Cena focused on the fans
SCOTT ZERR - Edmonton Sun
John Cena has all the tools in the box to be a big-time star in the
wonderfully wacky world of professional wrestling.
He certainly has the look - a body stacked with chiselled muscles from
head-to-toe, plus a funky finishing move known as the FU. And there's
no doubt the 27-year-old has the entertainment part of the game down, too. Cena's skills on the mike, those creative freestyle raps that have made mincemeat out of every one of his opponents, are some of the best in the business.
Yet for all the talent in the backpocket of the "Doctor of
Thuganomics," he hasn't quite reached the top of the heap like, say, a Randy Orton, who started in World Wrestling Entertainment at the same time and ascended to the point of being the company's youngest world champion.
To his credit, Cena isn't concerned about those around him or what
heights they've hit.
"Personally I don't give a damn what the next man is doing," said Cena, whose friends and foes from Smackdown! made their way Edmonton last weekend at the Shaw Conference Centre.
Cena, however, had to back out of the current trip due to
scheduling for his role in the feature film The Marine, which is being shot in Australia.
"I'm making a living as a wrestler and I'm not worried about
anything else. I do this because I love it and I have a passion for it. I don't do it so I have enough money to afford a Mercedes.
"When it's time for me to walk away, all I want is to say that I've
been successful. I like to think of it as a big circus and I intend on
remaining a part of it till I'm no longer physically able to do it. As long as I'm on the team, I intend on doing a job good."
Cena has taken a long look into the future and set a handful of
goals, the most pressing now is a quest to recapture the United States title - a belt he snared from the grip of the Big Show at Wrestlemania XX. There are other targets, but Cena prefers not to look around at what his compadres have achieved and compare his own status.
"I know it sounds cliched but I want to take one day at a time," he
explained. "I have a saying: 'You have to make it through today
because it's going to be just as busy as the last one, and tomorrow might be even busier.'
"I've set some goals and that's a positive way of doing things but
in this business you've got to be able to react on a daily basis. My main focus is the fans because if it wasn't for the fans who pay for tickets and go to shows, there wouldn't be any business."
Cena is quick to defend wrestling fans because as one himself, he
understands what draws them to the show and maintains their fervent
loyalty for years.
"Wrestling fans are a unique breed of people, which is why I like
to get them involved in a match as much as possible," he said. "Wrestling fans get a bad rap from those people who don't understand the product. They are the most loyals fans on the planet."
Fans have bought into Cena's character - a jacked-up version of
Eminem - because it's no stretch for Cena himself, who's a longtime admirer of the entire hip-hop/rap scene, right down to his apparel. But while the rappers have begged off wearing the throwback jerseys and caps of their favourite teams, Cena has kept the look and often given the shirt off his back to fans to the tune of $400 a night.
"If a fan buys a ringside ticket and can go home with a jersey,
it's just a way of giving back to the fans. It's a little costly but it's a small price to pay. If I get a chance to meet the person that got the jersey, just to see the look on their face is worth it."
June 1, 2003: Cena's a star with rap attack
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Order WWE John Cena 'Word Life' DVD
Editor's Note: This story originally ran in the Edmonton Sun on Friday, September 10, 2004.