John Cena Speaks Candidly On WWE’s Lack Of New Stars, How Much He Controls His Character, How To Get To The Next Level In WWE & More

John Cena was the latest guest on The Steve Austin Show, speaking candidly with Steve Austin about his position in the company, why some Superstars aren’t breaking through to the next level, what goes through his mind when the crowd hijacks a match, why he’s learning Mandarin, and much more. In addition, Cena invited Austin to get back into the ring at WrestleMania 31. Below are some excerpts:

On getting mixed reactions:

I think a lot of the reason the reactions are the way they are is, for quite a few years, WWE didn’t step up to the plate and correctly build new superstars and correctly provide new main event talent. I often tell people that I’m working with, if they’re in the ring, and half the fans are cheering me, and the other half are booing me, shouldn’t you be the one that’s mad? Because they’re not noticing you at all. People talk about being a babyface and being a heel. What happens when there’s no one? Right now I’m very excited, not only for stuff like the WWE Network, but I think we are on the cusp of getting a true all-star lineup for the first time in a long time. We have a lot of guys who, if not making some noise, that are about to make some serious noise. And I think you’ll see that go away. And I’m objectively looking at it, because when you have one dude, and you’re trying to make superstars off of that dude, a majority of the audience just recognizes that one guy. And that’s why when you have a feud with Daniel Bryan or a feud with The Rock, you don’t hear the “Let’s go Cena, Cena sucks” as much. It’s cheer for one guy, boo the other guy. But when it’s a one-man party out there, often times, the crowd is attached to the one man.

On how much creative input he has in regards to his character:

Oddly enough, you hear these stories about guys planning their own future or whatever. I’m not really good at quote unquote booking stuff. I don’t understand – I don’t want to say it doesn’t interest me, but I’m good with “Hey, we have this for you.” Okay, I’m gonna take this, I’m gonna try to make it great. [...] That’s actually helped me in a way, because I never look forward to this or hang my hat on “Well, I got this great idea and they didn’t use it.” So many guys are like, “Oh, they didn’t use my idea.” They just don’t do that. You have to be able to take the steak that they give you, even if it’s Waffle House-thin, and make it taste good. So I get excited about working with new guys or giving new guys an opportunity. There’s also so many people that will say, “Oh, he’s just hogging the spotlight. He won’t even give anybody a chance.” I could give you a list as long as the Constitution of “Please, let’s do this! I think this guy has potential, let’s go with him,” and that started back in Albany with Edge when we did the Elimination Chamber when he won his first championship. Every single person who had a thought on that told me not to do it, but I thought it was gonna be great.

Advice to talent about pitching ideas and reaching the next level:

If I could use your airtime, because hopefully some of my colleagues are gonna be listening: people think [Vince McMahon] is unattainable. And this is an individual business. It’s built on individual personalities. I am the guy who’s the total other way. I’m a company guy. I’m a team guy. But if you’re an individual and you have something you believe is successful, why don’t you take it to your boss? Why don’t you take it: “I have this, I want to do this.” Let him say no. But a lot of people get stuck at that door, and that’s where the gossip sites or whatever develop this black cloud of “Oh, there’s this sort of politics and there’s this sort of BS.” The politics for me at the end of the day is to make sure our bottom line is the best it can be. So if I got a guy who I think is gonna make some noise out there, why wouldn’t I? No matter what he looks like, no matter what he works like. We’re in the business of making individuals, and all Creative can do is do its best to estimate what that individual wants to say. And a lot of times, you’ve got someone who isn’t you trying to create for you, and if you don’t take your destiny into your own hands, you’re gonna be reading off the paper.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

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  • The Ultimate Rooster

    He’s a team guy but he won’t put people over clean. In 10 years he’s put one rising star over clean. A team player would have put Cesaro over clean on Raw. That would have helped Cesaro push to the next level Cena is talking about. A clean loss would have done Cena no harm and would have done a great deal for Cesaro at the time wrestling urgently needs new stars.
    Cena is selfish as ever, doesn’t put people over, doesn’t work on his gimmick or his wrestling shortcomings (of which there are plenty), calls his shots loud enough for the audience to hear, and worst of all NEVER sells an opponents moves for long enough.
    Cena does more to hinder others in wrestling than he does to help build new stars. Don’t believe the bullshit.

    • Cap’n Cook

      Yes, because the wrestlers really decide who wins and loses every night, don’t they. Of course the wrestlers are allowed to go out there and decide “it’s wrong they want me to win, I’ll just lose and then see what everyone says in the back”.

      • The Ultimate Rooster

        He’s John Cena. He has A LOT of sway. All the top stars do and have done for years. Michaels, Hart, Austin, Hogan etc etc.
        Austin quit because he wouldn’t put Lesnar over. Hart wouldn’t put Michaels over clean which led to the Montreal screw job.

        • ron

          Like he said. He isn’t the booker. One name that he mentioned Edge

    • JR Texx (Jamie)

      he won’t put over people clean? CM Punk.. Daniel Bryan.. Sheamus..

      • Xavier

        I’ve already destroyed the Cena boo bird arguments of “he never loses clean”. Something that I have pointed out and will probably have to do so again is that Cena has lost more matches clean as the “face of the company” then Bruno, Backlund, Hogan & Austin did combined when they were “the face of the company”.

        • JR Texx (Jamie)

          It’s true. Oh well, I guess Cena is Cena, never putting people over is his way of life, guess he just wants to keep his spot.

          He’s probably put every person he’s ever been in the ring with over at some point.

      • Bob’s Diner

        In all fairness, he never actually put over Punk ‘clean’ – there was always something going on that caused him to lose… however, he does lose a lot. More than he probably should

        • JR Texx (Jamie)

          What about when CM Punk took the title at MITB and when his contract ran out?

          • Snap

            Cena has an out in that one as well. Laurinaitis came to the ring to “screw” Punk over but Cena wouldn’t have any of it an confronted Laurinaitis. This distraction was key in Punk getting the win.

    • Robert D Miller

      his whole point was that the suits don’t think that anyone on the roster is above him because of the single mindedness of the suits so they are not going to put anyone over clean with him until that day happens and besides the fact that your point is moot because he has put people over clean when the SUITS have asked him to do so because he is a “company” guy and not out for himself such as a few other currant and “former” stars have done

    • Bob’s Diner

      For all the complaints you can make about John Cena, losing matches isn’t one of them. It is part of his character and is what helps make it a big deal when someone beats him. If anything, I think he is overexposed right now and shouldn’t be losing as much as he is. He shouldn’t be losing clean on Raw to anyone – otherwise when someone beats him at a big event, it will seem all ‘ho hum’ because anyone can do that

  • Lebron James

    No, Cena. The reason you get mixed (Mostly Negative) reactions is because your character hasn’t changed a bit since 05. You went stale 9 years ago and didn’t make a single character change since. Your in ring abilities have improved dramatically, and I commend you for it. Character wise, you’re the same damn guy.