WWE veteran-turned-Hollywood star John Cena returned as the Dr. of Thuganomics at WrestleMania XXXV. Cena's in-ring career began back in 2002 on an episode of SmackDown against WWE legend Kurt Angle, who is competing in his farewell match. Fans of the 16-time world champion will recall that Cena adopted the Dr. of Thuganomics gimmick early in his career; his one and only run as a heel character. Cena appeared at WrestleMania and revisited the Dr. of Thuganomics gimmick.
The gimmick was popular during the TV-14 era of WWE, but it probably wouldn't have any long term interest today. Cena would go around spitting rhymes at other WWE superstars and would cut hilarious promos on his opponents. For the gimmick, Cena dressed in jean shorts, a backward hat, sneakers, a jersey, and would sport a chain to the ring. Since then, he has gone on to become a well-respected babyface, but many still do not support the character he currently portrays on WWE television. More recently, Cena has become a big hit in Hollywood and has appeared in several major films such as Bumblebee, the well-received Transformers spinoff, before making a short appearance at WrestleMania.
Cena came out to the ring tonight to interrupt Elias' concert, a running gag that currently exists on WWE television. However, Cena didn't come out as his current on-screen character, but instead took audiences back to 2002 and appeared as the Dr. of Thuganomics. Much to the disapproval of Elias, Cena proceeded to mock and insult Elias with rhymes before delivering an Attitude Adjustment to end the segment. This is more than likely a one-time reprisal, as WWE likes to feature all of their big stars at major events, and Cena's appearance was a way to get him on the show.
While the return of the Dr. of Thuganomics is always welcome, Cena's next appearance will more than likely revert him back to his babyface character. When that will occur is unknown, as he is currently focused on his career in Hollywood. However, he has made it clear that he doesn't plan to fully leave WWE just yet. Many WWE performers have transitioned over to Hollywood, such as Batista and the Rock. With Cena thriving in Hollywood, it is only a matter of time before his in-ring career comes to an end.
An appearance by the Dr. of Thuganomics will always be nostalgic for fans who grew up watching Cena during the earlier portion of his career. Not only did the gimmick help Cena's career, but it has offered several memorable moments for fans to go back and enjoy. While WWE likes to portray Cena as a leader of good deeds these days, it's always exciting to see him revert back to his old gimmick.