WWE legend John Cena joined The Pat McAfee Show to promote Peacemaker, which began streaming today on HBO Max. The two also talked some wrestling, with John Cena reflecting back on his return to WWE this past summer. To this day, Cena remains surprised at such the positive reception he got, especially compared to the polarizing response he usually got during his heyday.

“I’m probably at the point where I could be deemed a nostalgia act and you got to see that pretty first hand,” Cena said. “And not to say that I didn’t treat it very seriously, I love every single time I step on the canvas. But man, had you showed up a little before that, it wasn’t exactly all of the same reaction that it was for ‘SummerCena.’ ‘SummerCena’, to me, I was caught by surprise every single arena I went to because it’s usually much more, as Michael Cole would say ‘polarizing’ than that. So that was kind of my first experience where I would say a majority of the audience appreciated my presence there because, normally, it’s weird.

“You try to go out and play a character of virtue, a character with a virtuous foundation, and people tell you to f-ck off. And they would really tell me that. That’s an interesting combination and I think that’s what makes WWE beautiful and the live audience so special. Because they decide how they feel about characters.

“You can be a virtuous character and you can be a character built on hard work, loyalty, respect, you can embody perseverance. You can embody that and the audience as a collective can choose, ‘hey, this isn’t what we’re into right now. We’d prefer something more great or something more flawed.'”

John Cena returned to WWE at WWE Money in the Bank to confront Roman Reigns, leading to a match between the two at SummerSlam for Reigns’ WWE Universal Championship. Cena was ultimately unsuccessful in defeating Reigns, and hasn’t appeared on WWE TV since the loss.

You can watch John Cena’s interview below.

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