16-time WWE champion John Cena has slowly but surely stepped away from in-ring action while simultaneously transitioning into a Hollywood actor. In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated's Justin Barrasso, Cena addressed his WWE future and explained how great he feels with his "very reduced workload" in the company.
“I literally give my life, willingly, to WWE,” said Cena. “But you shouldn’t be the same person you were yesterday. You should always evolve and grow and change. I want to make sure I still love what I do. I never want to get to the point where I steal your money just to get your money.”
In discussion his personal transition away from the world of professional wrestling, Cena described how easy it is for other superstars to become addicted to the business and continue competing well past their prime. Specifically, he acknowledged Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin for the way they managed to walk away on top while maintaining, and growing, their rabid fan base.
“Professional wrestling is a wonderful industry, but it’s also extremely addictive,” said Cena. “It’s addictive because it makes you feel relevant, it makes you feel important. It can fill the void of a lot of things that you may not be brave enough to face. It also pays really well, so you get attached to the financial security. It allows you to make irresponsible financial decisions because you think the money’s always going to be there.
“The fan base has seen some wonderful individuals look a step slower. I just don’t want to be that person. People like Steve Austin and Dwayne Johnson, they have done it perfectly.”
He adds, “Any athlete that has played 17 seasons will tell you they need to be considering what to do when they play their last game. It’s been a wonderful ride. I’m at a very reduced workload now. I feel great, I still have my health, my sanity, and wonderful emotional balance.”
Cena last appeared in the WWE at Wrestlemania 35 back in April, when he reprised his role as the "Dr. of Thuganomics" for a segment with Elias. He is currently tied with Ric Flair for the most WWE Championship title reigns (16), and one would assume he'll get an opportunity to break that record when he's good and ready. But for now, it looks like Cena is perfectly happy in the acting world.