John Cena is back in WWE this month for The Summer of Cena and a match against Roman Reigns at SummerSlam on Aug. 21. He won’t be around for the long haul, though, because making Hollywood movies is now where his career priorities are focused.
While promoting The Suicide Squad in an interview with USA Today, Cena briefly touched on what it’s like to be cheering for WWE on the sidelines rather than being a full-time star for the company. And he dropped in this interesting nugget about WWE’s future:
Man, I wish there was some sort of fountain of youth where I could be a full-time contributor. The longer they continue to bet on an aging prospect, that makes (WWE’s) future a little bit less stable.
Earlier this year, I noted that WWE’s men’s roster is about as old as it’s ever been. Some of that is related to today’s wrestlers making smarter life and health decisions than in past eras, but some of it is also related to Vince McMahon doubling down on nostalgia for at least the last decade and not putting enough focus on younger talent.
To illustrate the latter point, just look at what’s going on in WWE this week; 34 year-old Bray Wyatt was released by the company while 54 year-old Goldberg is once again challenging for the WWE championship at one of the biggest shows of the year. It’s kind of wild to think about it in this context, but back when Goldberg defeated Bray Wyatt for the Universal title at Super ShowDown 2020, WWE actually did give the win to the guy who had the brighter future in WWE.
WWE’s financial future looks fantastic as long as television rights revenue continues pouring in at ridiculous levels. But it always feels like they don’t have enough star power to fill out three hours of Raw every week with cool stars who people can’t wait to see. Instead, the show is largely filled with a bunch of goofballs. Cena’s comments are an acknowledgment that even though WWE’s profits are better than ever, there is some rotting under the foundation that should be addressed before it potentially undermines the whole thing.