In 2006, WWE Films (formerly known as WWF Entertainment and later as WWE Studios) came out with its fifth movie: “The Marine,” starring John Cena in his feature film debut. At the time the movie began filming in 2004, Cena was smack-dab in the middle of his “Doctor of Thuganomics” gimmick — the storyline about him being stabbed by Carlito’s bodyguard during their feud for the WWE United States Championship was introduced to give Cena some time off to shoot the movie — but when the film actually came out, Cena was a true superstar, a WrestleMania headliner, 3-time WWE Champion, and the new face of Vince McMahon’s company.

If that all seems like a happy accident, it’s because that’s what it was. It’s been rumored that “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was McMahon’s first choice for the lead role in “The Marine,” but another WWE Hall of Famer said he was offered the part after Austin left the company.

“The Marine was supposed to be my movie,” Angle revealed during the latest episode of “The Kurt Angle Show.” “What happened was, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin was told that he was going to do ‘The Marine ‘ … Steve left the company, so Vince gave the movie to me. I had it, and they weren’t sure when they were going to film it. A year went by, and then Vince came to me and said ‘Hey listen, I want to give that Marine movie to John Cena.’

“I was like, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Well, he’s becoming an upcoming star, I think this is the right time for him to do a movie.’ I said, ‘Vince, listen, that’s cool, I’m happy for John, that’s great that he’s going to do this movie, but he really needs to be in the ring working. And I’m injured! I need to take time off from wrestling, I would love to take six months off and do a movie, that would be great!’ He said, ‘Well, I already made up my mind.’”

“I wasn’t mad at John, I was mad at Vince,” Angle continued. “He just took the movie away from me because this new kid came in and made a huge impact. I made a huge impact too! So I wasn’t sure why that happened. It actually was the beginning of the end for me in the WWE. After that was when things started to go downhill, and about a year or two later, that’s when I left the company.”

Angle left WWE in 2006, with his last televised match with the company happening before “The Marine” was even released. He was quickly hired by Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling, now known as Impact, and spend 11 years there before returning to WWE in 2017. On previous episodes of the podcast, the WWE Hall of Famer has described in-depth the reasons why he left the company and even detailed an altercation he almost had with McMahon over nasty voice messages and texts he sent the WWE CEO.

John Cena, meanwhile, has gone on to star in franchises like “Transformers,” “Fast & Furious,” and “The Suicide Squad,” and recently saw his spin-off series “Peacemaker” break records for HBO Max.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Kurt Angle Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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