In a recent episode of "Hart to Heart" on Peacock, the legendary WWE star, John Cena, opened up to Kevin Hart about the transformation of professional wrestling, noting its evolution for the better over the last two decades.
Reflecting on his journey, Cena noted, "The wrestling industry has undergone a monumental shift since I first stepped into the ring. Not unlike comedy, which I'm sure you've witnessed morph since '98, wrestling has matured and blossomed tremendously.
Its growth trajectory has mirrored major sports leagues like NBA, MLB, and NFL from their nascent stages in the '70s and '80s to the massive operations they are now."
WWE's Global Entertainment Evolution
Cena went on to delineate the parallel progression of WWE, emphasizing its transformation into an entertainment powerhouse with a global reach.
"From staging shows in the AT&T Stadium in Dallas to performing in remote regions like Afghanistan, the WWE's breadth is a testament to its success," he said. He credited this success to its transition to a PG rating, turning it into a product that caters to multiple generations.
"As the brand expands, the goal is to cultivate a more diverse, general fanbase, necessitating an evolution in its approach," Cena added. The famed wrestler then touched upon the sentimental aspect tied to past performers, attributing it to a sense of nostalgia.
He argued that while newer generations may not grasp the essence of eras like the Attitude Era, it doesn't inherently make them inferior. The focus is now on appealing to a wider audience. Cena concluded with an upbeat note on the present state of WWE, highlighting how the performers today are more professional and considerate.
"Our talent is well-cared for, wiser, and healthier. There's less wastefulness. That's the upside of growth, the talent is better off, and ultimately, that translates into a better product for the fans," he said. In sum, Cena's reflections provide valuable insights into WWE's journey, its efforts to adapt to changing times, and its commitment to its talent and fans, painting an optimistic picture of the future of professional wrestling.