Report – John Cena & Locker Room Leaders

John Cena (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)

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Can a wrestler be a locker room leader if he’s not actually in the locker room?

It’s an interesting question for this generation of WWE stars who do not have the type of authoritative leader like The Undertaker in their midst on a regular basis.

John Cena is the assumed locker room leader, but veteran wrestler Santino used interesting phrasing that Cena “was” the locker room leader in a new interview. However, Santino followed up with the other side of the coin that Cena makes it possible for the underneath guys to get work, which makes him invaluable to the entire roster.

“He definitely was the locker room leader. But what happens is when guys like get their own bus they are not in the locker room anymore. He has his own bus, Randy has a bus, Big Show has got their buses and you literally don’t see them in the locker room because they have a different bus. But, on European tours he’s still in the locker room,” Santino said on the “Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling” podcast.

“That being said he was definitely the locker room leader or at least I saw him like that and the reason I saw him there was because of his work ethic and he is just a good guy, really good principles and morals and values. Just a stand-up guy and he works so damn hard. You could not be but awe inspired that this guy can just go and go and go and not complain or whine and he leads by example and that is what a real locker room leader is supposed to be.”

Asked if wrestlers like Cena and Randy Orton having private buses alienates them from the locker room, Santino replied: “No, if anyone could afford it they would have one too. It’s an investment in your career. You are prolonging your career because they have high quality mattresses and they sleep on the same one every night.

“If John Cena or Randy Orton are putting asses in seats in which I am benefiting from because I am on the same show well then I want my stars and my headliners and main events to be healthy because the more they put asses in seats, the more I get paid. That’s the opinion of the wrestlers in the locker room if you take care of the guy in the main event then he has some leeway because he’s feeding your family.”

Why is this important? John Cena is scheduled for a break at the end of the year. It opens the door for someone to step up and assume a leadership role in the locker room – either a “glue guy” for all of the wrestlers or a liaison to management. Going back to the lack of an authoritative figure like Undertaker, someone on the WWE roster has a chance to step up and assume a more prominent role to help the wrestlers in relation to each other and management.

2 Comments on Report – John Cena & Locker Room Leaders

  1. Santino doesn’t exactly get it, either intentionally or not. Being the star of the show isn’t the same as being the leader. The frontman of a band doesn’t mean they are the creative force. A hockey team captain can be a fourth liner. Just because you get the most attention – it doesn’t mean you are the one others automatically can rely on for advice and leadership.

    A locker room leader should be someone who is in the mix day to day, and acts as the link between ones peers and the higher ups – regardless of if you are talking about wrestling, sports or entertainment. Leading by example is great, but it seems Cena is leading from a distance. He doesn’t sound so much like a leader, but more the standard to aspire to. Cena is one of those posters on Corporate Kane’s wall.

  2. I seem to recall Cena stating, a few years back, that he didn’t agree with the type of old-school locker room environment upheld by guys like JBL, Bob Holly, etc.

    Maybe, though, WWE needs to incorporate some of those leadership principals back into their environment today?

    I don’t know… it just seems like much of the roster is so readily conforming, and not willing to step on anyone’s toes or really reach for that brass ring (which brings up another big issue: The creative team!). It’s cringe-worthy to me, for example, when they would have those segments where the entire roster, like obedient schoolchildren, would all march out onto the main ramp while Triple H and his wife make some sort of announcement. It’s emasculating! Back in the late 90’s, would Hunter Heart Helmsley (w/ DX), Rocky Maivia (w/ NOD), and Stone Cold Steve Austin do that? I think not.

    Pro wrestling really needs to get back to its roots.

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