During a recent episode of “ARN”, Arn Anderson spoke on the process that went into the WWE deciding that John Cena would be the next top guy. Here’s what he had to say:
There was a meeting Vince had, I don’t remember what year it was, but it was time to make some changes, we were coming out of the Austin/Rock era and those guys were gonna be moving on, doing their own thing, and you had to recreate a huge gapping hole as far as personalities and talents that were not only bigger than life, they were bigger than the business at the time, they had exceeded everything that had ever been done before it. Rock and Austin, when they were at their peak, were, by God, you could say Hogan, put him in that same deal, but these guys were just different because they were twenty, thirty minute performers. Hulk had his deal and he had his fans and there were Hulk Hogan faces on everything, but Austin and Rock, that was something special.
And we had a production meeting, and Vince said, ‘Guys, we’re gonna move on, here are the four guys I want you to look at.’ It was Batista, Cena, Randy Orton, maybe it was just three guys. And it needs to be one of these guys or all of these guys, but these are the guys we are gonna go with. I thought they were pretty good choices, they were very, very green. Randy was a natural so he was gonna come along a lot quicker as far as workrate than Dave or Cena, but Dave on Smackdown, when he was the face of Smackdown, and you remember that, Conrad, when Dave was the man, he was red, red hot.
And Cena, when they finally decided he was gonna be the guy because he wasn’t going anywhere, he wasn’t, there was no negotiations issues with him, he was gonna be there as long as they wanted him to be there, and he ended up being THE face of the company, being a babyface, and staying a babyface. Randy’s character took some trips back and forth, and Dave was to go on and do some other things. They decided on him, we went with him, and every week it was a conscious decision on what was done on all of Cena’s content, whatever he was doing on the show, or backstage, or whatever, there was a lot of thought given to that.
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Credit: ARN. H/T 411Mania.