Shortly after John Cena made his debut in the WWE over a decade, he underwent a huge character change. He assumed the persona as “Doctor of Thuganomics” that had a strong connection to hip-hop. In a recent interview with ESPN, Cena revealed why he dropped the gimmick years ago.
“To me, there was definitely some method behind it. Hip-hop certainly is in sync with the youth and every day that passes I grow less youthful, as much as I have tried to hold onto it. I knew that the platform really wouldn’t be indicative of success. I knew [the PG format] would just drastically change the style and almost cripple the character so I was the one proactively who said ‘no’ and said ‘I would like to take everything another way.'”
The use of that character helped raise him to prominence in the company and gain a strong following. He rode it all the way up to becoming the WWE champion by defeating JBL. Cena dropped the gimmick once he knew it ran its course in popularity in the WWE Universe.
What also made the decision easier was the company changing to a PG format that frowned upon some of the skits that the character would partake in. This led to Cena embracing the “Hustle, Loyal, and Respect” mantra that he has built an even stronger fan base. This just shows another reason has been so successful in the WWE.