Few people can claim to be the greatest of all time in professional wrestling, but according to Cody Rhodes, John Cena is “GOAT level.” Rhodes also revealed that Cena helped him through a tumultuous time that saw the American Nightmare receive some very Cena-esque treatment from the fans — albeit in a different promotion.

WWE is honoring Cena throughout all of June for the 20th anniversary of his televised debut with the company, and Rhodes and other WWE superstars have reflected on what he has taught them in a video put out by WWE’s Twitter account. The American Nightmare revealed that Cena gave him advice during a “polarizing time” in his career, when the AEW audience would start dueling chants of “let’s go Cody” and “Cody sucks” late in Rhodes’ run with the company he helped found.

“He very eloquently told me to be honest with myself as to why a crowd would react that way,” Rhodes said. “Look in a mirror, and if you feel you’re doing the right thing, keep doing it.”

Cena would know — he’s spent the majority of his career dealing with massive stadiums full of fans whose response to him was split down the middle into two opposing but equally vocal segments. WWE was ultimately forced to acknowledge the “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” chants and even made them part of a storyline between Cena and Paul Heyman in 2015, in which Heyman urged Cena to turn his back on an audience that didn’t appreciate him. But of course, Cena was, in the words of Rhodes, “the ultimate good guy,” a characterization born not only from Cena’s character, but from his understanding of how to interact with the crowd.

“If the crowd starts making any noise … you have to reward them,” Rhodes said, referring to another piece of advice Cena once gave him. “You have to give them something, whether it’s just coming to your feet, or whether it’s just showing the intent, that fist, there has to be something.”

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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