EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - As a squeaky-clean company man, John Cena helped steer WWE from the Attitude Era to PG success.
Sunday night he won back the WWE Championship from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at WrestleMania XXIX, and proved that clean can still equal cash.
The event at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. drew an announced crowd of 80,676, trailing only WrestleMania III's announced attendance of 93,173.
Sunday's event, according to a WWE news release distributed just before the end of the show, was the highest grossing live event in WWE history and is the highest grossing entertainment event in MetLife Stadium history, totaling $12.3 million.
There have been whispers in the past that Cena could turn bad guy, a potential shot in the arm creatively, but a possible threat to WWE's greatest cash cow.
Cena addressed questions on how he would respond had he lost a second-straight WrestleMania to Rock during a news conference at MetLife Stadium just a couple of hours before WWE's marquee event. Rock beat Cena in Miami last year at WrestleMania XXIII.
According to Cena, the next step might not have been a pretty one.
"When you have a business model and that model starts to fail, you can either let that ship sink or change the business model," Cena told reporters.
When asked if he would use tactics "less than noble," Cena hesitated before saying, "The winner writes the history books."
In the end he didn't have to go to the dark side. The pair traded hitting each other with their finishing move -- and Rock and Cena trying to use the other's finisher -- before an Attitude Adjustment slam off a fireman's carry put the championship back around Cena's waist. The pair hugged after the match.
Cena said before the show WWE did an outstanding job transforming MetLife to where it didn't even resemble a football stadium. When asked about WrestleMania serving as a precursor to next year's Super Bowl, Cena answered, "If you can accomodate what we've done out there, the Super Bowl will be fine."
Cena said he hadn't been around Vince McMahon much Sunday, but he added he's sure the boss was proud to be promoting such a big card in the area his grandfather promoted in, and the region in which his father turned the old WWWF into a success.
"He's shut me up," Cena said of that complaint.