As noted, longtime WWE Superstar John Cena recently appeared as a guest on episode 28 of the Playback podcast. Below are some additional highlights from the interview.
On the movie ‘The Wrestler’ with Mickey Rourke: “I thought it was wonderful and everyone always asks me about that so cautiously, like, ‘what do you think of The Wrestler?’ I loved it because I thought the film could have been called The Ball Player [or] The Rockstar. The story could have been anything. It was about the life and a guy who was so entrenched in the life that he couldn’t let go. And that happened a lot to 80s superstars. You get caught up in this whirlwind and it is, man. And this is just for us, you leave on Friday [and] you get back on Tuesday. You leave Friday and you get back Tuesday again and it’s constant. You just get institutionalized. For the guys in the 80s, you had even more, sometimes double-shots, you do a show at 11 [am] and you do a show at 7 [pm]. You’re gone 41 days, and then, you’re home for 10 [days]. Then, you’re gone for another 41. Like, that is a lifestyle, man. It happens in entertainment all the time. It happens in athletics all the time.”
“And I thought they took our genre and they used it so wonderfully. And man, what a wonderful performance Mickey did and just, it was real, man. It was just a great depiction of how someone can’t get rid of the rush and they still want that one last try. Do you know what? It’s gone. It’s gone.”
On deaths in the pro wrestling business: “I think it all comes down to personal choice. You look at choices in the entertainment industry, there are great entertainers that we lose too soon all because it comes down to personal choice, so it’s not necessarily the life. There are a lot of guys that did all those dates on the road and they’re fine. And there are a lot of guys who lived like there was no tomorrow and guess what: when you do that there’s no tomorrow. Like, that stuff catches up with you plain and simple, so it’s again, not [relegated] to a profession.”
“What I admire about the WWE nowadays is that even though the way we are set up, as independent contractors, they take care of us as if we are family. They offer financial assistance, onsite healthcare if you get injured. We get injury pay now. They offer secondary education. They offer a second language program. The depth that they go to make sure we are protected is… they don’t need to do that and they do it anyway. It’s a great testament to how much they care about their current talent and talent of life after the [pro wrestling] business.”
On the script for the new movie about Vince McMahon and possibly playing the WWE Chairman in the film: “That script is amazing! That is something that I read in one sitting and, like, man, I need to be a part of this movie.” Cena admitted, “man, I don’t want to get myself in hot water with him, but I’d love to. I’d love to. I just love the story. The words jump off the page. I certainly know and admire the man. He’s literally one of my heroes. He has been a friend, a father, a mentor. Whoever does that, they have a wonderfully crafted challenge in front of them because he is one-of-a-kind.”
“I think [Tom Hardy] would be a fantastic choice. I don’t know if he has final say. I think the people making the movie do, but that’s a fantastic choice. Vince is just so unique, man. I can’t wait to see the movie. They already have my ticket money.”
Check out episode 28 of the Playback podcast featuring the John Cena interview at Variety.com.