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John Cena Talks Turning Heel, Nikki Bella & More in SI Exclusive

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WWE superstar John Cena called the opportunity to propose to Nikki Bella at WrestleMania 33 in April the “most important” WrestleMania moment of his illustrious professional wrestling career.

On Wednesday, Sports Illustrated passed along comments from Cena about the day he got engaged inside Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida during WWE’s biggest show of the year:

I’ve headlined with The Rock and I’ve been a part of a lot of WrestleMania moments, but this moment with Nicole is the one most important of all because I get to stand alongside her in a WrestleMania ring. All of that is because of her story. She drives me, she inspires me. We learn from each other every day. On top of that, I’m head over heels for her. And she loves this business just as much as I do, so it’s special.

Cena’s proposal, which Bella—real name Stephanie Garcia-Colace—accepted, capped an entertaining feud with The Miz and Maryse, who are also married in real life. Cena and Bella won a mixed tag team match between the couples at Mania.

It also preceded a wrestling hiatus for both. Cena was removed from advertising through at least early June to handle other projects, while Bella is out due to lingering neck problems.

One question that hovers over Cena is whether he’ll ever turn heel. Barrasso asked the 16-time world champion about that and, while he didn’t completely discount it happening one day, the fan favorite among kids talked about his desire to push a positive message:

I don’t think everyone wants me to turn. There is a group of people that don’t like what they see, but the most important message I send is you can’t please everybody, never be ashamed to be who you are, and know that what you do affects people. I look at it as a way to provide hope for families that don’t go through what we consider a normal day by providing a smile and happiness. I look at WWE as a vehicle to provide an escape and happiness. That’s why I’m here every year, I believe in what we do.
Ultimately, Cena already receives the biggest overall reaction among any wrestler in WWE because of the kids’ enthusiasm and the disdain among a group of longtime adult viewers. So there really isn’t much incentive, financial or otherwise, for him to turn to the proverbial dark side.

The 40-year-old Massachusetts native remained a part of the SmackDown Live brand following the company’s recent Superstar Shake-up. So he’ll return to the Tuesday night show once his outside interests are all taken care of, probably sometime in the summer.

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