Legendary referee Mike Chioda has opened up about the tension between John Cena and The Rock ahead of their WrestleMania XXVIII clash, of which Chioda officiated.
Speaking on the Monday Mailbag podcast on AdFreeShows, Mike Chioda spoke of his long-standing friendship with The Rock, telling how The Great One set him up to be the man in the middle for the legendary encounter.
“I’ve always admired the Rock, over the years in working with him, and then Rock set me up to be the referee for that match when he came back with Cena. I was like, ‘Awesome.’ Had this match, you know, Rock wanted me to do it and everything…”
Chioda, though, would reveal that he believed John Cena wasn’t over the moon about losing the match, having carried the torch while The Rock was in Hollywood.
“I think Cena had a little bit of a problem doing the job as here is Cena, carrying the torch for the last ten years I think at that time, and he was busting him a** day in, day out. And here comes The Rock back after so many years of being in Hollywood, and he’s got to job out to The Rock? Well, of course, the show is in Miami. The Rock is a big Hollywood Superstar now, and I think there was a little heat there. I think there was a little dissension. But, you’ve got to go where the money goes. I mean, they put Rock over, and I was happy about that.”
The iconic referee would open up about how The Rock asked him if he was refereeing again, with Chioda telling the People’s Champion it was Chad Patton, but asking if he was “doing the job” for Cena second time round.
“I felt bad for John in a way, but then, the second time when it came up, Rock goes, ‘Hey, do you have my match this time or is it Chad Patton? ‘It is,’ I said, ‘Are you going over again this time, or are you doing the job for him? He goes, ‘Yeah, I’m jobbing out to him this time.’ I said, ‘Great, I don’t have to count three on you, Cap.’ I said, ‘No problem, Rock, let Chad do the match.’ And he goes, ‘Oh, you (laughs) son, I see which way you’re going.'”
Chioda went on to say the real-life tension between Cena and The Rock played a part in the ring, due to The Rock coming back to the company to pick up the big win – much to the chagrin of the 16-time World Champion. The iconic man in the middle would say they were “really shooting” during their match.
“They were really shooting. And umm, I definitely felt, because when we were going over in the practice ring with certain things, before that match, I felt there was definitely some tension, and of course, it was coming from John because he has been busting his a** for this company. Top guy. Top merch, selling all the merch and everything, and I’ve got to job out to Dewey? to Dwayne?’ (laughs). I felt the tension. I don’t blame him because he was busting his a** for ten years, and Rock comes back, and you know, and this is how we’re going to do it, kid.”
Mike Chioda would go on to say money wasn’t an issue, and that John Cena’s ego and pride would see him want to be the man to defeat The Rock, at least the first time round.
“Here are two guys that were making big money. And that’s why, it’s not even like, ‘Okay, I’m getting big money for this match. I’ll do the job.’ It becomes about ego and pride. It really does. When it comes down to it, money is not even the issue. It’s like, it becomes an ego thing and a pride thing. Like, ‘I’ve been carrying this business for the last ten years, I should go around him first, then he’ll go around me. No, no, Rock’s going to go around you first. You know, like, believe me. (laughs)
Chioda would conclude by saying he believes John Cena was “pissed” at Vince McMahon.
“I’m sure John was pissed at Vince.”
H/T SK Wrestling