John Cena will host the 2016 ESPY Awards Wednesday night from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California, at 8 p.m. ET, live on ABC. John Cena has transcended the sport of professional wrestling by becoming fully submerged in pop culture around the world, and he is just the third athlete to host the ESPYs. Cena has played host before; in 2008, Cena co-hosted the Australian Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. The 15-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion will have big shoes to fill Wednesday night as past hosts of the ESPYs include Samuel L. Jackson, Seth Myers, Drake, and, most recently, Joel McHale.
On July 12, John Cena spoke with ABC and commented on how he looks forward to playing the role of the bad guy.
“I know that I love live audiences, I love live shows…. I love to show a different side of myself,” he added, citing fans for some time in wrestling itching to see him become a bad guy. “I can’t. But I can over here…. So I think it’s a great way to satisfy my own creative urges of wanting to be a bad guy, and satisfying the consumer of like, ‘Will this guy ever change his demeanor?’ Yes, you just gotta go over here to see it.”
— John Cena (@JohnCena) July 11, 2016
Millions of people will be tuning in Wednesday night to the ESPY Awards, and the red carpet won’t be short of celebrities. As ESPN reported, Justin Timberlake will be presenting Kobe Bryant with the Icon Award. A cornucopia of sports superstars will be ESPY presenters, including Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade, and JJ Watt. In addition, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Chance the Rapper will pay tribute to the late Muhammad Ali, Vice President Joe Biden will be in attendance, and Andra Day will give a special musical performance.
Vice Pres. Joe Biden will make a brief trip to Los Angeles today to attend the Espy Awards: https://t.co/NSr4fSLPdk
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) July 13, 2016
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is nominated for two ESPY Awards for Best Male Athlete and Best NFL Player. Last year, Stephen Curry took home two ESPYs for Best NBA Player and Best Male Athlete; the Golden State Warrior is looking to do the same in 2016 and is also nominated for a third award. This year, the two-time NBA MVP has been nominated for Best Male Athlete, Best Record-Breaking Performance, and Best NBA Player.
Among the myriad ESPY awards is the award for Best Team. The nominees include the Cleveland Cavaliers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Kansas City Royals, Denver Broncos, Alabama Crimson Tide, UConn Huskies, and the Villanova Wildcats.
Other awards for the 2016 ESPYs include Best Female Athlete, Best Game, Best Championship Performance, and Best NFL Player, among many others. As the 2016 ESPY Awards draws near, fans still have a chance to vote for their favorite athletes and teams by visiting ESPN’s official ESPY website.
It is tradition at the ESPY Awards for the host to give a monologue in roast-like fashion. John Cena is used to talking smack when cutting wrestling promos in the ring, and given his experience, Cena should have no problem ribbing celebrities and athletes Wednesday night. During the ABC interview, Cena expressed how he’s going to have some fun.
“I wanna be tagged on the chin, I wanna be tagged on the nose, no pun intended, because I’m going to tag them…I tell them, ‘You say whatever you want just remember, I’m coming for you.'”
With a wide-range of celebrities and a superstar-host like John Cena, this year’s ESPY Awards are sure to please audiences worldwide.
[Photo by Neilson Barnard & Kevin Winter/Getty Images]