While it’s not as unpopular among fans as either the still-unofficial AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon match or the confirmed Brock Lesnar/Goldberg trilogy fight, WrestleMania 33’s reported mixed tag of John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. Miz & Maryse has prompted complaints from folks who’d like to see Cena (or Nikki, or Miz) doing something of greater kayfabe import in Orlando on April 2.
In a new interview with Sports Illustrated, Cena addressed those concerns. Just the fact he commented on the match - which hasn’t been announced, even if all the pieces were set in place on SmackDown last Tuesday (Feb. 21) - likely means it’s happening. With that being the case, he makes it clear it wasn’t his idea, but that he plans to make it great regardless:
I don’t pitch ideas, I don’t go and say, “This is what I would like to do.”
As far as WrestleMania is concerned, whatever I’m supposed to do I’m going to do to the best of my ability. I can reference last year as a great example. I was ready, healthy, and one-hundred percent activated by early March, and I was told that I would be assisting The Rock in WrestleMania. Quite honestly, if it weren’t for The Rock’s involvement in WrestleMania, I would have been told that I would have been sitting out WrestleMania. [People ask] why don’t I just go in there and say, ‘I want to do this’? Last year, I should have said, ‘I want to do this,’ but that’s just not what I do. This is why I love what I do. You sometimes get an off-the-beaten path request, and it’s your job, as a professional, to make it interesting and make it the best you can.
Which is a good answer, and what you’d expect from a guy with a “company man” reputation like Cena - even if there are still those who believe him to be more of a backstage politicker than he claims. The rest of his answer, where he references his ongoing feud with AJ Styles as something he wouldn’t have asked for but that has worked out great, might not change his detractor’s minds:
To be quite honest, way, way, way back, AJ Styles was an off-the-beaten path request, and I loved that. It brought out the best in AJ Styles and it brought out the best in me. I’ll always try to do the best with what I’ve got.
But hey. The 16 time champ knows not everyone who chants “Cena sucks” does so ironically:
I know people have a perception of who I am. There is nothing I can say in this interview that changes that perception.
What do you think, Cagesiders? Does Cena just play the hand he’s dealt? And, regardless of whose idea it was, will his Mania mixed tag turn out to be a good use of his time?