After watching “The Champ” return to the ring on RAW to match wits with Austin Theory and ultimately accept a challenge for the United States Championship at WrestleMania 39, WWE fans watched in horror as John Cena fired off the following message alongside a video of his in-ring return.

“Last night was the first time I entered the arena and had the thought that it might be the last time,” Cena wrote. “I’ll never be able to put into words how much I love the WWE Universe.”

Needless to say, this made fans feel a certain type of way, as the idea of the 45-year-old calling it quits when he’s seven years younger than Chris Jericho is a pretty big bummer, but, as it turns out, the text might not be what it initially appears, as he detailed in an AP News interview about his career inside and out of the ring.

“I tried to put it in words in Twitter,” Cena said. “I guess I didn’t explain myself correctly. It was the first time I came out into the arena knowing that this has a definitive end. Normally, you come out, you get all excited, OK, this is the next one, and I’m waiting for the next one. I’m not done, of course. I made that statement accepting a match at WrestleMania, so I know I have at least one more in front of me. But what I was trying to convey was, that was the first time I looked at all that excitement and energy and realized this is the twilight of that journey.”

On paper, Cena is in the twilight of his career, especially if he continues to only average a few appearances on RAW or SmackDown per year. Still, if Cena ultimately wins the United States Championship off of Theory at Mania, he’ll have to show up on RAW a bit more often, which certainly won’t make fans sad one bit.

John Cena finally shares his thoughts on Vince McMahon.

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Elsewhere in his interview with

“That’s way above my paygrade. I just don’t know what’s going on with that,” Cena said. “I love Vince McMahon. He’s everything you could want in a great friend, business partner, father, mentor. I love the man. But his business dealings are his business and what he shares with me, that’s between us. But I don’t know what’s going on with the corporate structure in the WWE or the creative direction of the WWE. But when I’m there as a performer, it’s (WWE champion) Roman Reigns’ show. In my mind, he needs to be in the conversation, and in my mind, he’s the greatest of all time.”

Ah, “that’s above my paygrade,” that a phrase Johnny Gargano used too when discussing the prospects of WWE’s future. Could that be a phrase used by the boys in the back as a sort of company line?

Cena was then asked about Mr. McMahon’s situation, specifically, “is it tough to reconcile the feelings you have toward Vince McMahon with the sexual misconduct accusations made against him?” Cena again tried to hold the company line and suggested that just because someone has made poor decisions doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of love.

“No. I mean, everyone has the right to have their perspective,” Cena said. “I have the right to have mine. When you love somebody, you take them as imperfectly perfect as they are. We all make mistakes, we all have poor decisions. Lord knows I’ve made my collection of poor choices. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to love somebody. There’s no way I can go on record and say I don’t love Vince McMahon.”

Wow, that response might generate some pushback, but in reality, it’s hard to argue with Cena’s way of thinking; though his first few years in WWE were a little rocky – need I say more than Ruthless Aggression? – Cena became the dude in WWE for over a decade, with plenty of runs that could have been great, like The Nexus derailed by his near-unstoppable push. If anyone should be pro-Vince McMahon, it’s probably Cena, but then again, why ask him a question if it’s not too hard to assume what his answer would be? Whether he retires or not, Cena is gonna be a member of the WWE Universe for the foreseeable future; why ruffle the feathers of a similar stalwart?