Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) champion John Cena has admitted that he was "wrong" when he criticized The Rock for leaving WWE for Hollywood. 

Cena, who has been in the WWE industry for nearly two decades, has changed paths and has plunged in his acting career. The 42-year-old American has competed in only two fights this year. He has not appeared on WWE TV since the July 22 RAW Reunion special. 

He made an appearance at WrestleMania 35 in April, for the "Dr. of Thuganomics" segment with Elias, but his last match came during the Jan. 14 RAW episode. Cena competed in a Fatal 4 Way to crown a new #1 contender to then-WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, along with winner Finn Balor, Drew McIntyre and King Baron Corbin. A week before that, he wrestled a six-man match on RAW. 

"Professional wrestling is a wonderful industry, but it's also extremely addictive. It's addictive because it makes you feel relevant, it makes you feel important. It can fill the void of a lot of things that you may not be brave enough to face." 

"It also pays really well, so you get attached to financial security. It allows you to make irresponsible financial decisions because you think the money's always going to be there. The fan base has seen some wonderful individuals look a step slower. I just don't want to be that person. People like Steve Austin and Dwayne Johnson, they have done it perfectly," Cena told Sports Illustrated while promoting his upcoming movie, "Playing with Fire". 

John Cena The Rock WWE The Rock and John Cena attend the WrestleMania 29 Press Conference at Radio City Music Hall on April 4, 2013 in New York City. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Cena also mentioned that he gives his life willingly to WWE but he doesn't want to be the same person and aims at growing and evolving. "I want to make sure I still love what I do. I never want to get to the point where I steal your money just to get your money," the WWE superstar added.

After being in the ring for so many years, acting has given Cena a new challenge, which has made him realize how wrong he was to call out at The Rock for choosing movies over WWE. 

"I've told Dwayne Johnson that when I called him out for a lack of love for WWE, I was wrong. I was ignorant. He loves WWE, but he goes from shooting one project to the next. He blazed a trail and I didn't understand that, but now I totally understand. I was wrong. It led to a good piece of business in WWE [at WrestleMania 28 and 29], but I was speaking from a point of selfish ignorance," Cena added.