John Cena on If He Watches AEW, The Value of Competition for WWE

John Cena spoke with Pardon My Take this week to promote the premiere of Peacemaker on HBO MAX, and at one point the subject of All Elite Wrestling was brought up. Cena claimed he hadn't seen any of the young promotion, but did support the idea of competition for the wrestling business as a whole. He explained, "I haven't watched AEW," he replied. "Do I think competition is good? I think competition is great. There is internal competition in WWE with performers wanting to be champion or performers wanting to be headliners. Whenever there is more buzz around the industry, it's good for the industry. It forces all of us to be at our best because if you're not, your segment is not good or your performance is not good, you may not have a future with the company and repeated bad segments from the group means the company isn't going to be good, which means the competition must succeed.

"Competition brings out the best in us," he continued. "For all time, going out there as a performer, I wanted to to the best I could possibly do and set the tone for wanting to be the best show between Raw and SmackDown and certainly have eyes on the segments I was on. I was fueled by a sense of internal competition. Not knowing what it's like now to be in a market with a lot of different options, there are a lot of places to watch sports entertainment. That would only, for me, fuel me even more to be the best I can be."

In a separate interview with The Rich Eisen Show, Cena was asked WWE releasing so many wrestlers over the past two years

"I think a lot of it might have been a little slightly defensive hiring because there was and still is a giant boom right now in sports entertainment," Cena said. "People are absorbing this content, they are engaging. People are making a name for themselves outside of the WWE. It's no longer a one-stop shop. I think with its flux of passionate people who love sports entertainment, people do get a name for themselves outside of WWE and if the WWE feels that maybe they can be a fit in that world, they're gonna try to give that person a shot. They're also really bullish on continuing to hire new talent. The WWE Performance Center... they're at max capacity so you have all of these performers and a lot of them aren't getting a chance to perform. I think that's the real frustrating thing both to the WWE and the performer. Unfortunately at the end of the day, it is a business. I remember when I started in the WWE, I want to use the word fortunate. I was fortunate enough to be at the show at Atlanta where Stone Cold Steve Austin (walked out). That moment right there it shot through me like a cannon because I got the impression that if they could fire Stone Cold Steve Austin, unless your name was Vince McMahon, everyone was replaceable."

h/t Fightful