Thoughts on John Cena's comments about The Rock

I want to follow-up on the Q&A with John Cena that was posted yesterday, specifically his comments about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Some wrestling Web sites have put up a link to the interview with headlines such as “John Cena bashes The Rock.” Obviously that headline is designed to entice readers and drive traffic to those sites – which in turns helps my traffic, and I appreciate that. However, I completely disagree that Cena was “bashing” Johnson. Webster’s defines the word “bash” as “attacking or abusing, as with words or blows.”

I don’t think Cena was attacking Johnson when he said that Johnson contradicted himself by saying he loved the wrestling business and then leaving for Hollywood. I asked Cena a question and he responded with what he believes to be the truth.

The only thing that I thought was a bit harsh was when Cena equated Johnson leaving WWE to “an athlete saying, ‘Hey, I don’t do drugs,’ and then getting busted for drugs.” But we shouldn’t overlook that Cena also said: “The truth is that Dwayne Johnson is a great actor and I think always wanted to be an actor, and there’s nothing wrong with that. ... Dwayne’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s one of the hardest workers you’ll ever meet.”

One thing I do want to clarify is that the question I asked him wasn’t about whether he thought Johnson was insincere about his love for the business, it was whether he stood by his comment to The Sun (U.K.) last year that Johnson has not given back to the business. Cena replied: “I don’t want to say that you misread it; I may have been misquoted. What I actually said, and I’ll stand true to it to this day, I don’t even care, is that here’s a guy who, when he was with the WWE, pounded his chest that he really loved the WWE, and that wasn’t the truth.”

Just for the sake of accuracy, while Cena did indeed make that point in his interview with the British tabloid, he also was quoted as saying: “Our fan base have so much admiration for him, he's got to respect that. He doesn't give anything back.”

Here’s my take on the whole thing: I have interviewed Johnson a couple times since he left WWE and he has always spoken well of his time in wrestling. As far as Johnson giving back (which Cena defined in the U.K. Sun interview as just making an occasional cameo appearance on big shows), he did do a taped promo for Raw in 2007 and also appeared at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony last year (which took place a month after Cena’s comments). The funny thing is that reportedly some wrestlers thought that Johnson stayed on the stage too long at the ceremony. During his monologue, Johnson said: “I not only grew up in this business, but I love this business.” I believe him.

I also believe that Cena loves the business so much that he truly can’t imagine leaving it to pursue another career, even a more lucrative one. Then again, and I mean no disrespect to Cena, it’s probably unlikely that he would ever get the opportunities in Hollywood that Johnson has.

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Also in yesterday’s Q&A, Cena made reference to him and Randy Orton being “just two average guys among some very gifted performers” in Ohio Valley Wrestling between 2000 and 2002. In case anyone was wondering, some of the wrestlers in OVW during that period were Brock Lesnar, Batista, Shelton Benjamin, Nick “Eugene” Dinsmore, Charlie Haas and Rob Conway.

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