, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 13, 2007

WWE wrestles CNN over Cena interview response

Former World Wrestling Entertainment Champion John Cena, of West Newbury, is used to rough treatment in the squared circle, but he and WWE say they've been sucker-punched by CNN.

The cable news network interviewed Cena and several other wrestlers and WWE employees for a piece called "Death Grip: Inside Pro Wrestling." The hourlong report aired Wednesday.

During Cena's interview, a reporter asked him if he had ever used steroids. The part of Cena's answer that aired seemed to be evasive.

"This is a crazy question. And it's something that - it's tough to answer just because of the way society is now. The way people conceive things because performance-enhancing drugs have got the spotlight, and it's a hot thing to talk about," Cena said, according to a transcript on CNN's Web site. "I can't tell you I haven't, but you'll never be able to prove that I have."

But Cena's full answer to the steroid question began with "Absolutely not," according to footage of the interview released by the WWE on its Web site. The WWE has both the edited and unedited clips on its Web site, while the footage appears to be gone from CNN's Web site.

The WWE released a statement slamming CNN's credibility.

"In a country in which the news media is highly suspect, and the quality of unbiased reporting has been thrown into the trash can, CNN has stooped to new depths," the release stated. "CNN's depiction of John Cena as it relates to steroids is not only professionally and morally wrong, but damaging to his character."

Steroids and steroid abuse have been a contentious issue for years in the wrestling community. Police found steroids in the home of WWE wrestler Chris Benoit, who committed suicide earlier this year after murdering his wife and son.

Cena's father, also known locally as wrestling personality "Johnny Fabulous," said he had not watched the program and had "no idea what this is all about."

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