John Cena has long faced a stigma that he “buries young talent” throughout his career.
Cena has been the top superstar in professional wrestling for the better part of the last 13 years. During that span, he’s been on the winning end of the majority of his feuds, which has led to fan criticism.
The 16-time world champion responded to his critics during an episode of the E&C Pod of Awesomeness and not only denied burying new talent, but also arguing that his opponents have benefitted from working with him.
“If you look at any Superstar, when they get in there with me, they do their best work,” Cena said. “And I have this notorious, crazy reputation for burying guys because they get so lost in the shuffle after they’re done with me. I think their perspective is skewed because I bring that out of them, whatever it is they need to find, I bring it out of them.” Cena elaborated, “a lot of these guys that I face are getting the chance to make a name for themselves and after they face me, they can’t recapture the energy and that’s why they get lost in the shuffle, because it comes from creative inspiration. Meanwhile, I get my next opponent and I’m already thinking about crazy things I could do, or say, or act, and I’m on to the next one. And they just wait for that experience to happen again and it doesn’t.”
There’s no denying that working with Cena has been beneficial for numerous WWE superstars.
Kevin Owens kicked off his main roster run by immediately facing Cena and winning clean in his first match. Since then, he’s remained one of the top heels in WWE and has held numerous titles, including the Universal Championship, since debuting in May 2015.
AJ Styles, who Cena discussed with hosts Edge and Christian specifically, also benefited from working a three-match series with the former champion. Styles’ first segment with Cena included dueling chants from the crowd and was arguably the specific moment that he was solidified as a “top star,” prior to winning the WWE Championship shortly after.
As of late, Cena has been booked to more superstars over clean than in past years, including recent losses to Shinsuke Nakamura on SmackDown Live and Roman Reigns at No Mercy.
Cena’s prestige makes every match a “big deal” and provides a marquee opportunity for a new opponent. What WWE decides to do booking wise afterward is on them.
But there’s no denying that just having a match against Cena can do wonders for a superstar’s career.