John Cena took to Twitter to celebrate the anniversary of his WWE debut 17 years ago.
Cena made his memorable WWE TV debut on an episode of SmackDown in 2002 by answering WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle’s open challenge and subtly kicking off the Ruthless Aggression era.
17 years ago today my @WWE journey began. It is FAR from over and has greatly changed over the years. It has given me chances to be brave and vulnerable. Today #FastAndFurious journey begins. Fear, the unknown, growth, and maybe a haircut await. Adapt. Overcome. Never Give Up.— John Cena (@JohnCena) 27 June 2019
Not so long ago, Angle was recently the subject of a Reddit AMA over on r/SquaredCircle in which he revealed during Cena's debut match he put him through his paces and testing him out. Here is what Angle had to say:
“I really liked John. I talked to him and I had heard from some promoters out west that he had everything that it took to be a top tier guy. He had the look, he could wrestle. He was a little robotic in the beginning. You know, he didn’t have the magic touch. He wasn’t one of those guys where everything looked solid. His punches were a little weak at the beginning and I’m not sure if they even got better. I watch Cena now and he has had consistently some of the best matches in the last seven or eight years. He has seriously outgrown some of the, I guess, the theory that he can’t work. He can work. He can wrestle.
“But, at the beginning, I was told that this guy had it all. When I wrestled him, did I think he was going to be as big as he was? No. But I also didn’t know that he had such an incredible business mind. Literally, three months in from when he started, he was meeting with Vince McMahon on different merchandise ideas. He came up with that belt, the spinning belt. He just had, he was prepared. I have never seen anybody who came to the company be more prepared than John Cena. He was set from a wrestling standpoint, from a character standpoint, from a business standpoint, and when he started doing the rapper thing, he just took off. And rightfully so. He was one of the most prepared individuals I had ever seen.
“About the match, I just wanted to teach John a lesson. I literally tried to get him tired in that match. If you ever watch it, it’s twelve minutes of non-stop movement. I made him hustle. I made him earn the respect that he deserves, and he knows it. But he didn’t get tired! He’s one of the few guys that kept up with me in that ring. I tested him and he passed with flying colors! (laughs)”