He was asked what he said to the 24-year old Cena who was about to make his in-ring debut, as reported by Wrestlingnews.
Cena made his WWE debut on June 27, 2002. He walked out to confront Kurt Angle who made an open challenge to the SmackDown roster.
Cena accepted the challenge and nearly shocked the former WWE Champion with a roll up. However, Angle managed to pin Cena’s shoulders to the mat with a pinning combination.
Even though Cena lost the match, his WWE future was bright as ever. Angle said, “I didn’t carry him in his debut match. He carried himself. He’s the greatest superstar of all time.”
Cena won his first WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21, beating JBL with an Attitude Adjustment. On the same show, Kurt Angle beat Shawn Michaels in a WrestleMania classic.
Kurt praised the leader of the Cenation by saying, “John was so great to work with. Kind, professional and talented as hell.” Angle was obviously very high on Cena and wanted him to succeed in the WWE.
John Cena would have made the perfect final opponent for Kurt Angle. Vince McMahon had thought about the suggestion but decided to go another way. Instead of an Angle-Cena faceoff, we saw Baron Corbin vs Kurt Angle.
On the same night, Cena interrupted an Elias concert and brought back his ‘Dr. Thuganomics’ gimmick. In an interview with Chris Van Vliet at WrestleMania weekend 2019, John mentioned why he did not end up facing Kurt Angle. He said, “That’s beyond my control. I always do what’s asked of me and when I’m told what to do, I try to make it super special.”
Kurt Angle and John Cena’s early rivalry was entertaining and helped both men’s careers take off. Angle was already a veteran, but he put over John Cena in the ring multiple times.
Cena may not have beaten Angle often, but he surely gives him credit for helping launch his career. John went on to equal Ric Flair’s record 16 World Championships. Angle was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017. The man who inducted him: John Cena.