Source: Long Island Press
CONCORD, N.C.–The injuries that have plagued World Wrestling Entertainment recently have done nothing to dampen John Cena’s spirits–or change the company’s direction, for that matter.
WWE champ Cena spoke with the Press at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Sunday, where prior to the Coca-Cola 600 he was promoting Fast Cars & Superstars: Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, an ABC reality show that will debut on June 7. Cena is competing against 11 fellow celebrities–including the likes of NFL Hall of Famer John Elway, tennis star Serena Williams and actor William Shatner–with assorted NASCAR drivers serving as tutors.
But Cena, despite his moonlighting as a rapper, movie star and now wheel-turner, is still a grappler at heart. He is quick to assert that WWE wrestlers on the shelf will have no effect on the company’s future schedule.
No, not at all,” Cena said when asked if there had been any talk about tweaking the house show regimen in an attempt to keep talent healthy. “Live event business is great. Pay-per-view business is great. TV business is great. And that’s where we make our money. We make our money selling tickets. And I think it falls on the hands of the talent to really be careful in there. We’ve got some guys that are hurt that have been in it for a while. Shawn Michaels is out hurt, Undertaker is out hurt, Triple H is hurt, Rey Mysterio is hurt. These are guys who are 10 years or more involved.
“So, I don’t want to say it’s because of the schedule. I’m just saying you can only do this full tilt for so long. And these guys are gracious enough to lend their time full tilt. In our sport, you’re going to get hurt. It’s only a matter of time. We’ve just fallen on some hard times where everybody’s injured at the same time.”
Cena said during the press conference that he’s on the road around 320 days a year. But later, when the subject of TNA’s more forgiving schedule was brought up and how that might lead to even more converts, he didn’t mince words.
“Let me put it to you this way: If a company is working five nights a [month], it’s not doing well as a company,” Cena said. “So, I really like our schedule, and if I could send a message to anybody, it’d be our locker room. Now is the perfect time for the next Shawn Michaels to step up, the next Triple H to step up. There is nothing but opportunity in front of any of the young Superstars who’s ever wanted to make a name for themselves.”
It was a busy weekend for Cena, who on Friday night participated as a guest referee in a Chaotic Wrestling card in Byfield, Mass.
The show promoted drunk-driving awareness. Cena’s brother Daniel, a Westbury (Mass.) Police Department officer, was injured by an alleged drunk driver in February while in the line of duty.
The card featured a cameo appearance from Vince McMahon, who received a Cena “FU.” The champ appreciated the support of his boss, even though he didn’t know McMahon would go to that extreme.
“I found out he was coming when he hit the ring,” Cena said. “It was a very big surprise for everybody there. He kind of gave me little hints that he may be there, but I know he’s a busy guy.”
Cena’s a busy guy, too, and he hopes his new side project is successful in the same way Stacy Keibler‘s was on Dancing With the Stars.
“I think the celebrity reality TV is a fantastic genre,” Cena said. “I think as long as those shows are done well, great production, great excitement, they’re going to be a success. Because everybody wants to see celebrities out of their environment. And I think this is one of those shows that’ll be a hit because it shows celebrities out of their environment, but in an environment where everyone can relate to them. Because you’re driving a car at high speeds, and everybody’s sped on the freeway. So, everybody knows what they’re talking about. NASCAR has such a great fan base, and I think a lot of people are going to turn in to this.
“It’s a very different element than Dancing With the Stars, but I think it’s going to be just as much of a success. I’m just happy to be one of the people chosen. If it goes a second season, I’m already throwing my hat in the ring. I’d love to do it again.”