WWE’s World Heavyweight champion John Cena was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on FOX Business on Tuesday morning to promote his new line of children’s clothing, available exclusively at Kmart. Cena made a number of newsworthy comments during the segment, talking about how long he plans to continue wrestling and revealing that his character generates $100 million a year for WWE.
Regarding his new clothing line, Cena said, “Essentially, the message of the clothing is to empower you through a positive messageI think that’s why we were able to leverage our brand (WWE), my brand especially with Kmart, because it wasn’t just a typical sponsor deal. A lot of athletes get a sponsorship – ‘here’s your upfront money, we’re going to use your likeness.’ I wanted to hold on to my asset, do it correctly, and create an inspirational line. So, it’s not a ‘wrestling-driven’ line. The line is called ‘Never Give Up,’ and truly my character on WWE plays one of aspiration, inspiration, and motivation. I try to defy all odds and do what I can to do the right thing.”
He added, “Kmart picked up on this concept. And, from a branding standpoint, I just didn’t outright leverage myself; I wanted a piece and equity in the brand. So, there was upfront money, plus equity in the brand.”
When asked about how long he continues to wrestle, Cena says he made a pact with himself to “gracefully walk away” from WWE when he feels like he can’t hang with the young wrestlers on the roster anymore. 36-year-old Cena said that most professional athletes are winding down their careers in their mid-30’s, but stopped short of saying how close he is to retirement.
“A lot of these athletes that are married to their sport think this is going to last forever,” Cena said. “Then, they blow out an ACL, they look around when they’re 35 or 36 and their career is coming to an end and they act like the income stream is going to continue.”
“I truly am obsessed with my action in the ring, but I am also truly obsessed with the business of WWE,” he said. “I enjoy the workings of the company and how we create success in WWE, both in a brand perspective and an individual perspective. So, I take the model that my boss Vince McMahon has stretched out throughout the globe and try to copy it at an individual level.”