WrestleMania 37 marked the first time since 2003 that John Cena did not make any sort of appearance. The 16-time former world champion and WWE icon stated in numerous interviews before the show that the filming of Peacemaker and COVID-19 protocols made it impossible for him to attend the show without derailing the show's production. Fans maintained hope that he still might pop up in some form or fashion, but the show came and went without him (though his name did get dropped in a segment involving Bayley and The Bella Twins). In a new interview with Bleacher Report this week, Cena reflected on his absence from the show.
"We all have a window," Cena said. "And I love listening to 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin talk about his window. My goal when I stepped foot in WWE was to leave it better than I found it, and it's really great to be able to see an event. I almost had the best transition you can possibly have. My last two WrestleManias were very interesting: an almost cinematic-type match and before that I was a fan. I got to sit in the crowd and see WrestleMania. I got to see the product. I got to see a stadium full of fans and it was beautiful. I felt at home."
"I want to be where I am and doing what I am, that's why I made that choice," he later added. "I think it's really special, and we all think they're never going to go on without us. That's not true. It's more reassuring to me to not only see that WWE has a life after me, which is inevitable for sure, but that the life is thriving. There's so many great storylines, so many great matches. It's called WrestleMania, not CenaMania, you know? I've been a part [of it], and that part is over."
"So at least for the time being I'm here and I'm still away from WWE," Cena told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show back in February. "But I very much look forward to returning as soon as I possibly can."
Cena was last seen in a WWE ring at WrestleMania 36, where he lost the cinematic Firefly Fun House Match against "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt and disappeared.