QUICK QUOTES: Bruce Prichard on the origins of John Cena’s rapper gimmick, Paul Heyman thinking it would kill his career

Dusty Rhodes episode

Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard: The Rise Of John Cena

Air Date: 6/23/17

Bruce Prichard on the often told story of Stephanie McMahon discovering John Cena rapping on a bus during a WWE tour:

“First of all, it wasn’t Stephanie, it was me. We would travel on buses and on private charter planes and Cena would be in the back of the plane. It was like a scene from a movie where the cheerleaders gather around and start singing and s**t like that. Cena would sit on the back of the plane and rap. And he would cut down everybody around him on the plane. I remember sitting there listening to this going ‘oh my god’ and everybody’s popping. The entire plane is popping at some of the s**t he does. It was entertaining as hell. Guys would throw things at him during the tour, say ‘hey John, how about his guy over here’ and John would just go into a completely impromptu rap. We were (in the UK), the Smackdown writing team, to have to come up with the Halloween show I believe was in Cincinnati. We had nothing for John. We had a big Halloween party where they were going to be dressed. And I said ‘well, for Cena, he’s gotta be Vanilla Ice. Let him rap.’ Heyman looked at me like I had steaming turds hanging out of my mouth. His words: ‘If you saddle this young man with a rap gimmick, we might as well put a bow on his career and bury him now. It will never get over and he will die.’ I said ‘we have nothing else.’

“So we come back and we wrote it into the script. Vince loves the theme shows, we were going to do this Halloween thing. I was dead set on making Cena a rapper. So Cena and I are walking down the hallway and we open another door to go into another hallway and there’s Vince McMahon. I said to John ‘Cut a rap on Vince.’ And Cena, without hesitation, just blistered Vince McMahon with a rap. Talked about his hair, talked about his suits, his announcing. I mean just blistered him. Vince laughed his ass off. ‘God**mn, that’s great. Who wrote that?’ John, real shy, says ‘well, I just came up with it. I don’t write them, I just spit ‘em.’ Vince says ‘Nah, who wrote that? That’s good s**t.’ He would just come up with s**t off the top of his head. So we did the Vanilla Ice s**t and it kinda grew from there, but John did his own raps, but it was that moment in the hallway that Vince heard him and went ‘holy s**t, this guy’s talented.’

“And god, Paul Heyman hated it. Heyman HATED it. Everyone did. They thought ‘you’re going to kill him with the rapper gimmick. There’s no white rappers.’ I said ‘that’s why he’ll be a heel, it’ll be great! Just let him bust on everybody.’ So that’s how the rap gimmick was born.”

Transcription by PWPodcasts Specialist Jeff Rush

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