While most fans of the WWE today see John Cena as the kid-friendly, never say die superhero, he wasn’t always playing that role. When Cena first started to come into his own as a superstar, he came out to a rap song that he performed, wore a big chain and talked smack using rap as a tool, insulting everyone. It may seem strange to new fans, but John Cena was an R-rated superstar before Edge took on the moniker. However, in a recent interview with Screen Rant, Cena said that the Attitude Era attitudes would never work in the WWE today.
The Changes In The WWE
John Cena mentioned that in 2002, the WWE was coming out of the Attitude Era, but its fans were still the 18-35 year old male demographic. As a result, that meant that the entertainment could remain extreme and as close to R-rated as possible for television. However, by 2004, things started to change.
Cena said that families replaced the young male population at WWE events, and while those males complained about the neutering of the product, the WWE couldn’t keep pushing the boundaries of decency with so many kids coming to events — kids whose parents spent a lot of money on them.
Cena, who used to use a lot of sexual innuendo in his insulting promos said that he couldn’t do that while looking out and seeing young children staring back at him. While keeping things PG was necessary for the WWE when it came to sponsors, it was also crucial because of the new demographic of children coming to events.
The Future Of The WWE
John Cena said that he used his role in the movie The Marine to start to craft a new character to play instead of the trash-talking rapper gimmick he personified for years. He said that he was able to do things that kept the audience comfortable.
While Cena fell from popularity with the very vocal male audiences, he remained a hero to the kids — something that made the WWE a lot of money over the years. However, it isn’t the money, but doing what is right for the audience.
John Cena admitted that there are still wrestlers who want to go out and push the limits on what they can do and that is not smart. Cena said that a professional should take the tools they have and give the audience something that would not push them away.
However, Cena did say that it is possible to push the limits once in a while, as he did when cutting a promo against The Rock back in the day, or his comments towards The Undertaker this week on Monday Night Raw. But, at the same time, it would not work on a regular basis in the WWE now thanks to the changing demographics.