John Cena in 'Peacemaker'

John Cena, This Is … Not the Move on the Vince McMahon Allegations

There are just things that do not need to be said in these situations. John Cena decided that his friendship, in this case, was more important to maintain than talking about what is going on with Vince McMahon. Why? Because he “loves the guy.” I guess … that’s more important?

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Cena, who I do love very dearly, was on Howard Stern, and the topic of the allegations against Vince McMahon came up, which include sexual assault and trafficking and have rocked the WWE. Many have been forced to talk about them (or just said things were being taken seriously like Triple H), but Cena’s response seems to be more rooted in his own feelings towards McMahon and less in understanding of the situation as a whole.

“I’ve openly said I love the guy, I’ve got a relationship with the guy, so that’s that,” Cena said. Now, that’s not the response you should have.

Let’s look at WWE star Randy Orton and how he broached the topic. “I’ve got to say this — I wouldn’t be where I am without Vince McMahon taking a chance on me a handful of times,” Orton said. “I would not be where I am today without Vince McMahon. But, f–k, I’m reading this sh-t. What you’ve seen and read, I’ve seen and read. As far as commenting on that, it f–king hurts my heart. It hurts my heart.”

Cody Rhodes, who has a very long history with McMahon due to his own father’s (Dusty Rhodes) connection with him, called it a “dark cloud” and put his own feelings aside to talk about the situation after he had just won the Royal Rumble. “I know, as far as the news is concerned, we were finding it out and reading the same things that you guys were reading,” Rhodes said. “You said a dark cloud, certainly. As far as TKO, Nick Khan and the Board clearly took it very seriously and acted immediately. Looking at the future, you know, I don’t know the answer to that, and I think somewhere is probably a very basic tenet of just: this crew, more than ever from a roster standpoint, is very family. Never seen anything like this. Most of the time, wrestling locker rooms are fighting, talking trash about each other, making fun of each other, sandbagging each other in the ring, all that nonsense.”

Cena doubled down

Stern, who is not stranger to controversial friends and moments, tried to give Cena the benefit of the doubt. He explained that his own friends have gotten into “hot water” and that he found it confusing to deal with because he had a loving relationship with this friend only to learn disturbing information about them. When Cena asked what he did about it, Stern responded in a way that … should probably have been Cena’s move.

“There are some people I no longer want to associate with,” Stern said. “And it’s almost not fair, because it’s not like they’ve been on trial. But there’s been accusations that are disturbing. So I go, ‘Can I be personal friends with this person?’ And some people, I can, because there are lines in my mind where things are drawn.”

He went on to say how there are just some things you cannot excuse in the name of friendship. “But some people I can’t, because it’s too big a mountain to climb,” Stern continued. “In other words, ‘If any of this is true, I can’t know you. You know, I loved you, I love what you did for me, I love our friendship, but now that I know this about you, there’s no turning back. I have to do what I morally think is right. And unfortunately, it’s not to associate.’”

Stern went on to say that he understood it was complicated to talk about McMahon because he understood what McMahon did for Cena’s career and the friendship that was there, but Cena said he didn’t find it complicated to talk about.

“I don’t think it’s complicated to talk about. I think it’s complicated to listen to,” Cena said. “And that’s kind of why I don’t necessarily put a lot of time and equity into it. Again, I think there’s still a long ways to go. I can say this: I am a big advocate of love, and friendship, and honesty, and communication. But in the same breath, I’m also a big advocate of accountability.”

“I think you explained it well,” Cena said, “of if someone’s behavior lies so far outside your value system, that the balance shifts of like, ‘Man, I can’t operate in a world where this works’ — that’s the end result of being accountable.”

This is far from the first accusation against McMahon

McMahon has faced multiple allegations, and this latest suit filed by WWE employee Janel Grant is just the one that finally broke the camel’s back. So Cena continuing to act as if this is something new is where my frustrations lie. He went on to talk to Stern about being there for his friend to see how the situation plays out.

“So, right now, what I’m going to do is love the person I love, be their friend, and by that it means, ‘I love you. You’ve got a hill to climb,’” Cena told Stern. “And there’s the saying of, ‘you don’t know who your friends are until the s–t hits the fan,’ or ‘your back’s against the wall.’ That doesn’t make any of what’s going on any easier to swallow.

“But just telling somebody that ‘Hey, I love you — man, this is going to be a hill to climb — we’re going to see what happens,’” Cena said. “And that’s that. It sounds so cliché, but it has to be one day at a time. But at the same token, I’ve openly said I love the guy, I’ve got a relationship with the guy, so that’s that.”

If this were something that he said the first time allegations against McMahon came out, I would have rolled my eyes, but at least his stance of waiting to see would make a smidge more sense. Instead, he is taking this stance after years of allegations against McMahon because he’s … his friend?

It’s just frustrating because what has come out against this man is horrific, and to see Cena try to say he’d there for his friend is just … not what any of us who love Cena want to see.

(featured image: Max)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.