When you think about the history John Cena has had with WWE it’s really mind blowing. Tuesday, June 27th will mark the fifteen anniversary of John Cena popping up on SmackDown live, yelling “ruthless aggression”, and popping Kurt Angle in the face. That moment in time started what became one of the greatest runs in pro wrestling history.
That being said, you wouldn’t think Vince McMahon’s first impression of John Cena would be enough to tell Bruce Prichard to “get that walking, talking steroid billboard out of our backstage” but according to Prichard that’s exactly what happened.
On a recent episode of the juggernaut podcast “Something To Wrestle” Bruce and co-host Conrad Thompson spent a few hours talking about John Cena’s rise in WWE where one of the best parts was everyone’s first impressions of the future Big Match John.
Previously in the podcast Prichard recalled his own first impression of John Cena when he told him “if you want to make it in the pro wrestling business you got to get off the gas kid” implying he thought Cena was on steroids. Cena competed as a bodybuilder since his youth and actually came in second place in his first competition at the age of 16 because the judges were convinced he was on performance enhancing substances. But Cena has always tested clean and was just that much of a physical anomaly.
“We send [John Cena] in right there that day — it’s like you sign your contract and you have to go in and do your test that day” Prichard recalled. “And part of those tests were your drug test, your blood test, all of the other health stuff a talent has to go through and John passed everything with flying colors. So we were in Los Angeles at Staples Arena and I will never forget it. Cena comes back, signs his contract, his tests come back, he’s clean as a whistle, and Vince walks up to me and says ‘get that walking, talking steroid billboard out of our backstage!’ I’m like ‘who?’ — ‘That guy!’ and he’s pointing out Cena. I’m like: ‘Vince, we just signed him.'”
“Godd-mn!” Vince replied to which Bruce Prichard said, “his tests came back and he’s completely clean.” Prichard said Vince cursed some more and just moved along.
“Vince made the initial assumption that I think everybody made when they saw John, especially back in those days” Prichard said. “[Cena] was doing commercials for Gold’s Gym and he was ripped to shreds. But that was Vince’s first impression of John Cena: a walking, talking steroid billboard.”
But honestly it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that John wasn’t taking any kind of PED because after all you can’t spell “clean” without “Cena.”
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit Something To Wrestle With Bruce Prichard with a H/T to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription