I bet you didn’t see this one coming. Nickelodeon has announced that WWE superstar John Cena will be joining the cast of their new Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2D-animated series. The wrestler will play Baron Draxum, a reoccurring character who viewers will first meet in the upcoming show’s premiere episode. Contrary to his usual in-ring persona, Cena doesn’t appear to be playing the good guy here. Draxum is an alchemist and his motivations are to turn all of humanity into mutants.
The voice role is just part of a larger relationship Cena is having with Nickelodeon. He’s returning to host the channel’s Kids Choice Awards that’ll take place on March 24th. Cena’s also executive producing a new game show for Nickelodeon called Keep it Spotless, where kids have to stay clean throughout a variety of challenges to win prizes. This is all a part of the wrestler’s attempt to make a name for himself out of the ring. Cena recently voiced the titular bull in Blue Sky’s animated film Ferdinand and is set to play Agent Burns in the upcoming Transformers spinoff film Bumblebee.
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is co-executive produced by Andy Suriano (character designer, Samurai Jack) and Ant Ward (supervising producer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) at Nickelodeon in Burbank, California. The show will slightly change the dynamic between the brothers, as Raphael will now be the leader, instead of Leonardo. The show stars Omar Miller, Ben Schwartz, Josh Brener, Brandon Mychal Smith, Kat Graham and Eric Bauza. The series, which is voice directed by Turtles veteran Rob Paulsen, will launch on Nickelodeon sometime later this year.
This isn’t the first time the WWE went cowabunga. Master Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy partner Playmates previously introduced the Ninja Superstars line of action figures at the 2016 New York Comic-Con. The line includes the turtles decked out as iconic wrestlers. Yes, that includes the John Cena figure above.