John Cena has a reputation in wrestling for not only keeping an insane schedule and being one of the industry's hardest workers, but that he's also not exactly helpful in grooming young talent in an attempt to the leave the WWE with a new set of superstars who can take his place when he transitions out of his main event role. In short, Cena has a reputation for being selfish and controlling when it comes to the younger talent.
When TheWrap sat down with Cena to ask him about his reputation for burying the future superstars of the WWE, Cena pulled no punches. The 25-time champion admitted he knew of this reputation, but disagreed with how he achieved the label.
When asked how he thought he'd earned such a poor distinction, Cena responded;
This is why I have the reputation of quote-unquote “burying younger talent,” because I will let them do whatever they want with me — and then after they get done, they’re not as motivated. So, it’s not that I sink their ship, it’s that they fail to operate at an elite level. And I’m on to the next person, [to] whom I say, “Hey man, bring your best punch and I’m gonna punch back” — and they don’t take that attitude beyond me.
Cena remembers a time where he was once where these young guys are now. When he came into the WWE, his future wasn't assured. In fact, he almost didn't make the cut. That was, until his Vanilla Ice-like persona as a rapper got the attention of the WWE Universe, which quickly turned John Cena into the 'Doctor of Thuganomics'. From there, he took every opportunity granted to him, seized it and worked his butt off, staying motivated to achieve greatness. He's suggesting the new crop of superstars doesn't have that same level of motivation or desire.
Cena sees himself as the type of WWE performer who will let his opponent do pretty much anything. But, he expects that they know he'll punch back and they'd better be prepared for how that translates into working with him, taking what they've learned, then applying it to every element of their WWE careers.
It's an interesting perspective from the other side of the debate. Cena believes he's helping the younger talent by ensuring they have the attention of the fans, the eye of the company and that together their feuds become must-see programming. After that, each wrestler is on their own. In a way, that makes a lot of sense.