Arn Anderson helped the world see John Cena for the talent he had.
Cena has been the face of WWE for most of the last 15 years, headlining numerous WrestleManias and capturing 16 world championships along the way. The word among the wrestling world for much of that time was that WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson was almost a "personal producer" for Cena. In speaking with the "Enforcer" recently, Anderson opened up to Fightful about his professional relationship with Cena, and how true that is.
"The last couple of years, some other guys have taken some of John’s matches. But, predominantly, I think you would probably say, if you went back and made a count I’ve had probably made 90-95%. I was always responsible for mechanics and psychology and basics and just how to guiding John of “Don’t do this and here’s why.” It was never “Don’t do this, do something different.” I always tried to have a very understandable conversation with John, I would never say “John, don’t do this, this is dumb.” Don’t do this, and let me explain to you why. He was very receptive. John is a good human being and he has got a good heart. The [Make-A-Wish Foundation] stuff he does alone, not having children, in my mind should get him a one way ticket to heaven. Because I’ve seen all the kids he’s changed their lives. When you don’t have kids, that speaks pretty much for who the human being is," said Anderson.
Despite the fact that Cena had been on top of the wrestling world, he wasn't void of errors and mistakes, especially early on. Anderson said that since things have changed for Cena's career and his own, they haven't been in constant contact.
"But John would listen. John made a lot of mistakes in things that he wanted to try to do. It took a few years, just like it does for everybody, for John to get a basic knowledge of what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense. 'This is too much, this isn’t enough.' We had a good relationship. Once John started his move to Hollywood and all that stuff, I didn’t see him nearly as regularly. It’s like a lot of friends you have within each job. You could live in the same town as your best friends, you don’t pick up the phone and talk to them every day. We kinda lost touched when he was gone and he would come back, we’d work together," said Arn.
Many of these matches, moments and shows are sure to be covered on Arn Anderson's new podcast with Conrad Thompson. Cena being a special talent required special care and special production. For Anderson, it was care that he loved to give.
"I enjoyed every minute of it. I loved watching his growth. I learned from our audience that there were “You can’t wrestle” chants to John, but then right behind it you would have 3,000 little kids screaming “Cena! Cena! Cena!” with those little squeaky voices, who didn’t care that John was not Ricky Steamboat or Shawn Michaels in that ring. What they did care that he looked the part, he took the time to let them in to his matches and let the emotion that he was trying to convey to those kids and the example he was trying to set for them—they were getting it. You gotta look at that. It’s funny how you could take six or seven adult voices chanting “You can’t wrestle,” and they seem to dominate the thousands that are saying other things. But that’s part of the cool stuff; everybody has a voice in a wrestling live event. That’s what they paid for, and that’s what they deserve," Arn closed.
You can see our full interview with Arn Anderson above, and you can catch him at Starrcast IV in Baltimore. Every week, he appears on The Arn Show, telling stories of his career, alongside Conrad Thompson. You can check that out at this link.