Just one day after AEW and NJPW opened the Forbidden Door of pro wrestling, WWE and John Cena slightly cracked opened a window.
June 27th marked the 20th anniversary of the debut of John Cena, one of the biggest stars WWE and pro wrestling as a whole, has ever seen. So to celebrate, WWE pulled out all the stops including having Vince McMahon in attendance to introduce Cena for his address to the WWE Universe. As the rest of the locker room stood on stage, Cena, who also took part in several backstage segments, talked about how this was his WWE birthday and there was nowhere he’d rather celebrate than in the ring. Cena thanked the fans telling them if not for them, he wouldn’t have been able to stand in that ring for 20 years and he wouldn’t have been able to accomplish everything that he has both in WWE and outside of the ring. Cena credited everything to the loyal fans, who all these years later, still chant his name.
But in addition to the fanfare for Cena, WWE reached out to some of their biggest names, both within the company and outside of it, to send in video messages celebrating 20 years of the Cenation. Included in these tributes were Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Shawn Michaels, Trish Stratus, Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, Steve Austin, and AEW-contracted wrestlers Bryan Danielson (billed as Daniel Bryan), Paul Wigt (billed as Big Show), and Chris Jericho. The three men all shared their congratulations to Cena on his milestone and recounted sharing the ring with him with Danielson even saying Cena is one of his favorite opponents of all time.
— WWE (@WWE) June 28, 2022
WWE may not be ready to step through pro wrestling’s Forbidden Door fully just yet, but it was nice to see them willing to work with AEW in order to create a fitting tribute to Cena. The legend deserved nothing less.
Much like a few weeks ago when WWE allowed AJ Styles to do the same for Impact Wrestling‘s 20th Anniversary, seeing the video tributes from some of the great rivals of John Cena, who just happen to be AEW roster members now, was a reminder that pro wrestling doesn’t have to and rarely does, exist in a silo. While Jericho, Danielson, and Wigt have all moved on, that doesn’t erase the part of their careers that they spent in WWE and the milestones they themselves accomplished along the way. Even for one night only, it was nice to see two rival companies come together in a small way, to celebrate the career of one of wrestling’s modern pioneers.
— WWE (@WWE) June 28, 2022
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