Time was that wrestlers didn’t translate into movie work. Professional wrestling, at least in the style practiced by the WWE, requires a ton of acting, but just ask Hulk Hogan about his Hollywood stint. It took Dwayne Johnson to break that ceiling some two decades ago. (Heck, maybe he’ll break another one and become president.) Now there are enough wrestler-actors that they can be picky. Recently Dave Bautista, who’s retired from the WWE, said he wants to avoid acting with fellow pugilists — a bold statement that colleague John Cena both mourns and understands.
Cena recently did a video chat for Esquire (in a bit teased out by Digital Spy), in which he tackled regular folks’ questions. There were light queries about his tighty-whitey scenes in The Suicide Squad. But one person went heavier, asking about what Bautista — with whom Cena has wrestled — said.
“I’m super sad about that, because Dave Bautista is an unbelievably gifted actor,” Cena replied. But I think when someone makes a statement like that, the important thing is to look at things from his perspective.”
He went on:
Dave has worked so hard on his craft, he is so dedicated to his characters, and really wants to put forth a body of work that gives him his own identity. I 100% understand that. Dave is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and one of the most generous guys you’ll ever meet. I don’t have any beef with Davie and I genuinely think Dave doesn’t have any beef with me. He really just wants to be identified and recognized for his work. And I cannot fault him for that. I applaud him for it. To be brave enough to say something like that kind of allows him to go forth on his own. And I appreciate that.
It’s an incredibly diplomatic and mature thing for Cena to say. Still, it would be nice to one day see the two of them playing best friends or brothers — something that has nothing to do with wrestling. At this point, they’ve shown so much range that few think of them as wrestlers trying out acting. They’re simply actors now. Who are, on top of that, great wrestlers.
You can watch Cena’s full chat below.