16-time World Champion John Cena has responded to The Undertaker’s comments that the wrestling product nowadays is “soft”, saying he has “a bit of a disagreement” with The Deadman’s words.
Forbes’ Alfred Konuwa sat down with John Cena, and asked about where he discussed a variety of topics including The Undertaker’s comments the changes in wrestling from generation to generation, as the Marine star noted that the business has evolved, discussing the business side of the industry and saying people have said he is “everything that ruined” the business too.
“I guess I’ve viewed the WWE as a product outside of myself for a long time. I guess that’s why I was so interested in the business side of it from very early on in my career. In that, I’ve seen it evolve, but I’ve also been called everything that’s ruined sports entertainment.”
John Cena – of course – was symbolically passed the torch on SmackDown by The Undertaker on SmackDown in 2002 with a backstage handshake and endorsement, something which was replicated by Edge and Damian Priest recently. The 16-time World Champion would then hypothesize that he could argue a case for himself and others ushering in the Ruthless Aggression and Reality Eras, noting that it isn’t soft – it’s different.
“I could look at the economics of it and make an argument that between myself—and the large amount of folks that carried on the roster beyond the Attitude Era into the Ruthless Aggression Era and the Reality Era—the fans of the Attitude Era certainly looked at our product as not what they’re used to, but it wasn’t. So I may have a bit of disagreement with Undertaker’s word choice, because I don’t think it’s soft, I think it’s different.”
“I remember one of the first time Steve Austin came back during the height of the PG era, and he was just befuddled,” Cena recalled. “Because Steve Austin goes out there and runs it. And if he gets stuck he can curse, he can throw up some middle fingers, he can ask for a beer…but we took away three of the biggest clubs that he can hit with and told him to go out there and be himself. And he came back shaking his head and said ‘I don’t know how you do this!’ But if he had enough time, he’s a great performer, he could get used to it.”
The Deadman looks set for a role in NXT this year.