Two days before the AmericanAirlines Arena holds a ring ceremony fit for a king, its court will be the site for another coronation, crowning a WWE champion...hopefully.
Daniel Bryan faces Randy Orton for the vacant WWE title in the main event of the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on Sunday, Oct. 27 at the AmercianAirlines Arena in Miami.
From WWE gold to NBA diamonds, the AmericanAirlines Arena is the basketball home of the NBA champion Miami Heat. Two days after Hell in a Cell, the Heat opens the season against the Chicago Bulls, and that’s when the two-time defending champion Heat will receive their championship rings during a pre-game ceremony.
WWE superstar John Cena knows a little something about championships. He is an 11-time WWE champion and two-time World champion, vying for number three in Miami.
“Knowing now the prominence that Miami Heat team has in the National Basketball Association, they’re the one you got to knock off. They’re truly the top dog,” Cena said. “The AmericanAirlines Arena by proxy is pretty much the center of basketball. So that’s really a special thing to be in the same building.
“We travel around the world and go into these arenas, and I always take great pride, ‘Wow. OK. This is the arena so-and-so played in.’ In reference to Miami and the AmericanAirlines Arena, this is the same arena where LeBron James does his thing. He’s establishing his career there and making a name for himself as one, if not the greatest of all-time. So it really is a pleasure to be there and to be able to see the same type of reaction he would see when he’s out on the floor, having a great game.”
Miami, especially the AmericanAirlines Arena, is very familiar with WWE.
“WWE has had some great moments in Miami,” Cena said.
Unfortunately for Cena, some of those great WWE moments weren’t so great for him.
The night Nexus made its WWE debut, the eight-member group destroyed Cena on a Monday Night Raw at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. The Rock beat Cena in the main event of WrestleMania 28 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. The following night on Raw again at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Brock Lesnar returned and laid out Cena.
“Yes, I haven’t had much luck in Miami,” Cena said, “but me just being there [at Hell in a Cell in Miami] is a special occasion to me. I wasn’t supposed to be there because I had triceps reattachment surgery [in August] and wasn’t supposed to be back until January.
“So although I’ve had my setbacks in Miami before, just me being able to be medically cleared to compete, and the first city I’m coming back to is Miami on Sunday [Oct. 27], that to me erases every slip up I’ve ever had in the city of Miami.”
Cena returns to challenge South Florida’s Alberto Del Rio for the World title.
“This one has just been about me getting back healthy,” Cena said. “Because I haven’t had a match in eight weeks, I really just want to be as strong and as ready to go as possible. When you’re in the element everyday and you can really be around your competition, that’s when you can come up with breaking it down a little more with your opponent.
“This will essentially be like the first game of the season for me. It just so happens to be with all the importance of the last game of a season. I’m really excited to be back, and I really think this Sunday is going to be special, and hopefully, I can shake that Miami jinx.”
Del Rio, a Mexican aristocrat and skilled wrestler who does a good job combining the American and lucha styles, is a four-time champion in WWE (two WWE title reigns and twice with the World title).
“Anyone who can be a champion at our level deserves respect,” Cena said. “I tend not to be the guy who runs everybody down because I’ve had my share of wins and my share of loses...You can’t ignore the fact he’s the World heavyweight champion.”
Toward the end of Cena’s rehab, he visited WWE’s new state-of-the-art Performance Center in Orlando.
He said: “I went there for a week and was very, very impressed with all the facilities that they have there.”
When he competes Sunday in Miami, Cena will sport a protective compression sleeve (with pad insert) on his surgically repaired arm, similar to what former NBA star Allen Iverson wore and what Miami Heat star guard Dwyane Wade wears. That will minimize any swelling and help decrease impact on the arm.
• Cena is dating WWE diva Nikki Bella of “Total Divas” fame on E! television. Because Nikki is one of the show’s stars, her personal relationship with Cena is made public on the program.
“That was difficult,” Cena said, “but I’m glad I made the decision to do that, and a lot of that had to do with Nicole’s influence, obviously. I really wanted the show to be a success. I truly love Nicole, and I believe in her. It was a conscience decision for me to do it. I think our viewers will enjoy the second half of the first season that’s coming back in mid-November on the E! network. As the show grows, it gets better and more interesting to watch, and I think fans will enjoy it this time around.”
WWE diva Brie Bella, her twin sister, has a WWE divas title match against AJ Lee (with Tamina) at Hell in a Cell, and Brie’s fiancé is Daniel Bryan. If Cena wins the World title, and Bryan wins the WWE title, and Brie captures the WWE divas title on Sunday, where does that leave Nikki?
