With Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock winding down their WWE careers, the company needed a new would-be megastar, step forward John Cena.
In the summer of 2002, Cena emerged from arguably the most talented developmental class in WWE history. The OVW class of 2002 has become the stuff of legend, after it provided the roster with Cena, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Batista, Shelton Benjamin and more.
However, it quickly became apparent that Cena would be the “chosen one,” and the name the company threw its full weight behind. During this period, Arn Anderson, who was working backstage with WWE, was given the task of sharpening Cena up and preparing him for life as the top guy in the company.
“When he decided on John he just said to me one day, ‘Okay Arn, I am giving Cena to you, teach him how to work, teach him the business,’ just like that,” Anderson said. “From that point on I guess he told whoever assigned the matches, ‘Give Cena to Arn,’ and I started working with him and worked with him the entire time that he was being groomed and what he became.”
Anderson added that he’d previously done a similar job for WCW with Goldberg as he embarked on his legendary undefeated streak. Although convincing veterans to lose to a rookie in less than 90 seconds, was often a little more challenging.
“Some guys already started to balk at it and I had to do some politicking with these guys and let them know it’s okay,” Anderson explained. “Normally you wouldn’t get beat in that amount of time but hey, it’s going to be everybody guys so don’t be the guy that bucks up and loses their job cos everybody is going to put the guy over and in record time.”
John Cena Had A Lot Of Supporters But Teddy Long Wasn’t One Of Them
After a couple of early stumbles on the main roster, John Cena rose to become the biggest star in WWE and dominated the main event picture for years. In more recent times as he’s begun to transition into Hollywood, Cena’s matches have been more infrequent, and he’s taken on the nostalgia spot, previously occupied by the likes of The Rock.
While this has endeared him to fans, not everyone is happy about it. Speaking in a recent interview, Teddy Long said that he’s not waiting for Cena’s return, commenting that he’s not a John Cena fan.
H/t to Wrestling Inc