Former WWE writer Freddie Prinze, Jr. recalled a time that he and John Cena had to “step outside” to resolve their differences.
Though he may be known to some as a star of romantic comedies, Freddie Prinze, Jr. spent a good deal of time in the world of professional wrestling when he worked as a writer for WWE. He worked with plenty of legendary talents during his time, but has made it known that not everyone was a fan of him coming into the company.
Speaking on his Wrestling With Freddie podcast, the former WWE writer recounted his acrimonious relationship with John Cena, which came to a head during some acting classes the former She’s All That star was holding with upcoming talent that included the former Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins, now known as Matt Cardona and Brian Myers.
And in the middle of this class, this scene, John just swings open the door, grabs a folding chair that we were all sitting in, sets it down in between Hawkins and Ryder, and sits in it and just looks at me like ‘What are you gonna do?’
And in my head I’m just like ‘What the?! Why would you make this about you man, like why wouldn’t you wait until after this, like why would you interrupt this?’ And I get answers to this in a moment, but I don’t say anything, I just go ‘Hey man, you wanna talk to me outside?’
Freddie Prinze, Jr. went on to recount that John Cena was an intimidating individual and he had no intention of fighting one of WWE’s top stars on that day, no matter how disrespectful his behavior may have been.
And he stands up right away, and he’s humongous, dude, he’s built like Ben Grimm from the Fantastic Four for crying out loud.
So I’m not gonna fight the dude, so we go outside, and I go ‘Man, what the hell was that?’ And he goes ‘That’s what I was about to ask you.’ So he has zero respect for whatever process I’m attempting to bring to the table, right? And we kinda jaw back and forth for a minute, and these are his words, and he would admit to all this, it’s not a bad thing.
Freddie Prinze, Jr. explained that he finds confrontation to be healthy as avoiding direct communication leads to passive aggressiveness, which “sucks” for everyone involved, so he and John Cena hashed out their differences right then and there.
So I’m of the opinion you should just confront situations head on, and that’s what we did. And he said ‘Maybe I’m a Neanderthal’ (his words) and he says ‘but I just don’t see how any of this sh*t works.’ And I’m looking at him like… and look, in hindsight he’s out here making movies, so it’s all a growing experience, a learning experience for all of us in the end whether we recognize that or not.
But I look at him and I say ‘Hey man, not everyone can do what you do.’ Alright? I’m not saying ‘Hey can I work with John, and can I give him acting lessons?’ When I had my first meeting with Steph I said ‘Why the hell weren’t you Duke in GI Joe, you’re the best actor on the roster.’ I said, ‘But I’m trying to get them to a level where you’re at, or close to it, because if I don’t, who the hell is?’
And he kinda like, shrugged his shoulders and exhaled, and I said ‘Hey man, it’s not like you’re helping them out!’ And that kinda like, tightened up his humongous muscles, his massive shoulders that kinda tensed up and he goes ‘Yeah, alright, whatever’ and he walked away, and I go back in, and Cardona’s like ‘Dude, I thought you guys were gonna fight!’ I’m like ‘Bro, I’m not trying to fight the Incredible Hulk, man, shut up!’
Freddie Prinze, Jr. went on to recount that John Cena never interrupted the class again. He also spoke about Vince McMahon’s reaction to the confrontation, saying that the Chairman was amused but made it clear that “I’m the only one who can fire you.”
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