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When John Cena Says He'll Stop Wrestling With The WWE

John cena looking at a wrestler WWE

John Cena is officially back in the WWE, and it's for longer than fans may have expected. The wrestling legend-turned-actor is in the midst of a Summer of Cena touring schedule, which is presently set to climax at SummerSlam 2021, where he will square off against Universal Champion Roman Reigns. It's up in the air whether Cena will head after that, though the star of The Suicide Squad recently shared some big-picture insight on when he thinks he'll be ready to step away from the WWE ring for good.

John Cena was a guest on Chris Hardwick's ID10T podcast and was asked about his preference between returning to what he knows or pressing forward with new and unfamiliar projects. Cena was pretty candid with his answer, which addressed both his reasoning for returning to the WWE in the midst of his movie and TV success, as well as what could take him out of the squared circle for good.

Returning to WWE, it's a brand new world. A new cast of characters, new direction with the company, new platforms, new environment. There is a challenge there. To challenge myself as a 44-year-old to go back, there is an intrinsic challenge there; there's a different set of circumstances there. That's a good challenge in many ways. My body could tell me after this extended stay, 'Dude, you're done' or it could tell me, 'You're so far from done it's crazy.' That's another interesting conversation with myself. If I get physically that I'm slower, I've said openly to everyone that I'm gonna keep doing this until I feel I'm offending the customer. I will continually go out there and do what I can to contribute and add. I don't want to go out there and be like, 'Okay, just let him go out there and (do his thing).' I'm not into that because I know what it's like to pay for a ticket. If I were to get that on this go-round, it's a humbling and tough thing that I'm gonna have to hurdle. If I get the opposite and it's like, 'You're quicker and can do some things better and coexist and define a new personality,' then that's a new conversation because I do not have much time left and if I want to give it like, 'Let's really commit to this thing and really go all in,' that's an honest choice where other stuff will have to take a backseat to.

John Cena plans to essentially listen to what his body tells him and then go from there. WWE fans are well familiar with not-exactly-youthful wrestlers who regularly return to the ring for perhaps a lot longer than they should've, but with a legacy that still commands respect both from other wrestlers and from the crowds. Wrestlers like Undertaker, Sting, Ric Flair (who recently exited the company), and many others have all wrestled well into their 50s, albeit with mixed results from fans on how well they and others have performed. (Nobody's saying shit about Mick Foley, though.)

The interesting part that John Cena brought up towards the end of his response was the opportunity to redefine himself and form a whole new personality within the WWE. Fans clamored for decades for Cena to receive some sort of distinct heel turn couple with a villainous persona, though the WWE has avidly pushed back against that as an angle. I'm not sold that Cena would ever truly want to buck his current "good guy" persona for anything but a short-term gimmick, but I like the fact that he's still discussing potential reinventions of his character during what could very well be the twilight of his career in pro wrestling.

With that being said, John Cena still doesn't seem to have a more specific answer about where he stands with the WWE in a post-SummerSlam timeline. The actor revealed the main issue he faced when he first weighed his options for the Summer of Cena is that he realized he misses the WWE more than his newfound success in acting.

The challenge there was I want to return to this thing that I love that I felt I was I was extremely proficient at and contributed heavily to, but I'm at a different point in my life, so how is that going to play out? If I become ravenously passionate to stay standing on that canvas than I have to have a conversation with myself about sacrificing other opportunities to be able to do that, that's an outcome. There is no good or bad. As long as I can wake up and breathe air, man, it just simply is. It's the matter of accepting of what is and then going from there.

While John Cena did not explicitly reveal where he's leaning on the decision to committing to more WWE events or returning to acting full-time again, it is noteworthy that Cena requested additional tour dates from the WWE in addition to what he initially agreed to. Cena has even been wrestling at live events that aren't broadcast on television, which is above and beyond what was asked for him. It seems as though Cena is really interested in figuring out whether he wants to re-focus on building his WWE status back up, or whether it's best to continue landing roles that won't necessarily leave him battered and bruised on a nightly basis.

Monday Night Raw airs on USA on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET. John Cena has been talking about all sorts of things related to the WWE as of late, so read more on that to find out his thoughts on The Rock's potential return to the WWE.

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.