John Cena came up with the perfect wrestling nicknames and personas for his fellow Fast and the Furious castmates after filming F9. The WWE wrestling star-turned-actor worked with an ensemble cast that included Michelle Rodriguez, Helen Mirren, Vin Diesel, Cardi B, and others. In the film, Fast and the Furious newcomer Cena plays Jakob Toretto, Dom Toretto’s estranged younger brother.
In F9, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew get back together to save the world, and this time one of the villains is his long-lost brother — meaning that in addition to the typical epic car chase scenes and fast action hand-to-hand combat, the two brothers also have to unpack a lot of family drama during the 2.5-hour run time. Undoubtedly, Cena – F9’s new ‘big guy’ replacement for The Rock – got to know his castmates well in the making of the film — at least well enough to determine their ultimate wrestling nicknames.
In an interview with Vice, Cena gives WWE-style names and personas to the cast according to the characteristics of both the characters and the actors themselves. The names and personas are entertaining, to say the least, and make for some interesting visuals. Most seem pretty spot on for the actors/characters and their personalities.
For example, Cena bestows Tyrese Gibson with the name Roman, after his F9 character, to be portrayed as an actual Roman from the Roman Empire — complete with trumpets and “a king’s welcome.” Gibson as a Roman gladiator would certainly be entertaining. Perhaps he could face off with Fast and the Furious’s Michelle Rodriguez (Letty) as The Destroyer? Though Cena hesitated to grant Rodriguez that nickname because he says it oversimplifies her “beautifully complex personality”, it does seem to fit her character’s no-holds-barred personality in the films.
Meanwhile, in another ring, Cena imagines Charlize Theron (Cipher) and Nathalie Emmanuel (Ramsey) as rivals in the WWE world fighting it out for the title of The Genius, since both of their characters demonstrate such intelligent problem-solving in the course of the film. Cena thinks Emmanuel would ultimately end up as The Genius and Theron would become The Evil Genius, and given their characters’ displays of brilliance and technological savvy, he’s probably right. Whereas Kurt Russell (Mr. Nobody) and Michael Rooker (Buddy) would share the title of The Last Outlaw as a tag-team duo. While this would definitely be an unusual pairing, it would be sure to draw an audience.
Helen Miran (Queenie), on the other hand, would enter the ring with a wrestling name befitting royalty — Queen Helen. This is a fitting name for the acting legend who has portrayed both Queen Elizabeths on the silver screen and who was appointed a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II for service to drama. Cena imagines Queen Helen donning a royal cape which she would wear for the entire match (even if someone else had to hold it up for her) — a suiting costume for Hollywood royalty.
Vin Diesel would head into the ring as — Vin Diesel. It turns out, the actor’s name already does exactly what a wrestler’s name should do — it captures his persona, gives the audience a first impression of what’s to come, and says something about his physical condition. Cena even compared the actor’s fighting style to a Diesel truck. It might be noted that Fast and the Furious legend Diesel himself might feel similarly, given that he adopted the name for his career. He was born Mark Sinclair — a name that doesn’t have quite the same wrestling-match punch to it. Similarly, it turns out that both Ludacris (Tej) and Cardi B (Leysa) also already have the perfect WWE names. It would be an easy transition between hip-hop and wrestling for Ludacris, as both industries require skill and cultivating a personality for oneself, and Ludacris has already succeeded in cultivating that persona. Cena said Cardi B’s confidence, self-love and authenticity would make her shine as a wrestler.