John Cena Was Surprised Over How WWE Fans Reacted to Him in 2021

John Cena made his surprise return to WWE at the 2021 Money in the Bank pay-per-view last July to one of the loudest ovations in recent memory. And while the 16-time world champion generated a mixed reaction for the overwhelming majority of his run as WWE's top star, the crowd reactions were almost universally positive throughout "The Summer of Cena," culminating in him challenging Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam in Las Vegas. Cena, while promoting the premiere of Peacemaker this Thursday, appeared on The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday and admitted he was surprised by how the fans received him across the country. 

At one point McAfee talked about what it was like working on commentary when Cena would appear, remarking on how wild the crowd always went. Cena interjected by saying it wasn't always that way.

"You got a very adjusted view, so I'm probably at the point where I could be deemed a nostalgia act," Cena said. "And you got to see that pretty firsthand. Not to say that I didn't treat it very seriously, I love every single time I get to step on the canvas. But man, had you showed up a little before that, it wasn't exactly all the same reaction as it was for Summer of Cena. Summer of Cena, to me, I was caught by surprise (in) every single arena I went to. Because it's usually a lot more, as Michael Cole would say, polarizing than that. So that was kind of my first experience where I would say the majority of the audience appreciated my presence there."

Cena also appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week and said it's unlikely that he'll appear at WrestleMania 38 this coming April. The Peacemaker star has not wrestled at a WrestleMania in front of a live audience since WrestleMania 34

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"WrestleMania is usually in the cusp of late March, early April. I don't know if I'm going to make it this year," Cena said. "That's a good conundrum to have because there are a lot of good opportunities coming up, which I would love to take. If all those things line up, I don't know if I'll be able to make WrestleMania. I will tell everybody watching, I'm not done with WWE by a long shot. That's my home, I love it. I was able to go back during the summer for a few months and entertain audiences when they welcomed audiences back to arenas and I've far from had my last performance."