In an interview with Sportskeeda, AEW announcer Jim Ross detailed how he discovered John Cena while he still worked for WWE. Ross, who served as head of talent relations for WWE from the mid 90’s till 2005, revealed he was actually scouting someone else when he first laid eyes on the future sixteen time world champion.
“John was up in Southern California, working part-time in several jobs; moving company, truck driver, just a litany of things, while he was training with Rick Bassman in UPW in Southern California,” Ross said. “I was up there and actually scouting somebody else, I can’t remember who it was now. John looked like Sting, long-flat top haircut, so we had our little sit down.
“We have our sit down and get to know each other and I found out he’s a former All-American center. I found out his strength coach has now become the coach at Oklahoma University, I find out he knew as much wrestling trivia as anybody that I had been around, so a true student of the game.”
Ross was so impressed that he flew back to WWE headquarters immediately and told Vince of Cena’s potential. In hindsight, Ross was so high on Cena that Vince had trouble believing the Peacemaker star was as good as advertised.
“I remember I took the red-eye that night, LAX to New York City,” Ross recalled. “And I was so excited to meet this guy that I went to the office first and I caught Vince and I’m still in my wrinkled sleepy clothes. He says, ‘where you been?’ I told him. ‘You see anybody you like?’ I said, ‘as a matter of fact I did. I think I saw a kid that will headline WrestleMania in five years or less.’ Vince said, ‘I think you need to go home and take a shower. You’re delusional.’ But I was high on John Cena.”