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John Cena Admits Failure to Live Up to 'Ruthless Aggression' in Iconic 2002 Match With Angle

Posted By: Ben Jordan Kerin on Mar 05, 2024

John Cena Admits Failure to Live Up to 'Ruthless Aggression' in Iconic 2002 Match With Angle

John Cena has candidly expressed that he does not share the common enthusiasm for a particular WWE match as many fans do.

In 2002, an open challenge was made by Kurt Angle, inviting anyone backstage to confront him. This led to the debut of a then-unknown John Cena, who emerged to the ring with no remarkable entrance music. Identifying himself as John Cena, he boldly proclaimed his "ruthless aggression" before striking Angle. Despite his loss, Cena earned significant respect post-match, notably from The Undertaker.

In a conversation with Chris Van Vliet, Cena reflected on his evolution from the rookie of 2002 to the celebrated star he has become. Surprisingly, Cena views his debut performance as falling short of its goals, stating, "I think the things that they share in common are gratitude, grit, perseverance, and humility. I think the difference is the younger version lacks self-worth and the younger version lacks wisdom. So John Cena in 2002 gets to go out and fight Kurt Angle under the impression of two words, Ruthless Aggression. It was a failure because I was neither ruthless nor aggressive, and I wasn’t able to see the opportunity."

Cena elaborated on his lack of ruthlessness and aggression during the match, acknowledging his missed opportunities and lack of strategic thinking in his approach. "My blinders were, you’re getting a chance to go out there. Do everything you can and show him you can wrestle. No, I was given a golden ticket and a gimmick. Ruthless Aggression. And sure I wasn’t ready. The match was at the last second because Undertaker was sick. So the gear doesn’t match. But neither did the attitude at all. Like sportsmanship and grateful, especially after I slapped the guy, I should have been doing more than the match to gouge out an eyeball or rip at his tights, or be the exact opposite of ruthless aggression. Be a pacifist, whatever it is, but I didn’t dive into the opportunity I was given. I just went out there to do stunts," he explained.

Continuing, Cena reflected on his interaction with The Undertaker, admitting a missed opportunity for a more aggressive stance that could have significantly marked his early career: "Even the handshake thing with The Undertaker, somebody who’s ruthlessly aggressive would have slapped him like he slapped Kurt Angle. And now you’re like who the f*** is this guy? But I didn’t understand. Because I had blinders on about what the business is about. And now, I love to go to NXT because everybody has a different personality. And I was like, what would I do? Have you ever thought about this idea? But people are thinking the same way I was about I just want to go out and do these moves. Man, you need that, but you got to also get them to believe."

Source: itrwrestling.com
Tags: #wwe #john cena #kurt angle

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