The John Cena vs. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson rivalry was WWE's biggest rivalry of the 2010s, spanning across three WrestleManias and ultimately culminating in Johnson dropping the WWE Championship to Cena. But while the animosity between the two onscreen was apparent, it was also very real behind the scenes. Former WWE Head Writer Brian Gewirtz went into detail about the situation in his book, There's Just One Problem..., and discussed it in a new interview with Under The Ropes this week.
"Obviously Rock vs. Cena, on paper that's box office, and in reality, that's box office," Gewirtz said. "But the fact of the matter is they weren't on the same page on the beginning, and it was real-life animosity between them that obviously has since dissipated, and they're really good friends now."
"It was heated," he later added "I was literally in the middle of them in rooms, trying to be like 'You guys, if you just got to know each other you'd be such great friends.'"
He said the animosity stemmed from comments Cena had made in interviews about Johnson leaving the WWE to pursue his acting career, making it seem as if "The People's Champ" had abandoned the WWE fans. That sentiment eventually made its way onscreen, prompting Johnson to cost Cena the WWE Championship in the main event of WrestleMania XXVII and lead to them main eventing WrestleMania XXVIII.
Cena would later go on to start his own acting career in Hollywood and now finds himself in a part-time role with WWE. He has since apologized for criticizing Johnson.
"I'm sorry and I was wrong," Cena said back in 2018 while promoting Bumblebee. "That's the best thing I can do. I think my gripes were legitimate inside the WWE Universe. The WWE Universe is so dedicated and so fanatical, that they're giving me the same comments that I once gave Dwayne Johnson. Because every Monday, now moving to Friday, when they turn on the TV, that's their lives. That's the thing they follow the most... And if you're not there every Monday, as a viewer -- especially since I've been with you guys for 15 years — you feel offended. Especially since before, I was like, 'hey, man, where did you go?' This is a very tough balancing act, and it's one when I called out Dwayne, I called him out because of ignorance."