Professional wrestler and actor John Cena said fans only purchased 7.4% of his World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE, nonfungible tokens (NFTs) that he made available last month.
Speaking at Florida Supercon 2021 on Sept. 12, Cena said it was a mistake to market his WWE NFTs as part of a package with physical collectibles — a hat, shirt, wristbands, belt, towel, autographed picture, and the digital collectible. The organization offered 500 gold tier packages with the NFT for $1,000, but only a fraction of them sold.
“I talk a lot about failure — this idea failed,” said Cena. “Myself and the folks in the WWE thought $1,000 was a fair price point. We were wrong. We were absolutely wrong.”
“We sold 37 of them. It was a catastrophic failure.”
Cena and WWE released two tiers of NFTs for the wrestling star: a 24-hour auction of a “John Cena Platinum NFT” and the 500 limited edition NFTs as part of the aforementioned package of physical collectibles the following day. The platinum NFT reportedly sold for $21,000, with the highest bidder receiving VIP tickets — with accommodations — to WrestleMania 38 in Dallas or WrestleMania 39 in Los Angeles.
The WWE veteran promoted the crypto space on social media long before the surge in popularity over NFTs. Before the 2017 Bitcoin (BTC) bull run — when the price was in the $4,000s — he tweeted a picture of the physical token. Retired professional wrestler The Undertaker, part of the WWE until 2020, has also been featured in NFT collections.
It’s unclear if wrestling fans were deterred by the price of the NFT — Cena, himself, estimated the digital artwork to be worth roughly $500 — or just the physical collectibles. In July, an entrepreneur launched simultaneous auctions for a job application from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and an NFT of the same. The physical paper ended up selling for $343,000, while the final bid for the NFT was 12 Ether (ETH), or roughly $27,460 at the time.