Ahead of John Cena’s return to WWE SmackDown on July 16, he is doing a ton of media interviews to promote F9.
Cena spoke with Chris Van Vliet this week to talk about his WWE return, Roman Reigns, turning heel, and the biggest lesson he learned from Vince McMahon.
Here are some highlights:
Cena is playing a bad guy in Fast & Furious 9. He was asked, “Is this as close to a heel turn that we didn’t get in WWE?”
Cena said, “I think this is a beginning to showcase the fact that it’s possible. Now as WWE invests and builds its roster, and has a wealth of talent, and truly has many different anchors to the ship now, certainly Roman being a very marketable and definitive star, I think the reason for me not exploring that side is because the WWE didn’t feel confident that they had an alternative. I respect that business choice. I really do. But now with them really laying the foundation for their future, even for the next decade or so, maybe, I don’t know, but what I do like about ‘Fast’ is that I’m a human being like everyone else. I experience anger, sadness, bitterness, resentment, all those emotions like we all do, and I’m given a forum to display it. Just like Trainwreck, I’m always known for my childish comedy in WWE because it’s a PG show. Then if I’m put on a R-rated comedy, everybody is like, ‘Wow, he actually cusses.’ Yea, of course, it’s a R-rated comedy. It’s like being able to get a new set of tools and work with those tools.”
“What have you done to work on your craft to become the actor that you are now?”
Cena: “If you look at it from that perspective. I started out doing movies as a business decision. Steve Austin was originally supposed to do ‘The Marine.’ He passed. Vince said, ‘I need you to go to Australia, this was like two weeks before shooting, and explain that we can bolster WWE Studios, and we will bolster live event attendance so we can do larger buildings, and we can be more widespread. I’m like, ‘This guy’s on to something. Alright, let’s go do this thing so I can get back to the ring.’ That’s the wrong approach to take, but I continued to take that approach to the movies that I did. In turn, I did a lot of bad movies. So now transfer that into WWE speak. This match would be good for the energy drink that I’m trying to sell, and if more people like the matches, more people will drink the energy drink. No, you have to have a match because you f*cking love to have those matches, and you want to be there, and you want to be in the middle of it and look around the majesty. So, it wasn’t until the ‘Fred’ movies where I can parody myself, and that was the start of all that. Right after that, ‘Trainwreck’, where I can have fun with the process and expect nothing out of it, ‘Fred’ was a cameo, ‘Trainwreck’ was a cameo, and I did a bunch of others, ‘Sisters’, a bunch of other small cameos where it was like, ‘Stop looking at this as a vehicle and start looking at this as creative fun.’ The thing is, I was looking at WWE like that all the time. WWE isn’t a vehicle for me to go anywhere else. WWE is where I want to be. Then I fell in love with falling into another character, taking off the jorts (jean shorts) every once and a while, and showing my ass on television. It’s fun, it’s imaginative, and it keeps the passion for WWE. If they change my character, heel or babyface, it doesn’t matter because I have these other outlets that I can express those emotions that I want to do. I just really had to change my perception, and that came with tremendous failure. I thought after all those bad movies that I was done. 15 years later, I got a second chance at the movie business, and here we are talking about ‘Fast 9.’ That’s amazing, but it comes through absolute, fall on your face, failure.”
Click below to check out the full interview:
If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Chris Van Vliet with a h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription. Also, be sure to subscribe to “Insight with Chris Van Vliet” on your mobile device by clicking here if you have an iOS device or here on your Android device.