John Cena sat down with Corey Graves for an interview on After The Bell on Thursday to help promote his upcoming "Firefly Fun House" Match with Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 36. Cena gave some incredible insights throughout, discussing how he compares wrestling to jazz, how he's able to connect with audiences while working with an admittedly limited moveset and why he continues to stay apart of WWE as his Hollywood career takes off. At one point Graves asked Cena what the current generation of wrestlers needs to define the era (it's either the PG Era, the Reality Era or the WWE Network Era, depending on who you ask), and Cena frankly stated that he's not sure it's possible given the current wrestling climate and the fans.
"It [the generation] needs what I'm not sure it can produce, and that's just a state of where everything is now. Which is weird because it kind of always corrects itself. Where in a day and age where it needs a frontman or woman, and that's what will be able to define what the era is because it takes on those personality traits of its top star. Like I've said before I don't know if, all things considered, the crowd is so mixed that if the company puts its faith behind an individual, the knee-jerk reaction of the audience — even if they liked the guy last week — is to say, 'F— you, you're not going to tell me who I like!' So the audience is also tipping the scales of this not being able to happen."
Incredibly interesting insight from @JohnCena on what this current generation of WWE needs in order to define itself.April 2, 2020
"Universal popularity will never happen because someone will see it and get onto it and be like, 'He seems to be getting popular, let's stop this right now. Or, 'She's getting popular, let's change this right now,'" he continued. "And I've seen it happen with guys that are really darlings of that underground crew make it, and then as soon as they make it,the rug is pulled out from under them."
Graves used Seth Rollins as an example, referencing how fans turned on him mid-2019 after being the face of Raw for the first half of the year.
"It's just really difficult to get one definable figure to stand at the front and be like, 'Okay, let's go,'" Cena said, later adding that there is a ton of potential within the current WWE locker room and that "eight or nine" stars will carry the company forward rather than just one.
WrestleMania 36 airs this coming Saturday and Sunday night on the WWE Network from the WWE Performance Center.
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.