Why pro wrestler John Cena came up during a congressional hearing

WASHINGTON – During a nearly two-hour hearing on the state of small business Wednesday, Linda McMahon, the newly appointed head of the Small Business Administration (and the wife of billionaire World Wrestling Entertainment founder Vince McMahon), answered questions ranging from government meeting its small business contracting goals to overall transparency.

All pretty boilerplate stuff. That is, until Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, got his five minutes.


Things were running smoothly (that is to say sufficiently wonky) for a while. Blum began by praising McMahon and congratulating her on her new gig. He even asked some relevant questions about small business loan guarantees and defaults. But having exhausted all his material, Blum decided to spend his last 45 seconds on a bit of pop culture trivia.

‘‘I want to address the 800-pound gorilla in the room that no one has asked you so far,’’ said Blum, ‘‘but I will, and some of my constituents want to know this as well, Administrator McMahon. Why did it take John Cena so long to propose marriage to Nikki Bella? And remember you’re under oath.’’

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No clue what Blum is talking about? You clearly aren’t a WrestleManiac.

During Sunday’s WrestleMania 33, 39-year-old Cena, a veteran of SmackDown! and a West Newbury, Mass. native, got engaged to his longtime girlfriend, fellow wrestler Bella, on live television. The two had been dating since 2012, and Cena stars on Bella’s reality show ‘‘Total Bellas.’’

It was time.


But Wednesday’s hearing was hardly the place. Despite a few chuckles, McMahon, the former chief executive of WWE who ran for Senate twice, provided a blunt response.

‘‘You’d have to ask him,’’ she said.

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