In WWE, Cena gained industry fame after adopting a persona of a trash-talking rapper, and won his first singles title, the United States Championship, in 2004. The next year, Cena would win the WWE Championship for the first time.
Following that, Cena's character transitioned into a "Superman-like" heroic figure, and subsequently led the company as its franchise player and public face for the next decade. Cena has headlined several major WWE pay-per-view events, closing the company's flagship annual event, WrestleMania, five times.
In a long interview with The Wrap, the 16-time world champion explained why WWE no longer needs him from a financial standpoint: “It doesn’t mean that my heart doesn’t lie with WWE, I’ve often said that if I’m doing something like this then it’s impossible to do something like that.
I’m older now, I just turned 42. I watch WWE on a regular basis and the talent is getting faster and more precise, and I’ve always been referred to as ‘unorthodox’ so I’m not exactly the most precise.
They don’t need me, I am grateful for everyone who says ‘we miss you,’ and there was a time when I could genuinely say from a financial standpoint that they needed me, that time is up”. Although he is considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all-time by his peers, Cena was regularly met with mixed critical and fan reception during his career, thus making him one of the most polarizing professional wrestlers ever.