John Cena returned to Monday Night Raw last week to set up his next WWE match — a United States Championship bout against Austin Theory at WrestleMania 39. Cena and Theory have openly traded barbs on social media in the past and the latter has openly spoken in interviews about Cena giving him guidance in his young career. However, the 16-time world champion told The Associated Press this week that their match was a decision made by the WWE rather than something he personally pitched.
“You would be surprised at my answer. Because that’s what I was told would happen. I don’t do that. I don’t say, I want to do this. I want to work with that person. I don’t ever do that. I’ve never done that. I just try and do what I’m told to do and do it to the best of my abilities. Instead of dictating my terms, I often just try to make the performance the best it can be,” Cena said.
He also briefly mentioned the scathing promo he delivered about Theory when the match was made official. He tore into the 25-year-old by saying he wasn’t ready for the match, how fans don’t care about him, how he doesn’t believe in his own gimmick (comparing it to Cena’s “Ruthless Aggression” gimmick prior to his rapper days in the early 2000s) and how he’ll be a loser regardless of who wins at WrestleMania.
“What I don’t do and what I’ve never done is curate the direction of the narrative. I don’t pick opponents, but I love to tell stories. I didn’t pick Austin Theory but I certainly spoke from the heart,” in that promo.
Cena also discussed being in the “twilight” of his career as his Hollywood career continues to thrive — “(My appearance on Raw) was the first time I came out into the arena knowing that this has a definitive end. Normally, you come out, you get all excited, OK, this is the next one and I’m waiting for the next one. I’m not done, of course. I made that statement accepting a match at WrestleMania so I know I have at least one more in front of me. But what I was trying to convey was, that was the first time I looked at all that excitement and energy and realized this is the twilight of that journey.”