By Joe McDonnell
Hope all's well. Had a chance to sit down with John Cena before he threw out the first pitch prior to the Dodgers-Cubs game at Dodger Stadium Thursday night. The interview ran Saturday afternoon on the Sports Saturday Show with me and Bob Berger on Sporting News Radio. When he was interviewed he received a loud ovation...then proceeded to bounce the pitch to the plate. The catcher was Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly...Cena's favorite player when he was a kid. Cena said that even though he grew up a Red Sox fan, he's more of a baseball fan overall and that even though Mattingly was a Yankee, he loved waching Donny Ballgame play.
--I asked him about the controversy he started by backing the Tampa Bay Rays during the post-season last year against the Red Sox. He said that there's no controversy--he's a Rays fan plain and simple. Says he still has good feelings about the Red Sox and watches as many games as he can. But when he moved to the Tampa area he fell in love with the team and has become friends with some of the players and that the organization has treated him really well.
--Says he he was outspoken to Vince McMahon and others about moving WWE programming toward the PG rating. He said he feels very strongly about the product being consistently family friendly.
--Loved being back in LA for Summerslam. Says he tries to get back to LA as often as he can and hang with friends he met when he was wrestling there.
--Wants badly to win the championship from Randy Orton. Says he and Orton are the cornerstones of their generation of WWE Superstars. Orton is the moast gifted wrestler he's seen since Shawn Michaels. But he doesn't like what Orton represents--in or out of the ring. Has a problem with the way Orton conducts himself. Says he wasn't joking--he really doesn't like him. His dislike is "extremely legitimate. There's no love lost between us." Respect, yes. Like, no. He went on to say that it's also been waaay too long since he had gold around his waist and that he misses being able to say "The Champ is Here!"
--Feels that Summerslam is on its way to becomig a "junior version of Wrestlemania" with "a truly star-studded card."
--On the Dwayne Johnson controversy--"I'm really happy for Dwayne. The problem is that I'm a huge fan of his and his WWE personality, and speaking as a selfish fan, I wish I had him back. And speaking as a selfish fan, when I tell you I love tis business and I'm never leaving, well, that's the same thing Dwayne Johnson said. And now he's obviously NEVER coming back. He's a successful actor (who's making)good movies. But when some guys say they love this business and won't leave--then they do--that makes it hard for people to take me at my word. He just made it a little bit tougher for me. There's no bad blood. I certainly would like to have him comeback. Wrestlemania is in Phoenix next year, and if he wants to show up I'd be happy to wrestle him. But I have a feeling that's never going to happen."