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BREAKING: WWE Star John Cena to Host 2016 ESPYS on ABC on July 13

ESPN announced Thursday that former WWE World Heavyweight Champion, John Cena will host the ESPYS, their annual sports awards show on July 13.

The ESPYS (which stands for “Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award”) will have their 23rd ceremony this summer as John Cena joins the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Foxx, LeBron James, Jimmy Kimmel, Justin Timberlake, and Drake in the lineage of famous hosts of the prestigious show.

In an interview with ESPN’s Arash Markazi, John Cena discussed how proud he is to be the first professional wrestler to host the show.

“They asked, and of course I said yes. It goes without saying it’s a tremendous honor.” Cena talked about the challenges of potentially making light-hearted jokes towards some of the world’s biggest athletes, “It’s going to be different. It’s not really my style to go into this and just trash everybody. That’s not the way I do business. I hope that’s not the way it works out. I appreciate these athletes and I know they are heroes to many people, including myself, and it’s not like I’m going to go in there trying to be too cool for school and try to be way smarter than the room.”

With ESPN having WWE stars on their shows regularly, and several former WWE employees switching over to the sports network juggernaut recently, wrestling is enjoying a much more prominent spotlight and acceptance in the media. When asked about the significance of a WWE star hosting the show, Cena stated “I’ve worked my entire career to try to broaden the perception of the WWE. A lot of folks think because we’re so entertaining and oftentimes have such wild and well-defined characters that it’s all we are. It has kind of been my life’s work to tell the public that’s not true. To be able to host an event like the ESPYS and be able to do all the things I’ve been fortunate enough to do outside of the WWE, and all the while still return to the WWE, hopefully it’s a step in the right direction.”

The 2016 ESPYS will air live from Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 13 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

Analysis: This is great news for the WWE and Cena. Despite being out since early January, he still managed to land this gigantic opportunity for not only himself, but also the WWE in terms of exposure. The ESPYS have turned into a huge awards show, raising millions of dollars for cancer charities each year as well as drawing in millions of viewers during each show. In 2015, the show averaged a 6.0 rating according to Nielsen and 7.7 million viewers.

With Cena returning to WWE programming on Memorial Day, he’ll be able to promote the show and his fresh new hosting gig for the next two months, which I think is awesome.

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