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John Cena Says Pro Wrestling Started As A “Hobby”

John Cena

John Cena recently recalled the early days of his now-legendary career, admitting that at first, he saw training as a hobby rather than a path to greatness.

Cena, a 16-time World Champion, evolved to become one of the biggest stars in the history of professional wrestling. From his Smackdown debut, which many point at as one of the key moments in kicking off the Ruthless Aggression era, Cena has won nearly every major Championship in WWE. A Money in the Bank and two-time Royal Rumble winner, the ‘Doctor of Thuganomics’ has sat atop the wrestling mountain for well over a decade.

However, in a recent interview with People, Cena recalled his first ventures into the world of sports entertainment. Having graduated with a degree in exercise physiology and body movement from Springfield College in 1999, Cena remembers relocating to Los Angeles to pursue a career in bodybuilding. However, this career path took a different route:

“[After college] I headed out to Los Angeles not because of the entertainment allure, but because that’s where the hub of fitness equipment, fitness manufacturing, fitness distribution, everything that applied to my degree was there. I got in working at Gold’s Gym. And that was the best I could do, I worked in the protein shop. I worked on the floor, I knew every member and a bunch of the members would talk about wrestling and WWE specifically. This is right when two companies were jockeying for supremacy, the company owned by Turner and the company owned by Vince McMahon.”

It was during this time at Gold’s Gym when a passing conversation changed John Cena’s life and the pro wrestling landscape forever:

“One of my friends in a casual conversation was like, ‘Hey, we’re training down in Orange County to be wrestlers. Do you want to join?’ It wasn’t like, ‘Yeah, this is my chance to make it big in the WWE.’ It was like, ‘Yo, this would be a sick ass hobby. So, when I worked my ass off during the week, I can go be a personality on the weekends, I’ll try it.’ I paid the promoter a bunch of money to get in the ring and learn how to fall down and the rest is history. So if we had never had that conversation, I’d never found a ring, and I’d never been talking to you right now.”

John Cena initially debuted on the independent circuit as The Prototype, portraying a semi-robotic man. Within two years of his initial training, Cena signed a developmental deal with WWE, debuting on the main roster in June 2002. The rest, as they say, is history.

Cena recently shocked the world of professional wrestling by making his sensational return to WWE at Money in the Bank. After a confrontation with Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Cena went on to issue a challenge for the gold, a proposal yet to be answered by Reigns and his special counsel, Paul Heyman.

Credit for Interview: People

h/t Transcription: Fightful