Long before John Cena became the face of WWE, he was using a gimmick of a semi-robotic character called The Prototype. The gimmick was used by Cena in developmental but was fortunately scrapped before he made his main roster debut.
Cena was on The Graham Norton Show where he talked about The Prototype gimmick and how he transitioned to simply, John Cena.
"It's trial and error with a lot of errors," Cena said of wrestling gimmicks. "My first try was The Prototype which was half-man, half-machine and 100 percent crap."
Cena said he demonstrated he was half-machine by talking authoritatively in a monotone voice. He would also say things, mock rewind what he said, and then say the same thing again to amplify the robotic aspect of his character.
Norton then asked Cena if the gimmick worked.
"No! No it didn't," Cena exclaimed. He then said he started using his real name of John Cena but some people still don't realize that it is his real name.
"People think like, 'hey man, how did you make up the name John Cena?' I was like, 'no dude, I would have made up the name Dick Hammerbush or something cool.'"
"You can't see me" has become synonymous with the John Cena gimmick and Cena, himself, explained how that was born.
"I was dared to do it," Cena admitted. "I was actually making the music to my own theme song and we played it for my brother…
"He was our litmus test to see what songs were good and what were bad. He did this (Cena puts his hand in front of his face and starts bobbing his head). I'm like, 'dude what are you doing?'"
His brother said that everyone does it and he got it from one of 50 Cent's music videos. Cena's brother then dared him to do it on TV and Cena thought, 'what do I have to lose?'
"And now for 15 years, because of a dare, I've been doing this [does you can't see me]. And I'll do you one better, people actually think I'm invisible."
Cena was on the show to promote his film Bumblebee while actor Matthew McConaughey was sitting next to him to promote White Boy Rick. McConaughey then told a story about his experience at a World Class Championship Wrestling event back in the day.
"You remember Hacksaw Jim Duggan, King Kong Bundy, Skandor Akbar and Kerry von Erich," McConaughey asks Cena. "I get kicked out of Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport, Louisiana for pelting Skandor Akbar with a bag of tomatoes."
Akbar was a heel manager in WCCW who often threw fireballs at opponents and McConaughey exacted some level of revenge by throwing tomatoes at him.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Graham Norton Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Graham Norton Show