John Cena Discusses Nearly Turning Heel in 2012, Why It Was Canceled

Global WWE Superstar John Cena revealed during a recent interview that he almost turned heel during the prime of his career while feuding with none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He also revealed that the reason WWE put a stop to the heel turn came down to money.
WWE John Cena at WrestleMania 39

Global WWE Superstar John Cena revealed during a recent interview that he almost turned heel during the prime of his career while feuding with none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He also revealed that the reason WWE put a stop to the heel turn came down to money.

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John Cena has been known as the constant good guy or to put it in wrestling terms the number one babyface in WWE. He was the pillar of truth and justice by always doing the right thing and getting back up after getting knocked down. He even preached it in his motto and theme song, hustle, loyalty, and respect.

WWE John Cena
Courtesy Of WWE

However, wrestling fans almost saw a completely different side of John Cena with a dramatic shift in his character. Cena was recently a guest on INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet and talked about how in 2011, around the time of the big John Cena vs. The Rock match, he almost turned heel.

Cena said on the angle (H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription), “I got word that they were gonna do it. I went out and recorded a new song. I went out and got all new gear.” However, the plans ultimately fell through.

John Cena Reveals Details About His Scrapped Heel Turn

Cena admitted that he was unprepared for a shift in his character before. The specific time he brings up was with his “Ruthless Aggression” persona early in his WWE career. He didn’t want a repeat of that so he took the impending heel turn very seriously.

Cena had just heard rumblings of a possible heel turn and began to prepare. He talked about how much he prepared, what that preparation looked like, and what a heel and a heel turn meant to him. He stated the following to Chris Van Vliet:

“I heard rumblings of ‘we’re going to do it’ and in 48 hours I had a new track, a new studio mixed theme song, final mix, I had seven new singlets, low-cut singlets with boxing type robes. I already had the boots in storage so I dusted them off. I was ready to go and already thinking about what I can do with the story. What is a heel? A heel is not just new gear … The message behind the singlet and the boxing robes and the boots is it’s the exact opposite of what you saw with the street gear.”

– H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription
WWE John Cena and Solo Sikoa
Courtesy Of WWE

Cena admitted the reason behind his drastic change in clothing was to be the opposite of his babyface character. He wanted to be the opposite of what he previously stood for. He would start to not work as hard, show up less, be untrustworthy, and lack respect. His heel character would be the complete inverse of what he was before as a good guy.

Cena’s mentality was to take the John Cena that fans knew and loved and make that person disappear. The new Cena would be a shadow of his former self. With the complete change in character, it would allow him to tell a new and interesting story. Cena continued during his interview:

“All those things you can take and make interesting stories and this is the stuff that’s running through my head. Not what moves I can do. It’s like how can I take the intellectual property that people are familiar with and twist it so it’s like, ‘This guy’s insane.’ It’s everything I’ve come to love and now I genuinely hate it and being a real bad guy”

– H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription

Leaving Too Much Money On The Table

Cena was really excited about becoming a heel. However, he and WWE realized that it was ultimately too costly of an idea. Cena and the company would lose too much on the character’s merchandise sales because Cena’s plan for the heel turn would be to have no new merchandise made for him. He wouldn’t even grant any public appearances, so he could fully commit to the heel character. However, it was ultimately decided that Cena was too popular to put a stop to that.

WWE WrestleMania 39 - John Cena Entrance
Image via WWE

Seeing Cena become a heel would be extremely interesting and exciting. As far as him being too big of a Superstar, that comes down to a matter of opinion. When people think of the biggest wrestling babyfaces of all time, the two names they might throw around are Cena and Hulk Hogan.

Hogan might have been the biggest babyface ever in pro wrestling. However, in 1996, Hogan turned heel and joined the nWo. It came at a time when fans were growing complacent and sick of Hogan’s longtime babyface act, not unlike many fans being disenchanted with Cena when he turned heel as well. Hogan’s heel turn helped make WCW into a true rival to WWF/WWE and the nWo merchandise sales went through the roof. Had Cena and WWE pulled the trigger on the heel turn, it arguably could have been huge.

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Do you think John Cena would have been a good heel? Do you think that turning heel would have caused WWE to lose too much revenue? What would have been key features Cena would need to change to become a successful heel? Let us know on social media if you would have still been a fan of Cena if he turned heel.

SOURCE: INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet, Wrestling Inc.

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Robert Watson

Just a guy reading comics, watching wrestling, and wondering if aliens exist