Cena ‘round town: WWE-themed sign catches eyes at Yangon market

John Cena speaking at the 2018 San Diego Comic Con International, for “Bumblebee”, at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. By Gage Skidmore.

It’s rare for any single sign in the middle of Yangon’s frenetic Bogyoke Zay market to make much of an impression, but one otherwise nondescript sign stands out not for its unique font, creative design or bedazzled borders, but it’s interesting name.

The gem and jewelry shop tucked away in the city’s busiest market is named after one of longest-reigning stars in the rough and tumble world of the WWE: two-time heavyweight champ John Cena.

Yep, a shop that sells traditional Burmese slippers, jewelry and souvenirs is named after the Doctor of Thuganomics, the Champ, and the Face of the WWE (all real nicknames, we checked).

John Cena, Jewelry and Souvenir.
John Cena, Jewelry and Souvenir.

According to Daw Li Li Chan, manager of John Cena Jewelry and Souvenir, the shop hasn’t always been named after the wrestling star and occasional actor, that call was made by a previous manager, an apparently hard-core WWE and Cena fan.

“We were originally called Emerald and Jade, an ordinary name, for about 20 years. Then about seven years ago, we wanted to change our name for tax-related reasons and our then-manager, a big fan of this wrestler, changed it to John Cena,” she told Coconuts Yangon.

Luckily for them, the shop hasn’t lived up to Cena’s catchphrase: “You Can’t See Me.” Instead, the name change has had a positive effect, attracting attention from foreigners and locals alike, according to Chan.

“Many people take pictures of our store and post it on social media or tell their friends about it. I personally don’t watch WWE, but I guess I have to thank John Cena,” she said with a laugh.

If you’re not only a wrestling fan but a Thai national, you’ve got even more reason to check the place out. As a sharp-eyed editor at Coconuts Bangkok pointed out, a signboard right next to the store’s English-language “John Cena, Jewelry and Souvenir” sign carries the message “Special discount for Thai people” in Thai script.

We called back this afternoon just to find out why. Turns out the co-owner is Thai. But don’t worry, they apparently extend the same discount to Burmese as well.

Non-Thai expats, however? We’re guessing you’re out of luck. Unless, of course, your name is — John Cena.


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