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.