Lions, Tigers and Bears; John Cena, Red Sox and Yankees

 

jvarsallone@miamiherald.com

It was the day after the Boston Red Sox won the opener against the St. Louis Cardinals in the best-of-seven 2013 World Series, and West Newbury’s favorite son, John Cena, answered a few questions about it.

“That means the Red Sox are up one game in a seven-game series that decides the baseball champion of the world,” the politically baseball correct Cena said.

West Newbury, like the Red Sox, is in Massachusetts.

Cena parlayed his superstar status via World Wrestling Entertainment into making rap songs and movie making. No matter what else he does, Cena’s main objective remains to be a sports entertainer in WWE, something he does very well.

Just about as good as his nearby hometown team plays baseball. West Newbury is north of Boston.

“I’m a Red Sox fan, but certainly not as much as I was in my youth,” Cena said. “I’ve kind of grown to appreciate all sports and all teams, but Boston is one of the best baseball towns in the country. Fenway Park is an unreal stadium.

“I know it’s two great baseball environments [Boston and St. Louis] involved in the World Series, and Boston fans will truly rejoice, if Boston can get another crown.”

Boston fans rejoiced as the Red Sox won the World Series.

How did the players react? Each shined in his own way. As for star slugger David Ortiz, he glistened, wearing something better than a crown at the town’s victory party. Ortiz paraded around the celebratory parade in Boston with a WWE championship belt, provided by WWE and Cena.

After the Red Sox won the World Series, Cena took to Twitter.

“.@davidortiz, be on the look-out for @WWE bling just in time for the WS parade. Hope to see you at #SurvivorSeries @tdgarden on Sun, Nov 24.”

Big Papi, who has the charisma to be a WWE superstar, isn’t the only WWE fan from the sports and entertainment fields. Athletes seem to love the trash talk and WWE championship belts. They attend WWE shows and even, occasionally, get involved -- whether it’s guest hosting a show or stepping into the ring.

“I know how especially busy their schedules are, and for them to take time out of their schedules to come be entertained by all of us, it’s really flattering,” Cena said. “It speaks volumes to the amount of entertainment that you’ll see on WWE programs, on WWE pay-per-views to attract attention the way we do.

“I even got a retweet from SportsCenter. I often let them know about accomplishments like [an upcoming WWE pay-per-view].

“Just to know that what you do for the sake of entertainment for others resonates even to those who have really focused, busy schedules, and they can still take some time to be entertained by you. It’s a good feeling.”

Athletes and entertainers are jacked to meet WWE superstars and divas.

“When athletes and celebrities come to our events, they see how rowdy the audience gets,” Cena said. “Our audience, their goal is to have fun, and we let them have fun. I think more than any other sport we encourage their participation in the event.

“So a lot of times when athletes and celebrities come to a WWE event, they are pumped up, especially an athlete who knows what it’s like to go out on the field in front of tens of thousands of people. Generally, people when they see us, especially at a WWE event -- whether it be me or whoever they may meet -- they’re really excited.”

Even though Cena enjoys his hometown Red Sox, he shared a Bizarro World answer, when asked what athlete awed him.

“Don Mattingly”

Don Mattingly, formerly of the Red Sox main rivals, the New York Yankees?

“In a weird twist of fate, I grew up a Red Sox fan, but Donny Baseball is my favorite player,” Cena admitted, “probably because he transcended team when he was with the Yankees playing first base. To me, he was the guy.”

How life twists and turns for fans and players.

After his playing days, Mattingly coached, landing with a New York Yankees rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I got to meet him at a Dodgers game,” Cena said. “I threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and at the very last minute, they changed it to have him catch the pitch. My hands were shaking. I broke out in a full sweat, and I couldn’t even come close to getting the ball toward the plate. I was so nervous. I told them you can’t do this to me because if you do, I will mess it up.”

But organizers did, and it’s a moment he will never forget.

