John Cena addressed his reputation of “burying younger talent” in a new interview with The Wrap to help promote the return of his reality competition “American Grit,” which premieres Sunday on Fox.
“If you look at my existence in WWE, I have never asked anyone and will never ask anyone to pull any punches,” Cena explained. “I believe that it’s a ‘Strong Survive’ environment, and accept nothing less. I think people forget my [history] in WWE sometimes and the fact that I truly had to earn every inch. There is this overwhelming perception that I am protected and coddled — that couldn’t be father from the truth.”
The comments were in response to talk about his “vicious promos” earlier this year on SmackDown with The Miz, which of course culminated with the mixed tag team match at WrestleMania 33, also featuring each of their significant others, Nikki Bella and Maryse.
John said, “I just believe you bring your best to every story and you bring your best to every fight. And if my skills aren’t as good, then it’s time to step back. It’s just a matter of believing in myself and going out there and speaking from the heart. I believe that sometimes that’s something missing in some of the WWE storylines … being honest and brave enough to put everything out there on the table.”
As for having a reputation of “burying younger talent,” Cena says he always speaks from his heart and brings his best.
“This is why I have the reputation of quote-unquote ‘burying younger talent,’ because I will let them do whatever they want with me — and then after they get done, they’re not as motivated,” Cena remarked. “So, it’s not that I sink their ship, it’s that they fail to operate at an elite level. And I’m on to the next person, [to] whom I say, “Hey man, bring your best punch and I’m gonna punch back” — and they don’t take that attitude beyond me.”
John believes this approach really helped turn a match no one wanted to see at WrestleMania 33 into one of the best things on WWE television of the year. He elaborated on his systematic approach, “I take that approach to everyone. The Miz story couldn’t be a better example of that, because when that story started … no one wanted to see that match. No one. I made it a point to have everyone work as hard as they could to change everyone’s mind.”
“And now here you are, months after the fact, saying that was one of the most entertaining things done on television,” Cena continued. “That just goes to show you that it’s all just about how much you’re willing to invest and how strongly you believe in what you want to do.”