John Cena and The Rock first faced each other in the ring back at WrestleMania 28 which ended with Rock winning over Cena. The 16-time world champion had made comments at the time about part-timers in the industry who would leave WWE for endeavors in Hollywood, which provided as seeds to the feud.
Even though John Cena would lose this match, he would go on to beat Rock a year later at WrestleMania 29. Some interesting behind-the-scene details have emerged thanks to former WWE referee Mike Chioda who has claimed that Cena was exactly happy with putting over The People’s Champ.
“Had this match, you know, Rock wanted me to do it and everything, and I think John Cena had a little bit of a problem doing the job. 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?” Chioda said on his appearance at the Monday Mailbag.
“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.”
Chioda added that both Rock and John Cena were big moneymakers and already, so it wasn’t like one of them would settle with the outcome just for the money. Chioda suggests that the issue involved ego and pride of both the wrestlers. “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.’ I’m sure John was pissed at Vince,” Chioda explained.
Interestingly, John Cena would later go back on his words and thank The Rock for “changing the game” for wrestlers in Hollywood. John Cena now believes that since The Rock, Hollywood has been pretty accepting of wrestlers now.
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“It definitely has changed, and I think that rests on the already broad shoulders of Dwayne Johnson,” Cena said regarding Hollywood’s attitude to wrestlers in an interview last year. “He just made it acceptable to be something other than your wrestling persona. If you look at the correlation of wrestlers or WWE personalities in movies, they essentially played extensions of their WWE personality. I think Dwayne was one of the first ones to break that mold, and do it on such a grand scale that he couldn’t be ignored.”
H/T to Cultaholic for the transcription