Mike Bennett has recalled the time he came face to face with an aggravated John Cena after Cena thought Bennett had copied him during an episode of Sunday Night Heat.
In 2007, Bennett was working as an extra for WWE. On this occasion, Bennett was tasked with facing Cryme Tyme in a match. Speaking to Michael Morales Torres of Lucha Libre Online, Bennett tells the story of an idea for a spot that would see him mocking Cryme Tyme member JTG.
“We were wrestling Cryme Tyme. It was my first time ever working for WWF doing extra work. They wanted to get Cryme Tyme over. So they put us in there. And I remember calling this spot with JTG and at the time he had gold teeth in, that he would put in and call it a grill. So every time he did like a move he would take his fingers like this and kind of show his grill.”
“And so we came up with this idea, or he came up with this idea that I would do this spot (mimicking teeth grinding) and I would get up over on him and then I would mimic him, and then he would turn it around as kind of a good babyface. He’s dynamic there.”
Sadly for Bennett, the gesture he used in the ring was very similar to a popular taunt showcased by then WWE Champion John Cena. Cena’s hand in front of the face ‘You Can’t See Me’ taunt has become ubiquitous amongst wrestling fans. The sixteen-time champion of the world was not amused at seeing someone else doing something akin to his own gesture.
Mike Bennett continued:
“Unfortunately, what happened was this ended up looking too close to this (You can’t see me taunt). So I think you can see where this is going. I think someone told Mr. Cena that I had gone out there and I had done this (You can’t see me taunt) on Sunday Night Heat. When I got to the back, on my very first match, John Cena was there to inform me that I should not be doing this (You can’t see me) in any way, shape, or form. It was put to me not so nicely.”
“Which is funny because when I went back to WWE, I never got to tell him that story which I wanted to. I actually really enjoyed seeing him when I went back. He was a very down-to-earth and a very cool guy. I really enjoyed interacting with him. He was super helpful with everything. But I think at that time, I don’t blame him. Here’s this, you know, in his eyes, here’s probably this punk kid copying him what he’s doing. That’s his moneymaker. It’s his bread-and-butter. I’d probably be p*ssed too. I’d be like, ‘yo, you don’t even work here. What are you doing?'”
Bennett then stated that he feared his time in wrestling might be over after upsetting Cena. Thankfully that wasn’t the case and now Bennett can look back on the events and laugh:
“It was a simple mistake. I thought I was done. I went back to my hotel that night and I was like: ‘Well, I’m never working in wrestling again. John Cena hates my guts’. But now it just kind of makes a funny story. But at the time I genuinely thought that: ‘I’m done. Never working again. That’s it. John Cena is the top of the game and he thinks I just copied him’. So it ended up being a funny story. But at the time, I was terrified.”
Mike Bennett joined WWE full-time ten years later after a career that would take in Ring Of Honor and IMPACT Wrestling. Bennett has returned to Ring Of Honor where he has reunited with Matt Taven.
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