When it comes to John Cena and wrestling, it’s hard to think of something he hasn’t done. He’s close to surpassing Ric Flair’s record for the most WWE world title runs, and he’s already regarded as a legend for both his in-ring work and the litany of philanthropic ventures he participates in around the world. For all he’s achieved, however, there is one major wrestling milestone most superstars do at some point in their career that he still hasn’t done Cena has yet to turn heel. Though a former writer for WWE revealed that it was discussed, and Cena apparently reacted to the idea in a surprising way.
Former WWE writer Brian Gerwitz appeared on the Cheap Heat With Peter Rosenberg podcast ahead of the release of his upcoming book, There's Just One Problem: True Tales from the Former, One-Time, 7th Most Powerful Person in WWE. During the conversation, Gerwitz recalled John Cena’s response when the WWE writers tried to pitch him to go heel and, as it turns out, the star was more than ready to commit:
So he was fine with going heel, but he wasn’t going to be the kind of heel the audience can laugh along with or at. For a star like John Cena, that probably would’ve been the safest way to play it, so it's shocking to hear that he really wanted to commit to be an evil heel -- and based on that short response, truly mean one at that.
Brian Gerwitz later added that while Vince McMahon expressed interest in the star turning heel on multiple occasions, the same concerns always popped up. Removing him as the WWE’s top babyface meant another person had to fill that role, and McMahon and others didn’t believe someone could fill the role and perform on the same level as the F9 star, in regard to all of the responsibilities that come along with the post.
It’s a fair reason not to pull the trigger on the idea, and it's interesting to think about now, considering John Cena's current professional standing. Cena has said many times that he’s not done with the WWE and would like to return in the future. Of course, he's no longer the face of the organization, thanks to his acting commitments in Peacemaker and other projects. (His Suicide Squad character was actually a perfect heel.) So if ever there were a time to pitch him as a heel, this feels like the right moment.
And if the WWE still isn’t willing to give him a heel run, perhaps another destination like AEW could? CM Punk and Bryan Danielson recently said they thought John Cena would do great in the rival company, and seeing him perform outside of the WWE for another major company would be another big tick off his box.
The WWE now has Triple H running creative, and he might have different thoughts on the wrestler-turned-actor playing a heel. I’m currently crossing my fingers and toes that the DC star and the organization are already cooking something up for a future WWE event but, with so much already changing in the company after Vince McMahon's retirement, perhaps we should hold off a potential heel turn until 2024?
While we and see if John Cena will return to the WWE, anyone with a Peacock premium subscription can stream some of his greatest matches right now. Hopefully, he’ll find time to return to wrestling soon, and maybe even get a chance to go “full-bore heel.”
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Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.