John Cena OK with being the butt of jokes in Blockers
Blockers star John Cena says movie is a crude comedy with heart
While Dwayne Johnson is currently the biggest movie star in the world, his rival-turned-pal John Cena is certainly making headway in the wrestling-to-movies road to stardom, just with a different career path.
The latter is known for his comedies, the ones that play up his big lug, slightly dim persona, and Cena is in on the joke and participates with gusto.
It has paid off in spades, with appearances in Trainwreck, Sisters and Daddy's Home.
The 41-year-old US actor and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar's latest is Blockers, the raunchy gross-out movie that has the picture of a cock (the male bird) before the title on all the advertising.
Draw your own conclusions.
Opening here tomorrow, the story is of three parents (Cena, Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz) who try to prevent their daughters from losing their virginity on prom night.
All kinds of antics ensue as the idiot trio get themselves into ever more idiotic situations to achieve this idiotic end.
Cena, naturally, has a different take.
He said of the premise at our interview at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel: "It is more than just jokes and beer up your butt, it has a beating heart you can see from the eyes of the young women (and) the parents.
"This is a movie about parents being educated about the life of a young adult, and then realising ... (it is) time for me to back off a little."
Of course, he is asked to explain the outrageous, infamous butt-chugging scene that is in every trailer for Blockers.
To gain access to a party where he believes his daughter is trying to have sex, Cena's over-protective, emotional character Mitchell offers up his rear end to a beer-filled funnel.
He said: "Above all else, it is a comedy, and I think when people go 'seriously?', they don't understand the joke. And not understanding the joke is fine, not all of us get the punchlines... (But) having read the script, and never once going, 'I don't get that', means that I thought all the jokes were funny."
His US pro wrestler fiancee Stephanie Nicole Garcia-Colace, 34, better known by her WWE ring name Nikki Bella, is the one person whose opinion he takes seriously when he considers how far he should go to be funny.
At least, that was how he felt during our interview on April 4.
On April 15, the couple - who were due to marry on May 5 - suddenly announced their split after six years together.
Cena said back then: "I am part of a wonderful relationship. If it was just me, I don't think I would have a limit. But I have to consider the people whom I love, and if a decision makes them upset or uncomfortable.
"But Nicole is a wonderful woman and she has few instances where she feels uncomfortable, because she is completely strong in who she is. She allows me to do stuff like throw beer up my butt or walk around naked at the end of the movie, trying to figure myself out."
Cena affectionately referenced Bella again, when he mentioned that he never made it to his own high school prom during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show last month, and host DeGeneres threw him a makeshift prom on the show.
He said: "She sent my lovely girl to be a guest, so that was a wonderful surprise, in the middle of this whirlwind (Blockers press tour) where I barely get to see her. So we took some awkward prom pictures, and I had spiked punch and wore a prom king hat.
"I went to a co-ed boarding school and the people you would ask to prom were the people you saw every day. And I was broke. So I had the option to stay on campus and earn money, or awkwardly get rejected by a bunch of females."
His wrestling days are not over yet, but he is aware he is getting up there in years.
"I was a 16-time champion and I would like to say that I have given out a lot more stress than I take," he said, laughing.
"At 41, I am stronger than I was at 26. I stay on top of making sure that I am hydrated and that I have all the rest I can handle. I eat as clean as I can, and I make sure to exercise. So that is a formula for a long life, no matter what the profession.
"I am not as durable as I was at 26, but I am a lot smarter."
The training is not different at his age, but the recovery is.
"When I started, I trained every day, seven days a week without a day off. Now, it is four days a week and the days off are off. And there is a 90-minute warm-up just to begin to work out.
"I have to get my body more ready to move than maybe when I was 26, when I could enjoy maybe a city's nightlife and then wake up at six in the morning, or go to bed at six in the morning or not go to bed at all, and then just enjoy a great workout, perform at night and repeat the cycle again. And I can't even come close to that now."
Well aware that wrestling for the WWE is not really a competitive sport, he admitted he will retire when the audience stops wanting to see him.
"The WWE is at a point where they don't need me, I need them. So I would like to stay around as long as I can, but that is up to the ticket buyer."
But with his burgeoning Hollywood career, which includes a lead role in the upcoming Transformers spin-off Bumblebee: The Movie, why does he stay?
"It is all stuff I still have fun with. The element of performing in front of a live audience, I love it. It keeps you sharp and grounded, because you are right there with those people, and I think that is really important," he said.