Can John Cena play the piano? Inside the former WWE star’s melancholy ‘Peacemaker’ solo

7 February 2022, 09:13 | Updated: 7 February 2022, 09:14

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

In episode 6 of ‘Peacemaker’, the spin-off HBO Max show of the 2021 film The Suicide Squad, actor John Cena takes to the keys. But can the famed muscle man actually play the piano?

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John Cena, 44, is a joint-record 16-time world champion wrestler, Hollywood actor, and... pianist?

In Cena’s latest show, Peacemaker, he reprises the title role for an HBO Max Television series of the same name. The character played by Cena first appeared in the 2021 DC Comics superhero film, The Suicide Squad.

In episode 6 of the new television spin-off show, Cena is seen playing a piano cover of Motley Crue’s 1985 rock ballad ‘Home Sweet Home’ at the end of the episode; but can the famed wrestler actually play the musical instrument?

Not only can Cena play the piano, but he is a self-taught musician and enjoys showing off his skills whenever he gets a chance. Here is a timeline of his musical journey so far...

Read more: Can Tom Holland dance? Spider-Man actor cast as Fred Astaire is actually a trained ballet dancer

John Cena playing the piano on screen
John Cena playing the piano on screen. Picture: HBO Max / Alamy

As a teenager Cena was particularly captivated by hip-hop and rap culture. After a brief rap career where he featured on WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.) soundtracks, and performed with the likes of Billboard Music Award-winner Wiz Khalifa, Cena decided he wanted to learn an instrument.

In a 2017 Parade article, Cena revealed that he’d been taking language lessons and learning music for about a year. By studying using the WWE’s free second-language program, he has since become relatively fluent in Mandarin Chinese and even spent a short time living in Yinchuan, China during 2018, creating content for the WWE’s YouTube account.

Cena began playing the piano in 2016 and is passionate about using his free time to further his musical skill.

“I tell myself, ‘You can surf the web for 15 minutes, or put the time toward a skill’,” he told Parade. “What am I gonna learn in 15 minutes?

“[In] your first 15 minutes [of practice], maybe [you will only learn] where middle C is. But after about 125 hours, [you’ll really be learning] how to play the piano.”

At the end of 2017 his former fiancée, Nikki Bella, posted a video of Cena playing French pianist Maxence Cyrin’s cover of ‘Where Is My Mind?’, a song by the American alternative rock band, Pixies.

In a 2018 Vanity Fair video, ‘Everything John Cena Does in a Day’, Cena updated us on his progress with the piano.

“I truly enjoy messing around on the piano,” he tells the camera. “It’s something I started about a year and a half ago.

“I’m not very good, but I get better every day.

“[Playing the piano is] very important to me because it keeps my mind sharp and also music comes out, and that’s very soothing to the savage beast.”

By 2018, Cena was spoiling his fans with videos of his piano performances. A clip posted to Twitter of the actor playing the traditional folk song ‘The House of the Rising Sun’ got 331,000 views from surprised followers who had no idea of Cena’s piano prowess.

Turning his hands to classical music, Cena gave this moving rendition of Erik Satie’s Gymnopédie No.1 while he was staying in a snowy Vancouver.

Watching Cena perform this tranquil tune against such a beautiful backdrop shatters any perceptions audiences may have of large and muscular men. He is a moving musical performer to watch.

A few months later, Cena moved on from French composer Satie, to German composer, Beethoven, and gave this nonchalant rendition of the first movement from the Moonlight Sonata (or maybe a Moonlight Cenata...?) while at American singer, Tyrese Gibson’s estate.

Cena has obviously put a lot of hard work into learning the instrument, and according to multiple interviews, fits in piano practice of up to one hour every day during his busy schedule.

When he’s not playing the piano, learning Mandarin, or shooting his next film or television series, the actor volunteers his time to the Make A Wish foundation and he received a Special Recognition Award for being the first person to grant 300 wishes for children with critical illnesses.

To finish our study of Cena’s piano progression, we will leave you with his cover of Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer. Because that’s who John Cena is, a well-rounded, multi-talented, entertainer.