AEW on-air talent and former WWE Agent Arn Anderson recently discussed the beginning of the ‘Ruthless Aggression’ era in WWE. Anderson was answering a question from a fan regarding John Cena on the ARN podcast. Arn would describe why the company decided that Cena was to be christened ‘the face’ of the company going forward.
Arn Anderson on John Cena
“There was a meeting Vince [McMahon] had” Arn began. “I don’t remember what year it was, but it was time to make some changes. We were coming out of the Austin and Rock era, and those guys were going to be moving on doing their own thing. You had to fill a huge gaping hole, as far as personalities and talents. That were, not only bigger than life, they were bigger than the business at the time. They had exceeded everything that had ever been done before, you know Rock and Austin, when they were at their peak.”
Moving On From The Attitude Era
Arn elaborated further, saying that “we had a production meeting, McMahon said ‘guys we’re gonna move on. Here are the three guys that I want you to look at.’ It was Batista, Cena and Randy Orton. ‘And it needs to be one of these guys, or all of these guys. But these are the guys we’re going to go with.’ And I thought they were pretty good choices.”
“We went with him and every week it was a conscious decision on what was done with all of his content”
Anderson then went into each individual performer, and why Cena ended up being the main talent they went with. “They were [all] great. Randy was a natural, so he was going to come along a lot quicker as far as work rate. But Dave on SmackDown…when he was the face of SmackDown? Dave was the man. He was red hot. But Cena you know, they finally decided he was going to be the guy. Because, he wasn’t going anywhere. He wasn’t, you know. There were no negotiation [type] issues with him, he was going to be there as long as they wanted him to be there. And he ended up being the face of the company. Being a babyface and staying a babyface. Randy’s character took some trips back and forth. And Dave would go on and do some other things [in Hollywood]. So, You know, they decided on him [Cena]. We went with him and every week it was a conscious decision on what was done with all of his content. Whenever he was doing on the show or backstage or whatever. There was a lot of thought given to that.”