Turns out, John Cena wasn’t working us when he said he’d miss WrestleMania 37.a close up of John Cena on a stage© WWE.comRumors that his return was a lock as part of a show that feature tons of stars from yesteryear. Those rumors were very wrong, with no Cena, and his former nemesis Edge as pretty much the only non-full-time wrestler on the card.

In an interview with Bleacher Report promoting the rebooted Wipeout he hosts on TBS, the 16 time WWE World champion spoke about his transition away from wrestling and WrestleManias, and the state of WWE without him.

“We all have a window. And I love listening to ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin talk about his window. My goal when I stepped foot in WWE was to leave it better than I found it, and it’s really great to be able to see an event.

“I almost had the best transition you can possibly have. My last two WrestleManias were very interesting: an almost cinematic-type match and before that I was a fan. I got to sit in the crowd and see WrestleMania. I got to see the product. I got to see a stadium full of fans and it was beautiful. I felt at home.

“I want to be where I am and doing what I am, that’s why I made that choice. I think it’s really special, and we all think they’re never going to go on without us. That’s not true. It’s more reassuring to me to not only see that WWE has a life after me, which is inevitable for sure, but that the life is thriving.

“There’s so many great storylines, so many great matches. It’s called WrestleMania, not CenaMania, you know? I’ve been a part [of it], and that part is over.”

A big part of why WWE’s thriving is because of Roman Reigns – a guy whose readiness was the basis of his last feud with Cena.

“Roman is walking in his own steps, he follows in no one’s footsteps. This happens every time a marquee attraction has moved on. I went through it, everybody said it with Steve [Austin] and The Rock and I understand that. But Roman is crafting his own path, and I think it’s very important to say that he’s doing a great job. I feel this is the best he’s ever been and that comes with comfort. I don’t know what got him over that hill, but he’s over it and that’s a very important one to jump over.

“I’m very, very impressed with Roman among other people on the WWE roster with how great they’ve become.”

With the ratings success of Wipeout, roles in two huge franchise movies coming out this summer, Fast 9 and The Suicide Squad (and an HBO Max spinoff series for his Peacemaker character from the latter), and his career as an author, there’s no telling when Cena will return to WWE for the first time since WrestleMania 36.

He doesn’t think that’s a problem. Let us know if you agree in the comments below. And check out his entire chat with Bleacher Report – where he talks the love he has for Vince McMahon, and why the ThunderDome era’s been good for Reigns and others