Former WWE writer talks about attempts that were made to turn John Cena heel

During an interview with the Cheap Heat podcast, former WWE writer Brian Gewirtz talked about the creative team making pitches to turn John Cena heel. Here are the highlights…

Pitches for a heel turn: “Yes. For sure. There was a time we all did … We did push plenty of times for John to turn heel, and there was a lot of reasoning going into it. [Vince was] tempted … but ultimately, there was like the merch [sales] and everything John does.”

What Cena told the writers: “‘Alright, listen, you want to turn me heel? If that’s what Vince says you guys want me to do, I’ll do it. But just so know, I will go full boar heel.’ He was like, ‘There won’t be none of that like, oh, he’s a fun heel, he’s a cool heel, he’s winking at the audience, heel.’ He is going to go full heel, that’s what he wants to do, which would have been awesome.”

Vince McMahon shooting down the idea: “I think Vince was like, ‘John is basically captain of the ship here.’. The issues of who would [Cena] work with? Who would replace him as the top babyface? In [McMahon’s] mind, I think he’s like, ‘I made the right decision because John has been the standard bearer.’”

McMahon’s focus on Roman Reigns: “[McMahon] was like, ‘I need Roman to be this guy.’ But, Roman is Roman, and John is John. Two months after the Sufferin’ Succotash [promo], [they wanted] to have Roman tell stories, because I was consulting WWE at the time, and when I saw Sufferin’ Succotash on the script, I was sending out flare gun signals like, ‘No, don’t have him say that.’ But ultimately, yes, they did pull the trigger on Roman … and he’s been amazing.” (quotes courtesy of