John Cena is one of the biggest stars in WWE history, but did not forget where he came from when he made Brodus Clay‘s Wrestlemania dream a reality.
The 16-time World Champion wrestled in the main event of Wrestlemania 28 in the first of two incredible bouts against his long time rival The Rock. The Great One wrestled for the first time in nearly a decade when he took on The Champ in what was the most successful Wrestlemania of all time (with it’s record for pay per view buys beaten only by the rematch the next year) but the show was not without its casualities.
Brodus Clay was supposed to face off with Heath Slater on the Wrestlemania 28 card. The powerhouse had recently re-debuted on WWE TV as “The Funkasaurus”, a dancing, happy-go-lucky superstar who had a darker side when he stepped into the ring. He became most popular for his ridiculous dancing and was typecast in the role for the remainder of his WWE career.
The gimmick was a bit of a slap in the face for Clay, considering he had thought up his world champion-level gimmick and pitched it to the company, only for it to taken and used for somebody else. Before his return as the Funkasaurus, he pitched the idea of him inducting wrestlers into his own personal “Hall of Pain”, which was eventually used by Mark Henry on his way to becoming the World Heavyweight Champion.
Instead he was saddled with the dancing gimmick which, while memorable, hit it’s ceiling pretty quickly and almost guaranteed him zero chance of personal success in the company. His best chance at winning championship gold came as part of his tag team with Lord Tensai (formerly Albert or A-Train in the WWE), with the large pair being known as “Tons of Funk”.
Brodus Clay’s biggest moment of his career was set to be something few superstars get a chance to do – wrestle in a one-on-one match at Wrestlemania. He was set to take on former Nexus member Heath Slater at Wrestlemania 28, which would likely have seen him squash his opponent and showcase his dominance over the main roster. It could have been a turning point for Clay but sadly it was simply not to be.
On the day of the show, Vince McMahon decided that the show needed to cut some time. This led to one of the matches being cancelled last minute and without replacement. Sadly, being the card featuring the least interest and the lowest wrestlers on the card, Brodus Clay vs Heath Slater was cancelled by Vince and removed from Wrestlemania. This was a hard pill to swallow for both men, who felt like the entire year they spent working as hard as they could was to waste because they missed out on the biggest matches of the year.
Thankfully for Brodus Clay, John Cena surprised everyone by pulling one of the most unselfish moves a WWE legend has ever done before. As he was preparing for his bout with The Rock in the main event of Wrestlemania 28, he noticed McMahon complaining about the previous match going too long and canning Clay vs Slater. Seeing this and the disappointed faces, John Cena elected to go to the bathroom, delaying his match by “6 minutes”, as he claimed, giving Brodus Clay the chance to go out and waste some time before he came back to face The Rock.
With time to kill, Vince McMahon sent Brodus Clay out to perform in front of the fans, dancing alongside “Mama Clay” to his theme song “Funk is on a Roll”. While it was not a match and Heath Slater was sadly absent, Clay was still able to perform at Wrestlemania and get the special moment he had been dreaming of for his entire career, and had only one man to thank – John Cena.
In an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Brodus Clay spoke about the incredible unselfish act that John Cena committed to allow him to have the Wrestlemania moment that he always wanted. He called it the “most selfless thing that a top guy doesn’t have to do”, despite Vince McMahon being unhappy with what was going on at the time.
“We were supposed to have a match with Heath Slater, but time got cut. Cena did one of the most selfless things that a top guy doesn’t have to do. (Vince McMahon) was shaking his head, the match before went over and they were heavy on time. Vince was shaking his head and was like I think we have to cut it.
“All of a sudden Cena is getting ready, looks at me and says ‘I got to go the bathroom.’ I’m like what? He said ‘6 minutes?’ And he just left, now I had to go! I’m out and I got my WrestleMania moment because Cena had to go to the bathroom.”
Brodus Clay was released by WWE in 2014 after a disappointing run with the company. He made an incredible comeback to wrestling in 2021, and in 2022 won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from Trevor Murdock, winning the first World Championship in his career. He currently wrestles for the promotion under the name Tyrus.