John Cena Says WWE Needs to Transform Its Product During the Pandemic Era

John Cena had a new interview with Sports Illustrated drop this week, in which he addressed how WWE has been handling the coronavirus pandemic and handling its product from the WWE Performance Center. Cena was still on WWE television back when the company made the transition to the PC in mid-March, but hasn't popped up again since his Firefly FunHouse Match with Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 36 (which mostly took place in a different setting anyway). The 16-time former world champion and consummate company man couldn't help but admit the product has changed without fans being in attendance, and said WWE is still in a transition period in regards to how they've handled it.

"I've always said that the most important superstar is the audience," Cena said. "I don't think we've ever seen a better indication of that than right now. The program is different."

"I firmly believe that not only will it survive, it will thrive, but it has to, as an entirety, embrace this process," he continued. "I believe they're beginning to do that. The longer they go without an audience, they need to transform as an entirety what sports entertainment is. I think they're in this weird sort of middle ground, where they don't know when crowds will be let back in. If you truly commit to a paradigm shift, that may scare away the normalcy the viewers are used to seeing. So you kind of have to operate like there is an audience, but there isn't an audience. It's a very weird time. I don't think they've committed to transition yet, and that's absolutely justifiable because, eventually, people will be let back into turnstiles. It's very complicated. There isn't a clear-cut answer to be like, 'Just do this and it will be better.'"

Later in the interview he talked about what wrestlers can do to make the best of the current situation.

"It's literally asking someone to unlearn what they've learned, and that's a bold risk," And a lot of people are not comfortable taking those risks. But I think the more people embrace story, even when there is none--and that doesn't mean, 'Well, the creative team didn't provide a story, that means there is no story.' No, I'm living proof that is not the case. You just have to use your imagination. In this realm, imagination is king. Action will not drive the product forward. It has to be imaginative, and it has to be well-presented."