According to Matt Hardy, John Cena was too big of a company asset for a heel turn.
John Cena was the face of WWE for over a decade. He was consistently in main-event spots and booked as strongly as possible from 2005 until he started appearing less starting in 2018.
During that time, Cena won numerous championships, awards, and other accolades. But when it came to his feuds, promos, and matches, many fans began turning on him as early as 2006. He was seen as bland, stale, and lacking in compelling storylines.
Many fans believed that John Cena would become a more interesting on-screen character if he turned heel. However, this never happened and the only time Cena was ever truly considered a heel was during his brief rookie years in 2002 and 2003.
Several people have given reasons as to why Cena remained such a stalwart babyface for over a decade. One of those was Matt Hardy, who gave a pretty obvious explanation on his Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast.
According to Hardy, John Cena the person was such a real-life babyface – especially due to his connection with the Make-A-Wish Foundation – that he couldn’t portray anything else on television.
“There’s some times in WWE where those decisions are made because the real person is just such a tremendous asset to the company in so many ways. That’s probably why they would never pull the trigger on it.
I mean, would it have helped him in the long run? I think so. I think it would have, but I just feel like all the Make-A-Wishes, all the appearances, all the charity stuff he did, they just they wanted to keep him in that role. So that’s why they kept him in that same position, kind of like on cruise control.”
According to NPR, John Cena set a new record for Make-A-Wish wishes with 650 as of September 2022.
h/t Fightful for the transcription