John Cena just surpassed his 15th year in WWE, and has been forced to adapt his style as his career progresses. According to Cena, it's something he rather enjoys.
Early in Cena's career, he worked with the likes of Brock Lesnar, Jesus and Carlito, Big Show and John Bradshaw Layfield. Shortly following, WWE became more open to hiring those who made their names on the independent circuit, which facilitated a change in style. In the last year, AJ Styles had developed into one of Cena's greatest rivals.
"AJ was the culmination. For years we'd been recruiting really gifted characters in a performance aspect. You can date back to CM Punk, Daniel Bryan. Signing a lot of guys from Ring of Honor or the indies," said Cena on the E&C Pod of Awesomeness.
When Cena was pressed on the issue, he told Edge and Christian that often times WWE will book Cena against those types of wrestlers in order to put them on his level, or at the very least to elevate them to his level.
"I think it's really assessing your playing field. A match with me against Brock Lesnar or Braun Strowman isn't going to be the same as with Kevin Owens or AJ Styles. I'm at a point where I do need to showcase my abilities, but the goal is a guy like AJ Styles to show he can hang with John Cena -- show what he's made of. In terms of Brock or Roman or Braun, that's a bit of a different tale. The interest is already there," said Cena.
AJ Styles in particular was a name that Cena was excited to work with. Despite the fact that AJ Styles had worked in a tag team and feuded with Chris Jericho, Cena looked at Styles and wanted to help propel him into the main event in WWE.
"I really love the chance to showcase guys for the first time. I know Chris worked with AJ before. I didn't think he got a proper chance. He debuted in the Rumble, didn't get a chance to do much. I really wanted him to be able to showcase what he could do. He's just super good," Cena said.
Styles was far from the the first of his Kind that Cena looked at as needing the opportunity. There were a plethora of names that Cena thought needed the opportunity to go at him on the microphone that helped out their characters in the long run. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of them had similar backgrounds.
"If you let these guys talk and make a statement -- Punk, Bryan, Seth (Rollins), Kevin, AJ -- any of those guys who come from traditional roots of pro wrestling, I think they did a great job explaining themselves on the microphone," Cena said.
Cena would tackle several other topics, including Edge attacking his father, NXT, his pro wrestling career and much more, You can hear the full podcast at this link, and Fightful will have several stories on the show.