WWE news: John Cena reveals WWE were set to release him in 2002 before debuting his rapping gimmick

Could you imagine what WWE would have been like since 2002 if John Cena hadn’t made it?

Cena was part of a talented class of youngsters that came through the ranks after the Attitude Era had finished, which included Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton and Batista.

Less than three years after his debut match against Kurt Angle, Cena was winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, and he was already on his way to super-stardom and success outside of the business.

But Cena’s career may have been completely different if it wasn’t for Stephanie McMahon overhearing his lyrical talents in 2002.

On the WWE Network’s Ruthless Aggression documentary, Cena explained that then-SmackDown GM Stephanie was impressed with his rapping whilst the superstars were on a tour bus, and said he should take his talents and put them to use on TV.

And it came at a time when Cena needed it most, as he was about to be released by WWE.

“I was told I was getting my release in the Christmas cuts, because it just wasn’t working, and there’s no argument there. It wasn’t,” Cena explained.

“They gave it to me on a silver platter. ‘John Cena. Ruthless Aggression.’ And I failed. I messed it up.

“It was on my last European tour, and I think I was in mixed tag matches – this is how well it was not going. I was just there to maybe have one last time in the ring, but I was on the way out.

But Cena decided to get involved with a bit of freestyling on the tour bus with Rikishi and Rey Mysterio, and after Stephanie was impressed with his skills, the Doctor of Thuganomics gimmick was born.

His rapping skills turned him from a heel to a fan favourite, but his dominating runs at the top of the card would make fans turn against him come 2006.

We now know that Cena is perhaps the most polarising figure in WWE history, but what a difference it would have been if he didn’t stumble across the gimmick that made him the character he is today…

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