John Cena hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time and the end result... was pretty damn good. There were a ton of jokes playing off Cena's hyper-masculine presence and meathead look, but the WWE star proved he has an excellent sense of humor about his image — and he does a pretty funny, over-the-top Rob Gronkowski imitation, as well.
Cena's Gronk parody was on full display in a standout game show-style sketch titled "Where'd My Money Go." It was hosted by Kenan Thompson in full-on Charles Barkley mode and featured SNL cast standout Andy Moynihan as golfer John Daly and Alex Moffat as Conor McGregor. The subject of the sketch was all the dumb things the sports stars supposedly do with their money. As McGregor Moffat's Irish accent was a little off-key but his attitude was perfect. As Gronk, Cena basically nailed it.
Ronda Rousey has hosted the venerable sketch show in the past; we had to wonder if a nod to McGregor could lead to a future hosting gig.
The "Science Presentation" sketch was probably where Cena's knack for self-parody was put to the best use. He played an eager but dimwitted college football star participating in a competition with two outstanding academic students. The professors judging the presentation were clearly biased in favor of letting the athlete off the hook so he would be eligible to play in the big game.
A digital short titled "The Karate Teen" parodied The Karate Kid, with Cena playing the Kobra-Kai style blond baddie and cast member Mikey Day in the Ralph Macchio role. Everything is going as expected until Cena's character actually lands a punch.
"Dating Show" played off Cena's hunk factor. He portrayed the host of a The Dating Game-like show in which Cecily Strong's contestant quickly realizes she's a lot more interested in learning about dating Cena than any of the guys seated on stools in front of her.
It's clear that John Cena has learned a lot from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's career path. Given their history, it makes sense to think he's following Johnson's model. If his first turn as SNL host was any indication, that's a pretty smart move.