Talking with a handful of reporters on the set of FOX’s upcoming reality television show American Grit, former WWE champion John Cena addressed his time away from the company, which by the time he comes back it would be two months.
“I’ve been a cornerstone of WWE programming since 2002. That’s a long time, it’s more than 10 years. So much so that a portion of our audience has direct complacency with me. ‘Man, Cena holds everybody down. He doesn’t give the new guys a chance,’” Cena said in the interview posted by Zap2It.com.
Cena said that he holds WWE very near and dear to his heart but challenged the “boys” to step up in his absence. “I’m gone, let’s see who steps up. And I like that.”
During the same interview, Cena said he sort of understand the path Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson took after he left WWE, saying that at a certain point you can’t attract any more fans. Cena was a big critic of Johnson who always said he loved WWE but he quit anyway. The two settled the score over two WrestleManias.
“As much as I want to try to distance myself or as much as someone who views me would try to distance myself from WWE, I’m never going to go,” Cena added. “I’ve done as much as I can, 15 world championships and a myriad of other accomplishments. I don’t know what left I can do, but I still want to be able to put people in the building.”
The former champ said that it “kills him” that he’s healthy and cannot wrestle, but watches Raw every week. “But at the same time, if we don’t have a future I don’t have any accomplishments. It’s cool to see the guys stepping up, it really is.”