cinema to Dwayne Johnson," Cena said. "He's always been genuine, he's always shot straight— and that's on TV and off TV. We have a very good rapport with each other and I've told this to him, that I'm sorry, and I can tell it to you. I spoke out of ignorance, I was wrong, and I'm sorry. So for any WWE person right now saying 'You're a part timer. You're going to Hollywood.' They're absolutely right. And if they can't see why I'm making those moves, I don't expect them to. I don't expect to change their mind."
You can check out Cena's full comments in the video above.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chris Van Vliet with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.