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Nobody has had more success in making the transition from the WWE ring to the big screen than Dwayne 'The Rock" Johnson. He hasn't simply built a successful career but he's one of the highest paid actors in the world and one of the most in-demand names in the industry. A few years ago, The Rock made a brief return to the WWE where he went head-to-head with the company's current big star John Cena, who was quite critical of the man who had left WWE for greener pastures. Now that Cena is making more movies himself, he now admits he was out of line being critical of Johnson, as he now understands just what goes into making a movie. Because it isn't all about the actor. According to Cena...
From a genuine standpoint, if you're taking it from more than entertainment, if you're taking it for 'okay, what you said was absolutely personal,' I'm sorry, I was wrong, and I spoke out of ignorance. When you do a movie you are not allowed to do anything else. Because if I go do Monday Night Raw and Seth Rollins puts my nose over here, that messes up the movie. And not just like 'well, you've messed up the movie.' People don't understand, there are 150 people on a movie set who are financially dependent on that movie getting done on time, that movie moving costs everybody money and sets the movie up to fail, which means we don't get to do another movie, which means these people don't get to make money. This is their livelihood.
As far back as 2008, John Cena had made public comments where he called out Dwayne Johnson for the way in which he had distanced himself from the WWE as his Hollywood career began to take off. In 2011, when The Rock made his return to WWE and began a two-year long program with John Cena, those words returned as well and became the backbone of the feud between the two. John Cena was set up as the current star who was the WWE mainstay, who claimed he would never leave, representing those that loved WWE. The Rock was the Hollywood star who had done it all, coming back to prove he still had it.
While this was, to be clear, a WWE storyline more than anything, it's also clear that the storyline was based on a real conflict between the two superstars. Both sides have said before that they've put it all behind them, but for a while there, things were a bit heated. For what it's worth, it made for compelling WWE TV since both superstars truly felt passionate about what they were saying.
However, John Cena now realizes that making movies is a very different situation than performing in the WWE. He makes reference to the time he got his nose broken by Seth Rollins in a match not that long ago. The injury caused issues with Cena's wrestling and was certainly inconvenient for him, but the show simply changed up the storyline and continued forward. The WWE didn't have to postpone its entire schedule because of the injury.
If Cena had been making a movie at the time, it would have been a much bigger issue. Schedules would have needed to change, which would have impacted budgets. In a worst-case scenario, the film could have been entirely rescheduled or canceled, which would have been a financial hit to everybody involved in the movie.
Ironically, exactly this nearly happened during the Cena-Rock feud. During the second Wrestlemania main event between the two, Dwayne Johnson tore two tendons in his pelvis, an injury which very nearly impacted the filming of Hercules. While The Rock has made the occasional appearance in the WWE since then, he has not competed in a significant match since, likely because of the potential for injury and how that could cause problems not only for his own career, but as John Cena points out, the careers of many others as well.
Now that John Cena is spending more time making movies than he is wrestling, he has a better understanding of what the Rock was going through back then. He says he's apologized to the Rock for his comments, as he understands that he has now become the thing he attacked the Rock for becoming, an actor who occasionally wrestles.
He's always been genuine, he's always shot straight -- and that's on TV and off TV. We have a very good rapport with each other and I can... I've told this to him that I'm sorry, and I can tell it to you, and I can tell it to you: I spoke out of ignorance, I was wrong, and I'm sorry. So for any WWE person right now saying 'you're a part timer, you're going to Hollywood,' you're absolutely right. And if they can't see why I'm making those moves, I don't expect them to. I don't expect to change their mind.
At the end of the day, wrestling takes a physical toll on a person and you just can't do it forever. However, since performers are still fairly young when wrestling comes to an end, there's a lot more they can do. Since making movies is really just a different sort of performance and storytelling, it makes sense that it would be a place for sports entertainers to go.
John Cena credits Dwayne Johnson when speaking to Chris Van Vliet, saying that Johnson paved the way both inside the WWE and in Hollywood, allowing Cena to have the success that he had in both places. While Cena hasn't become the massive action star that Johnson is yet, he's done well with high-profile supporting roles in comedies and leading roles in smaller action films. Cena's biggest role to date is on the way, with his performance in the new Transformers movie Bumblebee, which arrives in theaters December 21.
Dwayne Johnson will next be seen in the wrestling comedy Fighting with my Family in February.