It’s available to pre-order now in North America, and for Europe you can pre-order it first on Silvervision.co.uk shortly.
Now it’s time for the WWEDVDNews.com WORLD FIRST review!
Whilst some of the covers for the PPV DVDs this year have been questionable, you can’t fault WWE for the design of their 3-Disc DVD sets. The John Cena Experience is no different with a cool purple & yellow theme present on the inside and out, brightly co-ordinating with Cena’s current line of merchandise.
Unlike the recent released Breaking The Code DVD, there is no outer slip case on the North American edition of Experience however. This and no insert card inside are two small negatives of the physical product. The rest, all great and it certainly fits John Cena’s character well.
The color scheme carries over into the menus when playing the DVD, with a new John Cena/Bumpy Knuckles track playing in the background that I hadn’t heard before. From here on out you’ll have to re-adjust to seeing Cena in orange again since the content featured is before the newest T-Shirt was unveiled.
To give some background, I went into this as somebody with an ever growing respect for John Cena’s contributions to the WWE as the face of the company, whilst at the same time not necessarily the biggest fan of his. On the fence, you might say.
The title of this DVD is directly related to this 2 hour documentary portion, which is billed as giving a new behind-the-scenes “experience” of John Cena’s life in and around the WWE.
It starts off with Cena talking about his admiration for the troops and believing the mentality of the United States armed forces is the same as his own in life. Cena gives his thoughts on the majority of the chapter subjects in a similar fashion to this.
What we get to see at this point is a look at Cena leaving the Monday Night Raw show that week, where the stars begin their journey for the Tribute to the Troops broadcast. This type of thing is what I was hoping for the DVD; an inside look into the travelling involved to get to all of their shows and this one in particular is obviously that bit more special. We get some insight into the travel schedule involved and then see Cena and other stars interacting with the Troops which displays the impact it has on them, aswell as the lasting impression it has on those at WWE.
Now we move on to John Cena’s TV appearances, outside the WWE. If you’re a big Cena fan and you keep tabs on all of his external television involvement then this gives some nice background on what goes into delivering that and how he conducts himself around various media entities. First up, the crew at Psych sing his praises on how well he fitted in on the show and the documentary here gives a look at how they put certain scenes together that involved Cena.
His arrival and background for ESPN segments he was involved with are profiled too and moving on from this a large part of the feature is devoted to John’s experience at the Fiesta Bowl, where amongst other duties he was Grand Marshal of the parade. Moving on from TV to the big screen, Cena gives his thoughts on his starring roles in movies. Once or twice in the DVD Cena is asked by an interviewer if he will eventually take the same route as “Dwayne” (The Rock) and move on from WWE to focus on movies to which Cena says no, because he loves his job. His experiences on the set of Legendary are shown now, where Cena’s acting ability is showcased by a behind the scenes point of view of a few scenes.
These media appearances may not seem so many in quantity by going through them quickly in this review, but they cover a very large chunk of this documentary and are followed by even more media related content such as working with Mattel, appearing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, being a spokesman and recording a new song “Hustle Loyalty Respect” with Freddie Foxxx, also known as Bumpy Knuckles. All this does however show the dedication he has to his job and displays that he’ll go above and beyond in everything branching off WWE.
If you’re a die-hard Cena fan you may love seeing each project he was a part of discussed and shown, but quite frankly if you were hoping for the majority of the “experience” to be related with WWE you’ll be left wondering where that is or when it’s going to start. We’re talking 16-17 chapters (4 on the Fiesta Bowl) in between the footage of Tribute to the Troops to anything else directly related with behind-the-scenes at WWE shows. For me, this got quite tedious and even if you are a huge John Cena fan, isn’t it the wrestling you want to hear about most?
Moving on, the subject is now WrestleMania so on viewing I was hoping this is where the documentary would pick up, since we’d now hopefully be getting a whole new perspective of WrestleMania 26, from an inside point of view. It starts with Cena giving his thoughts on the biggest event of the year and his arrival a few days prior to the building.
An interesting part here is you see Cena signing a massive 3000 of the photos you see on merchandise stands at WWE events and he assures viewers they are always legit, personally signed by him. As cool as this was to see though, I felt it went on a bit too long given what little time there was available to focus on the WWE side of things. After this we’re unfortunately outside of that loop again looking at Cena’s involvement in the WM Golf Tournament. A little later on though we get to see John Cena and the US Air Force Honor Guard rehearsing the WrestleMania entrance and this was excellent to witness a slice of what goes on in the planning of a Mania event. If it carried on like this then it would definitely be back on track.
We eventually get to see John Cena backstage watching the opening video for WrestleMania 26 on a television set. This is great at showing his emotion when the spectacular event is about to start and WWE do a good job here of blending what he’s seeing on the TV into the full screen version we saw at the start of the PPV. There are also a few little interesting parts here showing other wrestlers and staff backstage. They show his Mania entrance which is fitting since we earlier saw it being rehearsed and then highlights of the end of the match he had with Batista, followed by a short segment getting Cena’s comments after the match. The focus on WrestleMania was good, but it left me wanting more. Unfortunately there was no insight into how Cena or Batista felt about the feud, nothing much in depth, so it came off a little flat.
We’re back to John’s life outside of wrestling after this, so what little concentration there was on WWE has near enough come to an end at this stage. Cena talks about his passion for cars and we see footage of him attending the Barrett Jackson collector car auction after WrestleMania. I can appreciate this is one of his biggest interests and this is what he did following WM, but I can’t help but feeling fans want to see more on actual WWE experiences. Nearing the end of the documentary we hear Cena’s view on his responsibility as a public figure and somebody looked up to, plus a look at more of his charitable involvement. The feature concludes summing up what John Cena means to the WWE in terms of being the top guy and his cross-over appeal.
Whilst I appreciate “Experience” was a look at the life of Cena, I personally feel there was simply too much attention to John Cena’s work outside of the WWE. Rather than get a whole new perspective on stories within the WWE, it comes across as a John Cena “pop culture icon” presentation.
Nothing like input into the creative process behind matches, thoughts on storylines, interaction with other stars or meetings with Vince McMahon were present here and that would really have helped the viewer come along for a true experience of his life in the WWE. It’s like the balance was all wrong and due to this various parts of the documentary become quite uninteresting. It also takes a long time to get into Also, if you’re overseas the likes of ESPN, Jimmy Fallon, Fiesta Bowl and Psych may not be all that familiar to you which lessens the appeal even more.
I don’t recall a documentary on a WWE superstar quite like this one, so you could argue it’s revolutionary at least. Whilst there is too much media and stakeholder related content some of this is a good watch like Mattel’s interaction with Cena scanning his face to create the most realistic figure and behind the scenes before making various TV appearances. Also keep in my mind I watched the DVD version and the all-new footage of Disc 1 will be somewhat brought to life in the Blu Ray edition.
Of course the lack of wrestling focus in the documentary may be somewhat helped by the inclusion of 15 WWE matches on the 2 other discs (DVD version). This is true, but the match selection brings back that old collector vs casual fan debate, in that it is dominated by PPV matches can be found on other WWE DVD releases. Regardless, they show a decent showcase of Cena’s career from 2004-2009. I guess this is your own personal taste.
The DVD Verdict