WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson has spoken about why WWE decided to push John Cena as their top Superstar. He broached the subject during a recent episode of The ARN Podcast while talking about WWE’s Ruthless Aggression era.
“There was a meeting Vince [McMahon] had” Arn began. “I don’t remember what year it was, but it was time to make some changes. We were coming out of the Austin and Rock era, and those guys were going to be moving on doing their own thing. You had to fill a huge gaping hole, as far as personalities and talents. That were, not only bigger than life, they were bigger than the business at the time. They had exceeded everything that had ever been done before, you know Rock and Austin, when they were at their peak.”
Anderson explained how Vince McMahon talked about WWE’s need to move on from past Superstars during a production meeting. He recalled how Vince spotlighted three guys he wanted the team to look at: Batista, John Cena and Randy Orton. According to Anderson, it was stressed that “it needs to be one of these guys, or all of these guys.”
Arn Anderson On Vince McMahon’s Superstar Selection
Arn Anderson shared how he felt that all three were great choices to push. He pointed to Orton was a natural in the ring. He also noted how, when Batista was the face of SmackDown, he was “red hot” during that time.
“But Cena you know, they finally decided he was going to be the guy. Because, he wasn’t going anywhere. He wasn’t, you know. There were no negotiation [type] issues with him, he was going to be there as long as they wanted him to be there. And he ended up being the face of the company. Being a babyface and staying a babyface.”
Anderson continued, “Randy’s character took some trips back and forth. And Dave would go on and do some other things [in Hollywood]. So, You know, they decided on him [Cena]. We went with him and every week it was a conscious decision on what was done with all of his content. Whenever he was doing on the show or backstage or whatever. There was a lot of thought given to that.”
John Cena returns to WWE this weekend for WrestleMania 36. He will wrestle against “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in a Firefly Fun House matchup.
H/T to WrestlingNews for the transcription.