Vince McMahon's First Impressions of a Young John Cena, According to His Dad


Vince McMahon's First Impressions of a Young John Cena, According to His Dad
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When wrestling fans think of WWE legends, John Cena inevitably makes the list. However, it's hard to believe there was a time when WWE Chairman Vince McMahon considered dismissing him as nothing more than a "steroid freak." In a revealing interview with Pancakes & Powerslams, John Cena Sr., the wrestler's father, shed light on how the tables turned for his son within the WWE.

Back in 2002, John Cena made his debut as a generic, muscle-bound good guy—a persona that initially failed to resonate with WWE audiences. Cena's career trajectory dramatically shifted during a European tour with WWE.

On a bus filled with wrestling superstars and management, Cena showcased his freestyle rapping skills. Stephanie McMahon, daughter of Vince McMahon, was on board and impressed. She recommended featuring Cena's rapping talent on TV, initiating a transformation that would eventually lead to Cena's "Doctor of Thuganomics" persona.

The Rap Breakthrough

Cena Sr. reminisced, “I think they were coming back from a show, and he was rapping on the bus. Stephanie heard that, and asked if he could do it on TV. Of course, we did it on TV, and it just seemed to take off from there”.

However, Cena Sr. mistakenly referred to this breakthrough moment as happening during a Thanksgiving episode, when it was actually a Halloween episode of Smackdown in 2002, where Cena donned a Vanilla Ice costume. Despite the burgeoning popularity, Vince McMahon's initial impression of Cena was far from favorable.

According to Cena Sr., "Vince said, 'we gotta get rid of this dude. I can't have a steroid freak walking around here.' Others defended Cena, affirming that he had passed all drug tests. That's when Vince and Bruce Prichard decided to invest in evolving Cena into the Doctor of Thuganomics." It's crucial to note that John Cena has never been reported to have failed a drug test or used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his WWE career.

His transformation from a nearly-dismissed newcomer to one of WWE's greatest legends is a testament to how quickly fortunes can change in the wrestling world—often thanks to a single moment of raw, undeniable talent.

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