Cena chuckled: “Hopefully going out to dinner with me at some wonderful restaurant in Miami late Sunday night.”
She’ll be OK with everyone else wearing a championship belt but her?
Cena replied: “I’ll let her share mine.”
Cena could buy Nikki some gold. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.
How long did it take John Cena to figure out the identity of each Bella twin, who was who, when they first arrived in WWE?
“Longer than I would like to admit,” he sighed.
Bryan and Brie Bella recently got engaged. Does that put any pressure on John Cena?
“No. I think each couple -- whether they are related or not or in the same workplace as you or not -- has their own relationship,” Cena said. “I’ve always gone by the assumption that if I’m happy, then things are going well, and if I’m not, then I’ve got to find out the reason I’m not happy.”
Cena is happy in his relationship with Nikki, his return with WWE and his hobby with his cars.
Cena’s favorite in his collection is a 2001 Lamborghini Diablo 6.0. Cena would like to own the new Lamborghini Aventador.
“LeBron James bought one and returned it because he couldn’t fit in it,” Cena noted. “So I thank my lucky stars I’m not 6-8 or 6-9.”
The 6-1 Cena competed in the ABC contest “Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race” in 2007 where he finished third.
Is that something Cena could do full time, racing cars, if not competing in WWE?
“I’ve seen all those guys. I have a few friends in NASCAR,” he said. “They’re all just a lot smaller, so I’d have to drop a lot of weight. It’s like being a jockey. The lighter you are, the better you are, and I don’t know if I could handle that.”
So he probably won’t be racing at Talladega, but Cena is the consummate sports entertainer, whether it’s WWE, being a rapper, guest starring on TV shows, doing commercials, acting in movies. “Ready To Rumble” -- starring wrestling fan and actor David Arquette, Scott Caan and Oliver Platt -- became Cena’s first acting gig, a small part as a gym trainer. Was that the movie to propel his movie career?
“If I say, ‘Yes,’ that so leaves me in a bad spot,” Cena laughed.
Cena starred in WWE Studios films “The Marine,” “12 Rounds,” “Legendary” and “The Reunion.” He was in “Fred: The Movie” and will be in “Scooby Doo: The Curse of the Ghost Bear.” He’s been on TV shows ‘Psych,” “Hannah Montana” and “Saturday Night Live.”
“Movies are a different animal,” Cena said. “I love the live entertainment business. I love the live sports entertainment television business. I love live television period, just because it’s so honest, especially live television with an audience, because if that audience wants to say or do something, you can’t hide it from the viewers. Movies are a little bit different. It takes a lot more patience to be in a movie, to make a movie, to be active in a movie scene. I have patience, but I don’t know if I have enough.”
• Women love Cena.
Men, not so much.
Kids adore him. He’s a superhero to them.
Just how popular is Cena with kids? Cena has granted more than 300 wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and he is the biggest wish granter in Make-A-Wish history.
• John Cena will make his return from injury, challenging Alberto Del Rio for the World title during WWE’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on Sunday, Oct. 27 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.
In a Hell in a Cell main event, Daniel Bryan battles Randy Orton for the vacated WWE title. HBK Shawn Michaels will be the guest referee.
The Hell in a Cell is a 24-foot-high roofed cell (enclosed steel cage) structure surrounding the ring and ringside area. In a Hell in a Cell match, there are no disqualifications or countouts (also no escape). It’s also a good way to prevent outside interference like what occurred at Battleground.
The only way to win Hell in a Cell is by pinfall or submission inside the ring.
CM Punk faces Ryback and Paul Heyman in Hell in a Cell.
WWE tag champs Goldust and Cody Rhodes vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey) vs. The Shield (Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns).
Intercontinental champ Curtis Axel (with Paul Heyman) vs. Big E Langston.
WWE divas champ AJ Lee (with Tamina) vs. Brie Bella.
WWE Hell in a Cell is the first pay-per-view at the AAA since WWE’s Survivor Series in November 2010.
Miami is the gateway to the Americas, and the AAA is a long-time host of WWE events including the first SmackDown of 2013, the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony during WrestleMania Week in 2012, the Raw after WrestleMania in 2012 and the Rock’s birthday on Raw in 2011.
Tickets are sale via TicketMaster outlets, online and by phone as well as at the AAA box office. Keep posted at http://www.wwe.com/events.