John Cena has been talking in a general way about the end of his in-ring pro wrestling career for a while now. While doing media to promote his new movie Argylle, Cena officially started the clock ticking on his retirement.
The 16 time WWE World champ told Entertainment Tonight retirement is “not a maybe. That time is gonna come and it’s gonna come soon.” It’ll happen in the next couple years, because the 46 year old says he’ll hang up his boots before he turns 50:
“I made a promise to the consumer early on, to WWE fans, cause I know how tough it is to be a fan. You gotta come out of pocket — and WWE has a ton of content — it takes a lot to be a passionate fan and our fanbase is passionate and global. I never wanted to go out there just for the sake of going out there. And I’m gonna be 47 this year. I feel great. So inside I feel great, but I know what it takes to be a WWE performer night in and night out and I don’t ever wanna just go out there and do it to do it. I wanna have the passion — the same passion as the fanbase — and I wanna give them exactly what they give me. The miles on the speedometer say, ‘Hey, that’s gotta be done before 50.’”
He’ll hit the half-century mark on April 23, 2027, so he’s got a couple WrestleManias after this one to book a farewell match. Maybe this will be how he brings that ‘Mania he promised the United Kingdom last year to London?
In another interview with BBC’s The One Show, Cena said that while he probably won’t be able to pick his opponent for a retirement match (he’s said in the past he’ll trust WWE’s judgment on that, which lines up with advice he’s given up-and-coming WWE Superstars) — he does think he can pick the venue:
“I’ve gone by the construct in my life of never trying to pick my opponents, because that’s way above my pay grade, but I’ve been an active advocate for London to be a host of WrestleMania. And a lot of people think when I go out in the middle of the ring and I say that, it is just for the local moment. Like, ‘We’re the show, we want to make the show happy.’ Fans in the UK, WWE fans are the best. And fans in London specifically, they will let you know how they feel. And I don’t think I’ll be able to choose my opponent. But if I could choose a venue, it would be The O2 in London.”
The O2 is a big building, but it’s not a stadium and therefore probably won’t host a ‘Mania. But maybe a premium live event dedicated to saying goodbye to one of the best to ever do it?
We shall see.