The actors had a long-standing rivalry while working as pro wrestlers, but remained friends behind the scenes.
However, one rough period in the pair’s friendship came in 2012, after a number of comments Johnson – who performed as “The Rock” – made about the business.
While Cena was publicly mouthing off about Johnson, who had just begun his move to Hollywood, Johnson said: “This is what happens when idiots have confidence.”
Appearing on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Cena, 46, recalled: “I got selfish and me – living WWE at the point and not having any concept of growth or someone else’s perspective – I took Dwayne’s comments as not genuine.”
Rather than contacting Johnson personally, Cena decided to air his grievances publicly, explaining: “Instead of going like, ‘Hey man, I’d like to try to do this thing to hook you back in and maybe we can collaborate and really make it big,’ I was just like, ‘Eff this, I’m calling this dude out. This is a moment. You gave me an opening. I’m going to kick the door in.’”
Cena, 46, said that he “understands why he got upset”, adding: “I just got selfish and wanted a main event marquee match because it would better what I thought was the business. That was short-sighted and selfish. It worked!
“But it worked at the cost of two people who communicated and almost put it in jeopardy. There was a moment where there was a lot of bad vibes between us and rightfully so.”
The Peacemaker star said that while he and The Rock made for great on-screen rivals, that came “at the cost of our friendship”, which he added “now is in a really good place”.
Speaking about the rivalry during a recent appearance on The Late Show with Kimmel, Johnson offered his own thoughts on the feud.
“We had a great rivalry,” the 51-year-old explained. “In the world of wrestling, it’s fictionalised, it’s a show, but here’s the thing. Our rivalry was, it was so real. We had real problems with each other.”