DISCLAIMER: This story was originally published with incorrect information regarding a photo of John Cena and a man believed to be Richard Rodriguez. The man was later identified as not Rodriguez but rather an unknown bodybuilder. The article has since been updated to reflect the correct information about the photo.
Jon Bravo, who claims to have evidence connecting 15 WWE superstars to jailed steroid dealer Richard Rodriguez and the Wellness Fitness and Nutrition Network, recently released an eight-slide Instagram story which in addition to other things, seemed to suggest that John Cena could be implicated in Rodriguez’ illegal steroid distribution ring.
Throughout the eight-slide story, Bravo explained the reason behind the delay in reporting the proof he claims to have connecting Roman Reigns to Rodriguez, as well as commenting that he is aware the information in his possession is not something people want him to have. Bravo also included a photo of Rick Bassman, former WWE consultant and talent agent/manager, as well as a short video clip that seems to be a sequence directly from the film, possibly titled, The Evidence of WFN & The Story Behind the Distribution. You can see all eight slides, which will have disappeared from Bravo’s page due to the 24-hour nature of Instagram’s stories, below.
The story ended with a simple note: “My last message for today is a reminder, I am only reporting information that comes from Richard and the evidence I have been given. It is not my thoughts or views nor my opinion.”
This final slide came several hours after the original story was created and after wrestling news sites had written about Jon Bravo’s new information. Interestingly enough however, the main reason why Bravo’s story became headline news and not just fans talking about this being another stall tactic, was because of a particular photo, featuring John Cena with an unknown bodybuilder and a question mark in the middle, that was later removed. In its place, was the final reminder slide, which was essentially a “Don’t shoot the messenger” type of reply.
John Cena and Steroids: Could There be Truth to the Rumors?
This is the first time that John Cena’s name has been linked to Richard Rodriguez and his illegal steroid distribution ring, which Jon Bravo alleges includes 15 former/current WWE talent as clients. It is not however, the first time that Cena, a former bodybuilder, has been accused of using performance enhancing drugs during his WWE career.
In 2007, John Cena did an interview with CNN where he was asked if he had ever used steroids to which Cena responded, “absolutely not.” Only, when the interview aired, that statement was omitted and instead, a remark Cena made that would have only made sense in context, was used as a soundbyte and made it seem like not only had Cena used steroids but that he was smug about it.
Fortunately, WWE also had cameras at the interview and were able to expose the hatchet job for what it was. Cena also did a separate interview with WWE after the fact in which he acknowledged why performers such as himself are constantly faced with steroid allegations.
You can’t do an interview these days being in any sport, and expect performance enhancement drugs not to come up. That’s why I was so confident in my answer because I tried to answer it the best way I could. I tried to paint the picture for the viewer that people have opinions. And regardless of how many drug tests I pass, or whatever you set for a by law, regardless of how many times I prove to the common person that I am drug free, they will have an opinion of me strictly because of what they see.
That was over 10 years ago and in that span, Cena, like many WWE superstars and professional athletes, has found himself under the microscope on more than one occasion. But unlike guys like Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, etc, Cena never once failed a drug test and has a completely clean track record when it comes to the WWE Wellness Policy.
It would seem then, that Jon Bravo throwing Cena’s name into the mix could be just to get more attention to his project. To this point, Bravo has made some pretty strong claims but has yet to provide evidence supporting them. In his Instagram story, Bravo explains why the video he promised to release showing the proof of Reigns’ dealings with Rodriguez, which was supposed to come out earlier this week, was delayed indefinitely.
The Missing Link?: Rick Bassman and WWE
Other than the deleted photo, John Cena was also mentioned in the sneak preview clip that Jon Bravo shared. Featuring narration, the clip talked about Rick Bassman and how he was responsible for training and discovering some of the top names in WWE, including the Ultimate Warrior and Cena. In a prior Instagram post, Bravo mentioned that a WWE legend placed over $140,000 in orders with Rodriguez, and it’s possible Ultimate Warrior is who he was referencing. In that same post, Bravo identified an unknown person who linked the WWE stars to Rodriguez and who may have aided in the steroid distribution. Given Bassman’s prior relationship with WWE and his role in discovering Cena and helping him get his WWE tryout in 2001, it is possible he is the one Bravo was referencing there as well.
As for Cena, his relationship with Bassman is pretty well documented. Cena trained at Bassman’s Ultimate Pro Wrestling, which was one of the top schools in California at the time and one that had a working relationship with WWE. UPW even served as WWE’s developmental territory from 2006-07. Included among its list of notable alumni who got their start there are Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and current WWE superstars, The Miz, Samoa Joe and Cena himself. According to the book, Pro Wrestling FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the World’s Most Entertaining Spectacle, it was Bassman who created the Prototype gimmick which Cena used in his early career.
Something or Nothing?
Ever since Jon Bravo first name-dropped Roman Reigns, nothing he has done has been unintentional and it would seem this is more of the same. Teasing the photo of John Cena before deleting it after several wrestling news sites had already picked up the story, is no doubt suspect. In the wrestling industry, whether you love him or hate him, Cena’s name is well known in all circles and carries an immense amount of weight. Of course a photo of Cena with a question mark would create a stir, which is likely exactly what Bravo wanted as it builds further anticipation for the yet-to-be-released documentary.
Unlike the last time, Bravo’s Instagram story did not provide any sort of timeline update for when this information will be released. All it really did was link another name to an ongoing saga, one that if true would rival only the MLB Mitchell Report in terms of its high profile nature and the size/scope of the client list.
Jon Bravo has made himself a self-appointed crusader who believes it is his duty to expose Rodriguez’ clients and the entire WFN operation to the public, which likely means if there is a story to be told and damning evidence linking WWE superstars to an illegal steroid ring, Bravo will have no problem telling it.
WWE is taking all of this very seriously and has reportedly even come up with a Wrestlemania back-up plan in case Reigns is in fact implicated. As for John Cena, WWE could be facing a much bigger problem than a WrestleMania main event. Cena is the face of the company and if he has any connection at all to Rodriguez or WFN, it would be devastating for WWE and the image Cena himself projects as a role model and inspirational figure.
Because that whole, “Hustle, loyalty, respect – earn it” mantra and Cena’s constant promo material of being the hardest worker in the locker room, kind of falls flat if he didn’t achieve his physique and subsequent success from hard work alone.
But, for now, all there is tying Cena and Reigns, two of WWE’s biggest stars, to Rodriguez and WFN is speculation and claims not backed up by proof. And until any real evidence surfaces, WWE will be forced to keep playing the stressful waiting game.
Talk about a road to WrestleMania…