Whether it’s boos, cheers, or a mixture of both, John Cena has continually drawn a reaction from crowds since he debuted on SmackDown nearly 20 years ago.
However, over the course of the last year and beyond, WWE’s performers have had to adapt to a life without live crowds due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the enforced switch led to the creation of the ThunderDome, WWE is yet to run at full capacity since the early months of 2020.
Something that the 16-time world champion believes he would have struggled with.
Speaking with Chris Van Vliet, Cena admitted that he “wouldn’t have done very well without an audience.” Although he went on to explain how performing without fans present, may have helped Roman Roman Reigns mould his current character.
Cena surmised that by performing without fans, Reigns had to the opportunity to fully-form his character, leaving fans in no doubt about who he is, and what he stands for.
“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 un-obstructively mould 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.”
Cena continued, suggesting that more established performers may have found it more difficult without live crowds than their inexperienced counterparts. That being said, Mr ‘Hustle, Loyalty and Respect’ adds that he’s happy that everyone will soon be back in front of a live audience once again.
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.”
Elsewhere in the interview John Cena also discussed whether he will return to the ring.
Cena has not competed in a match for WWE since his Firefly Fun House match at WrestleMania 36 in 2020. John Cena faced off with The Fiend Bray Wyatt in that cinematic encounter that saw Cena relive moments of his career, as well as show an alternate reality where Cena embraced a much-talked-about heel turn. In the end, The Fiend claimed the victory over Cena as Funhouse Bray Wyatt counted the pin.
When asked about a potential return to the squared circle, Cena said that it’s a matter of if and not when he’ll be back.