“I got to play catch with my childhood hero,” Cena said, “and I told him he was an inspiration to me, growing up.”

That seems fitting since Cena’s given so much of his time to fans and especially kids of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Cena is the most requested wish granter, and he has granted hundreds of wishes, inspiring them.

NASCAR is big into pro wrestling, and successful driver Carl Edwards is friends with Cena. They met when Cena was a contestant on “Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race” in 2007. Cena is a car enthusiast, owning a fine collection.

Former Chicago Bears defensive lineman Steve Mongo McMichael became a pro wrestler in WCW. NFL players transitioning to pro wrestling is not abnormal -- each wanting to earn wrestling gold in the ring.

Whether it’s NASCAR, Major League Baseball, the NHL, NBA or the NFL, professional athletes are WWE fans. The proof is in the winning.

Remember when the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl in 2011, and linebacker Clay Matthews gave quarterback Aaron Rodgers a WWE title belt during the ceremony on the podium just after the big game. That photo and video was everywhere.

The Oakland A’s didn’t win the World Series in 2013, but they had another impressive season, and outfielder Josh Reddick sported a WWE belt. Yoenis Cespedes, also an outfielder with the A’s, was presented a WWE championship belt by Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones after Cespedes won the MLB Home Run Derby during the MLB All-Star Game events.

In 2009, the Yankees awarded a WWE championship belt to the hero of the game.

The Dallas Mavericks showcased a championship belt at the victory celebration when they won the NBA finals in 2011, and former Detroit Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace carried a rebellious championship belt with him, ala ECW’s Taz.

Recently, when Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer won Cy Young awards for being the best pitchers in the National League and American League, respectively, the MLB Twitter page tweeted a photo of a mock Cy Young championship belt for each Cy Young winner.

That’s when Vince McMahon took notice.

The Chairman and CEO of WWE and most powerful man in sports entertainment tweeted:

“.@WWE will send the real thing to @MLB Cy Young Awards winners @Max_Scherzer and @ClaytonKersh22 .”

• Tickets are now on sale for the WWE Live Road to WrestleMania show on Friday, Jan. 31 at the AmericanAirlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami.

See Randy Orton, Alberto Del Rio, John Cena, Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, The Real Americans, Sin Cara and Corporate Kane.

Bell time is 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices $23-98. VIP Experience available which includes a meet-n-greet. Service fees may apply.

For ticket information, go to

http://www.ticketmaster.com/wwe-live-miami-florida-01-31-2014/event/0D004B4BAC44636B?artistid=1848807&majorcatid=10004&minorcatid=27&camefrom=CFC_AAARENA_O

• WWE’s Road to WrestleMania then heads north to Orlando and the Amway Center, 400 W Church St., on Saturday, Feb. 1.

See Randy Orton, Big Show, John Cena, Alberto Del Rio, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, The Real Americans, Sin Cara, Fandango and Corporate Kane.

Bell time is 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices $15-95. VIP Experience available which includes a meet-n-greet. Service fees may apply.

For ticket information, go to

http://www.ticketmaster.com/wwe-live-road-to-wrestlemania-orlando-florida-02-01-2014/event/22004B55C81F7237?artistid=895363&majorcatid=10004&minorcatid=27&tm_link=artist_msg-0_22004B55C81F7237

• WWE’s Road to WrestleMania travels across I-4 to Lakeland on Sunday, Feb. 2 at the Jenkins Arena at The Lakeland Center.

See Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Alberto Del Rio, The Real Americans, Sin Cara, Fandango, Santino Marella and Corporate Kane.

Bell time is 1 p.m. Ticket prices $15-95. VIP Experience available which includes a meet-n-greet. Service fees may apply.

For ticket information, go to

http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?pid=7631376

http://wwevip.artistarena.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=1

• Download the free official WWE app at

http://www.wwe.com/mobile/download-the-wwe-app-26044638

Read more Wrestling stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category