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John Cena is upset about ‘disdain and complacency’ in the WWE locker room again

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'Blockers' Premiere - 2018 SXSW Conference and Festivals Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

We’ve been down this road before.

While John Cena may have been close to getting fired early in his WWE career, for the past several years he’s enjoyed nigh-untouchable status. Cena can come and go as he pleases while pursuing side projects and whole other careers. Not only will the company indulge those impulses, they’ll promote them.

Now, in addition to his popularity and proven ability to sell shows and move merchandise, Cena’s earned his position by being the kind of “company man” that frankly doesn’t exist in any business in the 21st century. The 16 time World Champ is loyal to WWE in a way no one who doesn’t have the last name McMahon has ever been.

So it’s as understandable as it is frustrating to hear him again calling out other wrestlers for daring to be unhappy with their role in the company.

In a new interview with Sports Illustrated, he does it while telling the story of his WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans a few months back. The quotes demonstrate why Cena and his do-anything attitude are so valuable to WWE, but also convey his expectation that everyone else comport themselves as he does:

“My ‘WrestleMania Moment’ was to spend the time in the crowd and not do well in a very short performance, but I loved it because it got the job done. The focus was not me, the focus was someone else. Often times, we look at things so selfishly, asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Well, what was in it for me was the chance to reintroduce a WWE icon. I had to stretch the suspension of disbelief to its breaking point to do it, but it was awesome. Every single week, the crowd would chant at the top of its lungs and no one thought I would be sitting in the crowd at WrestleMania, but I was able to do that. I was able to go out and be handily defeated in three minutes and bring back an icon.

That is a message to any performer who is complaining about their spot or that, creatively, they have nothing going for them. I’ve been first, I’ve been in the middle, I’ve been last. I just want to go out there and do something.

There are a few performers who share my ideology, with The Miz being one of them. That’s why he is skyrocketing into a new bracket as we speak, and I can’t wait to see what he does next week. But there is also a lot of disdain and complacency. You should be happy with any sort of role, even if it is getting your tail kicked in.”

Not surprising coming from a guy who loved Vince’s “brass ring” speech. And not entirely wrong. Miz is an example of someone who seemed destined for the undercard, but kept impressing with every opportunity he was given until he’s back on the cusp of the World Title scene again.

But not everyone is a former main eventer. A disgruntled Superstar may have been doing whatever’s asked of them for a long time, and still feel their talents aren’t being used properly. There’s also the women’s roster, who despite considerable strides in recent years, still only has a fraction of the minutes available to them as Cena and the men do.

Cena’s approach works for him, and it’s a message WWE wants to hear out a locker room leader-type. But it’s also not terribly considerate of circumstances other than his own. And that might explain why he’s never had a wide-spread reputation as a locker room leader.

Your thoughts, Cagesiders?