WWE: John Cena Comments on Roman Reigns as an “Elite Level Performer,” WrestleMania, His Ring Gear & More!

John Cena, the 16-time WWE World Champion, participated in an in-depth interview with Sports Illustrated to promote his new movie The Wall, which is in theatres today. They also talked about wrestling a lot. It’s a really long interview that you can read right here, but here are some of the more interesting highlights.

Cena on Roman Reigns:

“Roman is in the trenches every night and he’s performing at an elite level with a champion caliber attitude. His performance and the response that he gets from certain audiences is indicative of an elite-level performer. He’s doing what I did in 2006, 2007, and 2008. He has all the justification in the world in saying it’s his yard.”

“I’m not going to take anything away from Roman. He handles his business with the utmost professionalism. He’s doing it on his own watch. He’s not one of the those guys that comes over to me and asks me, ‘What happens next?’ He’s doing it his way, and I think that’s the best way to do it. He’s not trying to be the next John Cena, but he is being the only Roman Reigns-and that’s why it’s met with so much adversity.”

“I can tell you from first-hand because I know. I wasn’t trying to be Stone Cold or The Rock, I was John Cena. That was met with adversity from people looking for the next Stone Cold or the next Rock. That’s what creates the dichotomy, the polarizing environment. I think Roman is doing a fantastic job, and he has an entire roster stacked with unbelievably gifted performers.”

Cena on wrestling in sneakers for the majority of his career:

“I’m a very weird thinker when it comes to WWE. If you look at every major sport, their uniforms continue to evolve and change. I think patent leather boots are archaic. We have wonderful technology as far as footwear. I certainly am glad to come out in shoes because I can now wear a more functional cross-training shoe in the ring, whether it’s a low top or high top or three-quarter.”

“The football helmet used to look different, too. Change is always met with adversity. When some people read this, they’ll want me strung from the tallest tree, but that would only make the thousandth time they’d want that. I believe our uniforms, in some cases, are archaic. That deters some people from showing their personality because they get latched onto this ideology. If you go back and trace the history of professional wrestling, the reason that people wore the high boots, the flashy tights, and the robes was to define personality. The high boots are just an extension of a wrestling shoe. I would like to see more diversity in terms of uniforms as a whole.”

Cena on the mixed tag match he was in at WrestleMania:

“I thought WrestleMania 33, as a whole, was wonderful. I think back to the buildup to WrestleMania, and I’ll talk ‘Inside Baseball’ for a second, there was a time when many folks thought they’d see John Cena versus The Undertaker, and there were many folks who seemed abruptly disappointed when they instead learned the possibility of a mixed tag match. Then you fast-forward six weeks later, and a lot of people were interested in a mixed tag match that was viewed, upon first advertisement, as a disappointment. That was a tremendous testament to Nicole, Maryse, and Miz for their ability to tell a wonderful story and keep people interested.”

“It was entertaining with a lot of grey area, often times touching on real life. I thought all the segments on TV were extremely interesting, and I can tell you, first-hand, that everyone worked tremendously hard on making it something digestible for the audience.”

Cena on his post WrestleMania match marriage proposal to Nikki Bella:

“I was able to make it the greatest moment of my life, which just so happened to be at a WrestleMania, in front of what I consider my family at what I consider my home. I really want to thank the audience that attended WrestleMania for understanding what that moment meant to me. If you watch the match back, they certainly did enjoy Mike and they certainly didn’t enjoy me. That was par for the course and I figured it would be that way, but I think everyone understood the gravity of the situation. I can’t tell you how much their show of respect meant to me.

“It’s a moment I forever will have, and it could have been filled with ‘No!’ chants or ‘Cena sucks’ chants, and I was fully ready for that, which is why I was so nervous. I am so very appreciative to everybody for allowing Nicole and I to have such a wonderful moment.”

Cena on his new movie titled “The Wall”:

“The backbone of The Wall is psychological warfare. This movie takes you on a ride where you believe you know what’s up but you really don’t, and that process repeats over and over again. You are brought on such a psychological journey that I firmly believe that, when the movie ends, you will strike up a conversation with the person next to you. Whether it’s a friend or a stranger, you will be talking to that person next to you.”

Those are some of the highlights of interview. You can read the rest at Sports Illustrated now.