John Cena has revealed that he nearly ruined his friendship with Dwayne Johnson.
Appearing on Thursday’s (May 18) episode of Happy Sad Confused, the WWE superstar-turned-actor opened up about his rivalry with The Rock in 2012 and 2013.
Cena admitted to taking aim at Johnson’s character in order to promote their main event clash at Wrestlemania XXVIII. However, he described his approach as “selfish and short-sighted”.
“My view was if you love something, be there everyday,” Cena said of Johnson largely abandoning the WWE for his acting career. “Like, what a hypocrite I am, because I still love WWE and I can’t go all the time. And I just didn’t see that. I was so selfish.”
The Peacemaker star noted that he should have discussed his issues with Johnson privately, rather than dragging their drama into the public eye.
On promoting their Wrestlemania clash, he said: “Instead of going like, ‘Hey man, I’d like to try to do this thing to hook you back in and maybe we can collaborate and really make it big,’ I was just like, ‘Eff this, I’m calling this dude out. This is a moment. You gave me an opening. I’m going to kick the door in. And I was diligent and I understand why he got upset.”
Cena said that Johnson, alongside fellow wrestlers like Dave Bautista, had been working to change “the perception of the industry” and make it “okay to be in WWE,” but that he didn’t realise it at the time.
“These guys are breaking down barriers, shattering ceilings, and on top of that, just transcending the art form,” said Cena.
“I just got selfish and wanted a main event marquee match because it would better what I thought was the business. That was short-sighted and selfish. It worked! But it worked at the cost of two people who communicated and almost put it in jeopardy. There was a moment where there was a lot of bad vibes between us and rightfully so.”
Cena added that he and Johnson made some “great TV” for WWE fans, but that it very nearly came “at the cost of our friendship, which I would like to say now is in a really good place.”
Immediately after their Wrestlemania match in 2012, Cena visited Johnson’s dressing room to explain that he was simply trying to sell tickets.
“Not only did I hope he [understood] my perspective but, a year later, I knew that my perspective was wrong,” he said. “And yes, it worked. And yes, we sold tickets, and yes, people loved it and they chose sides and it was a real polarising event. We could’ve done it working together and playing nice, and that’s my fault.”
Meanwhile, Cena has reprised his role as Jakob Toretto — the brother of Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto — in the recently released Fast X. Last week, Diesel teased that the franchise could conclude with a twelfth film.