John Cena recently spoke with Debbie Emery & Tony Maglio of The Wrap to promote the return of Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?, the show he will host on Nickelodeon when it premieres on Monday, June 10th. Featured below are some of the highlights from the interview.
On a return to WWE depending on the outside offers he has at the time: "That literally depends on the immediate future. There’s a few opportunities that have been set in front of me. If they work out -- and I hope they work out -- they’ll be wonderful challenges in life and for me to grow as a person, so I’ll more than likely take them. It doesn’t mean that my heart doesn’t lie with WWE. I’ve often said that if I’m doing something like [‘Fifth Grader’] then it’s impossible to do something like that."
"I’m older now. I just turned 42, I watch WWE on a regular basis and the talent is getting faster and more precise. I think I would have left the WWE high and dry, so to speak, [but] now they have so much talent and so many definable Superstars. There was a time when I could genuinely say, from a financial standpoint, they needed me -- that time is up."
On feeling like WWE doesn't need him anymore: "[WWE is] certainly in a better place now than they were in let’s say 2003, and I know Vince will say on a quarterly call that he needs his stars, but he’s also aware that he’s developing them at a more rapid rate than he did when I started. So I think the future is tremendously bright for WWE. The WWE does not need me. I need it and I love it, and I love every single moment I’m associated with it. But I felt it the first time this year at WrestleMania: I took a step back and looked at everything and (realized) it is such a powerful machine."
On a promise to always stay true to his WWE fans and wanting to get out on the right terms: "I’ve made it a promise never to shortchange the WWE consumer. They are dedicated, they demand excellence and if I can’t keep up with the speed of the show then I’d coach, I’d go down to the Performance Center often and speak to the students. I live in Tampa, which is close to Orlando. I am not saying ‘I’m doing this and leaving you guys behind.’ I’m having a talk with the man in the mirror and saying I might be a step slower and I am not sure it is right for me to go on. You always want to walk away at the right time and never want the courtesy clap from the audience.
"I don’t want to go out there and think I can perform like I’m 30, because I can’t. It’s something I’ve seen a few instances of and I’m going to try everything in my power not to do that. I am not sick of it, I am just trying to have that realistic conversation that not many people in sports or entertainment -- or sports-entertainment -- have, they want to hold on to that flame as long as they can. I would much rather leave a lasting impression for what I did then try to milk the system for selfish gain."
Check out the complete John Cena interview at TheWrap.com.