WWE recently posted a video where John Cena rewatched his debut match with Kurt Angle that took place over 20 years ago.
According to Cena, he found out about his debut just hours before the show began and has mixed feelings about it.
You can check out some highlights from the video below:
On finding out about his debut match: “I found out at 2:45 in the afternoon that I’d be wrestling Kurt Angle. I had one meeting with Mr. McMahon before this, and I was pushed into his office and Michael Hayes asked like, ‘What do we do with this?’, and Mr. McMahon’s first sentence to me, it was a short meeting. He said, ‘Cut his f*cking hair, and then I was out of the office.”
On wishing he and Kurt Angle could have slowed down in their match: “I mean, you look back on stuff like this and I definitely could have done better with the idea of ‘ruthless aggression,’ and been embodied that more rather than just wear boots and tights, which is a rabbit hole we all find ourselves going down, ‘my look will identify my character,’ which is a bit of it, but it’s also demeanor and nuance and all,” said John. “This is just a bunch of stuff. I don’t mean to — I guess the goal was to make me tired. How’s that a test of one’s ability to sell tickets at a low price? You know, it’s weird. Here we are. 20 years later, I got an accidental match against the top performer and it was kind of like an inside joke to see if it would make me exhausted.
“I just got beat and I’m standing up and Kurt’s down, and I have to fall down,” John continued. “Reacting to his immediate lack of selling following his first defeat on WWE television. “But no, it doesn’t seem like the audience cared about it, which I always try to look past the ring. If you look past the ring, not too many folks care.”
On wishing he showed more “ruthless aggression” during his backstage segment with The Undertaker: “I just did what I was told, instead of being ruthlessly aggressive. Here I am, in fact, shaking hands and everybody and all that and this is awesome. This is an awesome moment. Certainly, it was pretty genuine. Everyone’s like, maybe you did really good. Let’s put it on tape.’ But here I am, intimidated by The Undertaker, John Cena. If I am aggressive and ruthless, I wouldn’t really be intimidated by anybody, right? I might not ask to shake Kurt’s hand or any of that. You know, here I am, marveling at my own hand because The Undertaker shook my hand. If I really embodied ruthless aggression and kicked him in the nuts, you know, or bowed up to him and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to take that championship in a week or so.’ It’s such a — man, it is not a shame because it was a good learning experience. The story turned out okay, but especially now after I see the match, I see the audience and where they lose interest. You have to slow down, you have to tell a story. Just doing what I was told in performances like that almost got me fired, and I can see why because you look at the audience, nobody cares.”
(h/t – Fightful)