Stephanie McMahon currently holds the power to run WWE in her own way. She alongside WWE President Nick Khan serve as co-CEOs, taking over the reins after her father Vince McMahon retired in 2022. Stephanie is also responsible for saving the career of the Franchise Player, John Cena, who became the biggest star in the industry.
John Cena made his debut in WWE in 2002, answering Kurt Angle’s open challenge. Initially, he was presented as a typical wrestler in colored trunks without a clear direction. Despite a good start, Cena was failing to connect with the audience week after week, being on the verge of getting released by WWE.
The 16-time World champion then revamped his entire presentation by debuting his ‘Doctor of Thugonomics’ persona, which came to fruition thanks to Stephanie McMahon. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter stated that Stephanie heard John rapping off-screen and pitched it to Vince McMahon to push the new gimmick on television that made him rising star on SmackDown.
”He was actually on the verge of being cut and his push was ended by Vince McMahon until Stephanie McMahon saw him rap off television and put in the word to go with him as a major star.”
John Cena’s rapping style, charismatic personality, and in-ring acumen helped him get over with the WWE Universe, which ultimately led to his first major push. Cena then went on to defeat JBL to win his first WWE championship at WrestleMania 21 and as they say, the rest is history.
Do you miss John Cena’s ‘Doctor of Thugonomics’ gimmick? Sound off in the comments!