Former WWE writer Bruce Gewirtz has revealed why Vince McMahon didn’t turn John Cena heel during the majority of his full-time run in WWE.
After becoming a face in 2003, Cena famously never returned to the heel persona that he adopted early on in his WWE career.
As he rose to wrestling stardom, Cena was presented as the face of the company. He won 16 world titles and headlined numerous WrestleMania events, including his match against The Rock at WrestleMania 28.
Cena’s work outside the ring made him an extremely popular figure. He has done charity work for the Make-A-Wish Foundation for many years. Earlier this year, he broke the record for the most wishes granted (over 650).
However, ‘The Leader of the Cenation’ was a polarising character in-ring amongst WWE fans in the early to mid-2010s, mainly due to the amount of time he featured in the main event scene as a face. At that point, some fans wanted Cena’s character to change and for WWE to refresh his gimmick.
In 2015, Cena won the United States Championship, and held a weekly open challenge for the title which increased his popularity amongst fans. Now a part-time wrestler, he receives huge reactions every time he steps foot inside a wrestling ring.
But fans have always wondered what would have been if WWE did turn Cena heel – and whether there was any genuine consideration given to doing so.
Why did John Cena never turn heel in WWE?
Speaking on the ‘Cheap Heat‘ podcast, Gewirtz, who worked for WWE as a writer between the late 1990s and 2015, explained that Vince McMahon gave serious consideration to turning John Cena heel throughout his full-time run in the company. However, that did not happen.
Gewirtz explained (quotes via WrestlingNews): “Vince was tempted. He was very tempted a couple of times. But ultimately, there was the merch and everything John does.
“John himself said when approached with the idea, he was like – and this is what is so great about John – ‘Ok, listen. If you want to turn me heel, if that’s what Vince says you guys want to do, I’ll do it. But just so you know, I will go full boar heel’. There won’t be any of that, ‘Oh, he’s a fun heel, he’s a cool heel, he’s winking at the audience heel’. He is going to go full heel.
“I think Vince was like, John is captain of the ship here. There are the issues of who would he work with? Who would replace him as the top babyface? The merchandise, and everything else John does off-screen.
“So ultimately, Vince didn’t want to pull the trigger on that. I think he made the right decision, because John has been the standard bearer.”
Featured Image Credit: WWE