March 31, 2012
Cena doesn't like The Rock
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
When Dwayne Johnson and John Cena step into the ring for their moment in Wrestlemania's spotlight on Sunday night in Miami, there will already be a long trail of bluster and bombast.
Cena, one of the current faces of WWE, and Johnson, who electrified millions and millions as The Rock, have been lobbing verbal bombs at each other for the better part of a year.
There's been smack talk about lady parts and Fruity Pebbles.
It's all part of the game in a Barnum and Bailey culture, where the storyline rules and if a folding chair doesn't get you, a series of insults and catchphrases delivered with precision and oomph on the microphone will.
It's sometimes hard to tell who likes who in a make-believe world where the lines between heel and hero can be vague. In fact, on Sunday, both Cena, 34, and The Rock, 39, will draw plenty of cheers ... and likely plenty of heat, too.
It's unlikely The Rock is on Cena's Christmas card list.
"I don't like the guy," said Cena. "I just find his return to the WWE rather convenient timing on his part. It's certainly relaunched his career. I've said on air that I respect and congratulate his accomplishments and success, but I certainly don't respect him as a person.
"Often times when you get a generational clash, one member of the generation is past his prime. In this case, both guys are ready to win this thing. Rock is in the best shape of his life. I'm certainly the strongest I've ever been. We're both ready to go. It's not like you're getting an old version of something and a current version of something. You're getting two current versions of something."
It started in front of a TV, watching and learning from stars like Hulk Hogan, The Road Warriors and Magnum T.A. It was as a kid he started developing the chops which make him so natural on the microphone.
"With a house of all boys, we literally emulated our favourite superstars, when they talked on television, we talked in your household wrestling league like they talked on television," said Cena.
"I always had a reputation for being a bit of a ham, even when I was looking at myself as half man and half machine way back in the olden days. I think there are other guys more technically gifted than I am, but I've never had a problem with speaking in front of people."
While today's wrestlers seem much more polished, Cena has a fondness for the "old" days.
"I honestly like it back then better," he said. "Regardless of the creative literature, there is no substitute for pure emotions. That's why I go out there by the seat of my pants, not afraid to look like an idiot.
"Under all that, very few people remember the exact words you say, but man, if you're excited or pissed off, they remember that stuff. OK, yeah, we know the results are pre-determined. But you know these two guys are going to put on a helluva show.
And when The Rock goes back to Hollywood, when he becomes Dwayne Johnson again, you can bet Cena, who also has some movies under his belt, will be still standing in the middle of the ring.
"I've had to pass on a lot of stuff," said Cena. "I don't want to be an actor, I want to be a WWE champion and I want to be the best that I can be. If a part comes up and I have to make a choice between that and wresting, 10 out of 10 times I stay here."
Maybe as the real people's champ.
Tim Baines is the Sports Editor for the Ottawa Sun and can be emailed at Tim.email@example.com.