John Cena catapulted into a prominent role in WWE "Doctor of Thuganomics" character but chose to take his on-screen persona in another direction.
Cena revealed during a recent interview with ESPN the change in gimmick. He started portraying a rapper who would freestyle rap during his promos in late 2002, a character that helped him reach the top of the card in WWE in less than three years.
"To me, there was definitely some method behind it," Cena said during the interview. "Hip-hop certainly is in sync with the youth and every day that passes I grow less youthful, as much as I have tried to hold onto it. I knew that the platform really wouldn't be indicative of success. I knew [the PG format] would just drastically change the style and almost cripple the character so I was the one proactively who said 'no' and said 'I would like to take everything another way.'"
Cena, who is expected to begin a prolonged hiatus from wrestling later this week as he begins hosting the second season of the FOX reality competition show American Grit, also made some insightful comments regarding his overall commitment to WWE as Cena has received a greater quantity of outside opportunities as of late.
"Every single day that I don't have an outside obligation, I will fulfill any commitment that I have to WWE," Cena said. "And I will attach this quote with it that every outside obligation I have is to expand the brand of WWE and there has never been a superstar to say that before."