Why John Cena Is Leaving The WWE For Reality TV

Well this is quite the surprise. But, at least we’ll still be able to see him on TV. John Cena, WWE superstar-turned-actor, is leaving the wrestling world for the first time in 13 years. The reason for his departure? He’ll be starring in an upcoming Fox reality TV show titled American Grit, and apparently part of the reason is a lack of room for growth.

Zap 2 It reports that in an interview Cena opened up about what inspired him to take a sabbatical and try a new type of television show. Here's what he had to say:

I’ve been a cornerstone of WWE programming since 2002. That’s a long time, it’s more than 10 years…so much so that a portion of our audience has direct complacency with me. ‘Man, Cena holds everybody down. He doesn’t give the new guys a chance.

Honestly, this sounds like pretty sound logic. After all, the GIF-worthy Cena has been kicking ass and taking names for quite some time, and I’m sure the newer WWE competitors are ready to rise to another level of fame and success with the behemoth out of the way.

Cena goes on to say that he hopes his appearance on American Grit will expose new audiences to the WWE. Indeed, World Wrestling Entertainment and Cena are working in tandem for this sabbatical and trust that Cena’s growing non-wrestling career will only help the company in the long term. And he looks to the career of another wrestler-turned-actor as a guidepost.

Personally, and this gives me a better perspective on Dwayne Johnson’s path, you get to a certain point and you cannot attract any more fans. Essentially, my productivity from a company standpoint…I’ve done as much as I can — 15 world championships and a myriad of other accomplishments. I don’t know what left I can do, but I still want to be able to put people in the building.

John Cena has recently been expanding his horizons into non-wrestling projects, starting with smaller appearances in Direct-To-DVD films, as well as an episode on Parks and Recreation. This year marked Cena’s status as a bona fide film star with his role as Amy Schumer’s surprisingly sensitive boyfriend in Trainwreck. He was more than a cameo in Trainwreck and boasted a hilarious performance in some of the most cringe-worthy scenes in a movie that was chock full of them.

Additionally, Cena is set to star in another movie led by hilarious women. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s upcoming comedySisters, being released on December 18th, will feature John Cena in an unspecified role. Surely Poehler’s experience working with him in Parks and Rec, as well as an endorsement by Schumer, led to this new acting project.

American Grit, however, will be getting back to Cena’s roots as an athlete. The show will put its contestants through military and survival physical challenges, putting extreme athletes through the ringer, and showcasing the training that goes into the Armed Forces. Cena will be serving as a mentor to the contestants - meaning we may actually see him clothed for the series. What a concept.

American Grit will be filming over the course of a month, with Cena also taking up the role of executive producer of the series. No date has been set for the premiere- we’ll keep you updated as new details are released.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.