Cena had long been presented as a babyface who would get a mixed reaction and The Rock came in to a babyface reaction as audiences loved the nostalgia of "The Great One." Neither man changed much as far as their character, giving their truth in promos and blending reality with wrestling.
Appearing on The Pat McAfee Show, Cena revealed that Vince McMahon thought about the idea of finally turning Cena heel, but Cena wanted to make sure it was a full-time move and not a flip of the switch.
"I remember Vince toyed with the idea of turning me heel versus The Rock in Miami. I said, 'No problem, I understand, I'll do it. Just remember that we are so deep in at this point that we can't do it and then jump back because we'll be sunk at both ends.' If we do it, I have to be the opposite of virtue, I have to be pure evil and we go all in.' From a believability standpoint, people always see me in uniform because I want people to know that what they see is someone they can relate to. He decided against it and at that point he said, 'I don't think we're ever going to do it.' I have the luxury of playing this character, but I always play this character, which is great because it got me to dive into nuances like the Firefly Fun House match where I was like, 'what if I have a meta experience through all of my flaws, all my timeline,' and do stuff like that," he said.
The Rock would win the clash between the two at WrestleMania 28, but Cena would avenge the loss one year later at WrestleMania 29.
Cena would remain a babyface during his WWE run despite the mixed reactions from fans. In the Firefly Fun House match against Bray Wyatt, which took place at WrestleMania 36, Cena dressed up in NWO gear, providing a brief alternate timeline to what a heel turn may have looked like.
While doing media rounds for "Peacemaker," Cena provided an update on his WrestleMania 38 and WWE status. You can find his full comments by clicking here.
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