John Cena celebrates ten years on the WWE roster today. On June 27, 2002, he answered an open challenge from Kurt Angle, kicking off a championship filled career. Cena reflects on his decade of destruction in an interview with WWE.com.
Recalling his debut match against Angle, Cena stated, “Literally, I just needed to get through the curtain. I was in shambles that whole day. First, I was told I was going to have a match at 4:00 that afternoon. Then, I was told that I needed to get my hair cut, and I was sent offsite to get that done. I made it back just in time, and everyone was flipping their lid. Randy Orton had tied my boots to a locker in the Allstate Arena [laughs], and basically, I had a giant smile on my face when I got to go through the curtain … because I knew I could no longer be messed with [laughs].”
When asked which moments most spring to mind when looking back at his ten years as a WWE Superstar, he does not name one. Rather, “To be honest … being able to say that I make a living doing this has been the greatest experience in these 10 years. It’s pretty spectacular.”
Cena admits that when he started his career, he did not imagine that children would look up to him as a role model.
“If you look at who I was four, six years ago, I was pretty racy. I was the king of “pipe bombs” before “pipe bombs” were invented. I consciously knew our product, I consciously saw our audience, and I made a decision that I’d live my life by a certain set of ideals, that I was just going forward in this direction. Whoever was with me was with me, and we’d go from there. It ended up being a good deal,” he says. “I’m very flattered when I meet parents – whether it’s Make-A-Wish or parents with their kids on the street – and they’re like, “Hey, thanks for letting us watch WWE. You’re a very good role model. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”
Cena also revealed that he has his sights set on breaking Ric Flair’s record number of of World Championship reigns.
“I know the number 16 is put on a pedestal, and I’m quite a ways away from that. But that would be something to shoot for,” he says. “And when or if 16 happens, or number 17 happens, then 20 becomes the number to shoot for. That’s what I love about doing this.”
Cena is asked, “Would you say that, 10 years later, you’re still just getting started? What do you think about the next 10 years?”
He responds, “I’d say that I’m here [laughs]. I truly know myself, and I try so hard to understand every aspect of WWE every day. There isn’t a day that goes by in WWE that I am not learning something new about this company. So after 10 years, as far as me learning, I’m just getting started. There’s always something to learn.”
The full interview is available here.