John Cena arrives at Complex’s midtown Manhattan offices minutes after signing off from The Today Show, where he is co-hosting this week. It’s WrestleMania season, and Cena, World Wrestling Entertainment’s most popular superstar, is in full promotional mode even though he is not scheduled to wrestle this Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. A shoulder injury has kept him out of the ring—although he claims to be healthy enough to perform.   

Cena has spent his time on the shelf working on American Grit, an unscripted reality competition show debuting April 14 on Fox. It’s the latest brand expansion for Cena, who stole scenes last year in Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck and opposite Tina Fey and Amy Poehler in Sisters. But it all wouldn’t have been possible without his work in WWE. 

For the glowing nostalgia surrounding Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and The Rock, Cena is now in the midst of the lengthiest main event run in modern professional wrestling history. Since 2005 he has been The Guy and he’s now ready to talk about his time on top. During our 40 minute conversation Cena took us behind the WWE curtain for an “inside baseball” chat about everything from his role in the locker room to his thoughts on rising superstar Roman Reigns and the current WWE product. “Can you tell I genuinely like talking about this stuff?,” he asks towards the end of the interview. “I love what I do. I very rarely get to have these conversations.” 

The meme trumpets have hit. John Cena is on his way to the ring.