Former 16-time WWE world champion John Cena recently appeared on Insight With Chris Van Vilet to hype the upcoming blockbuster release of F9: The Fast Saga and discuss all things pro-wrestling, including how his role in the film will allow him to show the heel persona WWE never did, how excited he is for the WWE performers to get fans back, and confirms that he is indeed returning at some point. Highlights are below.
Whether his role in F9 would parallel the heel turn that WWE never allowed him to showcase:
“Man what a question. I knew you were going to have good stuff. I think this is a beginning to showcase the fact that it’s possible. Now as WWE invests and builds its roster and has a wealth of talent, it truly has many different anchors to the ship. Certainly Roman Reigns being a very marketable and definitive star. I think the reason for me not exploring that side is because WWE didn’t feel confident that they had an alternative. I respect that business choice I really do. But now with them really laying the foundation for their future, I mean even for life in the next decade or so, maybe but I don’t know. But what I do like about Fast is that it shows I am a human being like everyone else. I experience anger, sadness, bitterness, resentment. All those emotions like we all do. I’m given a form to display it, just like with Trainwreck. I’m always known for my childish comedy in WWE because it’s a PG show! Then if I’m put on an R rated comedy, everyone is like ‘Woah! He actually cusses!’ Yeah of course, it’s an R rated comedy. So it’s kind of being given a new set of tools and work with those tools.”
Talks building a relationship with Vin Diesel:
“That’s a great question. Before I was even offered the part I had to go through a series of interviews. Vin wanted to meet me in person, and I met him at his training center little under 2 hours and we just spoke. Now we have 8 minutes to do an interview and in this interview, we will learn more about each other. Now compound that over a serious amount of time with no constraints in an environment that is comfortable for Vin. He felt really good asking me bold questions and opening the forum for me to do the same. After that conversation he shot a small social media video. If you go back and see the video I didn’t say much, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. Had I knew I was joining the Fast family I would have said some sort of bit about Fast. But it was kind of him assessing me as a human being and putting it out to the universe like ‘Hey what do you guys think about this?’ I really thank everyone, WWE supporters, Fast supporters because they were overwhelmingly positive. I also thank Vin for that conversation. I really enjoy that type of earning your merits. It’s very very similar to the WWE. They assess your performance but they also do their due diligence on who this human being is.”
Compares the F9 production team to the WWE production team:
“That’s made by people above me and I never question it. Because Fast is a production that uses a whole lot of resources. If we ever have to stop that production, we waste a whole lot of resources. The thing I was most amazed about Fast is the little that they waste on resources. It’s very vast and the scope is huge, but everything has meaning. They invest, but they invest properly and correctly. It’s very much like WWE, it’s a huge investment but you can see the return when you set up massive pyrotechnics or you turn a stadium into a beautiful LED display or digital display. That money is justified because as a consumer I’m entertained by it. So when they tell me ‘This might stop production, we are going to switch you out.’ I’m not like ‘No don’t’. I’m 44 man, I certainly have never been tough in my life, I don’t have to prove I’m tough. I’m not searching for validation on my masculinity or who I am as a human being. I really take the advice of those who know more than me. If they go ‘Yo, you shouldn’t do this.’ I’m like, ‘OK great’.”
On the last time he wore jorts:
“The last time was not this WrestleMania but last WrestleMania. I can tell you this, I very much look forward to wearing jorts again, it’s been too long.”
Chris asks Cena that it’s not a matter of “if” he returns but “when.”
“You are absolutely correct. Yep.”
Says he is happy for the current WWE performers to get crowds back:
“I’m excited for the WWE performers. I know hard it’s been. I don’t think I would have done very well in this atmosphere without an audience. But I also think that this time without an audience has allowed performers like Roman Reigns for example, to unobstructively mold his character. If you send Roman Reigns from city to city with paying audience after paying audience, there may be some audiences that don’t even care what he has to say. They just want to boo him or cheer him or whatever. Without that, especially developing your character and trying to get the message across, like trying to hand someone your business card. I think Roman has absolutely needed this time and in it he has developed his personality and found out who he is. Now when he goes back to live audiences, they aren’t confused. He’s spent this 15 month block defining who he is and he’s the one who can benefit from this. Whereas established performers, I think I really would have had a tough time with no audiences. I as a performer, am happy for the WWE to have crowds again. I really look forward to get back in front of those crowds. But I am happy for everybody that their music can hit and they can feel that genuine excitement that makes all of our hearts beat.”
Full interview is below.