One year later: Cena reflects on announcing bin Laden’s demise
On May 1, 2011, John Cena regained the WWE Championship a Triple Threat Steel Cage Match at Extreme Rules – a victory that marked the beginning of his 10th title reign, also making him part of WWE history as one of a handful of Superstars who have had double-digit World Title reigns. But that same night, Cena turned a celebration into an announcement that became part of American history.
During the contest one year ago, news agencies were stirring and word was getting out about one of the most significant moments in recent U.S. history, and certainly the most important in America’s War on Terror.
An elite team of U.S. Navy SEALs entered a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and put an end to Osama bin Laden’s reign of terror. Moments after winning the WWE Title, John Cena was informed of the news and immediately felt compelled to tell the WWE Universe in attendance what he had just learned.
“I actually found out when a cameraman whispered it to me,” Cena recalled. “I wanted to tell people and I remember running around to other cameramen and the guys at ringside trying to confirm it. The last thing I wanted to do was announce something that didn’t happen.”
As Cena raced to make sure what he had been told was true, the American people were already anxiously awaiting a rare Sunday evening address from President Obama. At the same time, the news spread on social media outlets, and various news agencies began to confirm the demise of the most wanted man in the world.
“The only thing I felt in that moment was the need to tell everyone in the arena, because as an American it was the right thing to do,” Cena explained. “I realize a lot of people heard it for the first time from me, but I’d like to think that if anyone had been in my shoes, they would have done the same exact thing.”
Just as chants of “U.S.A.” erupted at baseball stadiums as the story broke, Cena’s proclamation of the news coming out of Abbottabad yielded a historic demonstration of patriotism in WWE.
“The announcement pretty much overshadowed the pay-per-view and everything else going on at the time,” Cena explained. “That’s how big and important it was, and why we are talking about it a year later.”
When Cena received confirmation from WWE officials about bin Laden’s demise, he immediately grabbed a microphone and stood on top of the announce table. Upon hearing the news, the WWE Universe inside the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa began to cheer and joined the rest of the nation in chants of “U.S.A.”
Twelve months later, The Cenation Leader joins the entire nation in reflecting on the impact of the mission in Pakistan and the events that led to the raid. Like all Americans, Cena is grateful to the brave SEALs who defended America and her freedoms – the very freedoms that allow WWE Superstars like John Cena to perform for the country and the world.
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