AceShowbiz - John Cena is gratified that World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is finally being accepted by both Hollywood and the sports world.
The pro wrestler turned actor paid tribute to the growing acceptance of his former sport at the Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year Awards, where he received the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.
"I'm just glad that no longer are we looked down upon, not only by the sport industry, but by the performing arts industry," the "Blockers" star told Variety.
John was recognised by the publication for his charitable work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, with whom he has helped grant over 500 wishes, as well as his involvement in anti-bullying, equality, and cancer awareness campaigns.
"I think nowadays, athletes are understanding that and literally it's all just sports entertainment," he added. "Which I am very grateful for because years ago I wouldn’t have been any way legitimised by sport."
John has followed in the footsteps of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, transitioning from his role as the top WWE superstar to a Hollywood leading man, starring in films including "The Marine", "Daddy's Home" and the upcoming "Bumblebee".
In a recent interview with ESPN, the 41-year-old explained how his burgeoning film career, and his fear of sustaining an injury, prevents him from getting into the wrestling ring too often.
"The biggest difficulty is trying to juggle stuff because I have learned... once you're in production for a movie, they don't allow you to wrestle," he explained. "Because I can't go to a WWE taping and have my nose put over here."
"Not only doesn't it look good, it's, 'Man, you don't look right.' So they shut the whole movie down, (there are) 150 people that are expecting a paycheck for that movie and I just screwed them out of their wage."