|John Felix Anthony Cena|
|Ring name(s)||john,john anthony,john felix|
|Height||6ft 1in 1.85m|
|Weight||251 lbs (114 kg)|
|Born||April 23, 1977 (age 44)|
|Hometown||West Newbury, Massachusetts|
|Billed from||West Newbury, Massachusetts|
|WWE debut||June 27, 2002|
|Finisher(s)||Attitude Adjustment, STF|
|Accomplishments||WWE Champion, United States Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, World Tag Team Champion, WWE Tag Team Champion, Money In The Bank Winner, Royal Rumble Winner.|
Cena started his professional wrestling career in 1999 with Ultimate Pro Wrestling, where he held the UPW Heavyweight Championship. In 2001, Cena signed a developmental contract with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, later renamed to WWE). Cena debuted on the WWF main roster in 2002, and to date, he has won 21 championships in total, including 14 world championships (a record 11 reigns as WWE Champion and the World Heavyweight Championship three times), a company record. He has the fourth-highest number of combined days as WWE Champion, behind Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan and Bruno Sammartino. He is also the first man to win the match by disqualification and fail to capture a world championship upon cashing in a Money in the Bank contract.
- 1 History
- 1.1 WWE Ohio Valley Wrestling (2001-2002)
- 1.2 Main Roster Debut (2002-2004)
- 1.3 United States Champion and WWE Champion (2004-2005)
- 1.4 WWE Championship feuds and injury (2006-2007)
- 1.5 Return and World Championship Reigns (2008-2010)
- 1.6 Feuding with The Nexus (2010-2011)
- 1.7 Record-breaking WWE Champion (2011-2013)
- 1.8 Feud with Randy Orton (2013-Present)
- 2 Wrestling Details
- 3 Championships and Accomplishments
- 4 External Links
WWE Ohio Valley Wrestling (2001-2002)
In 2001, Cena signed a developmental contract with the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE). He was assigned to its developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). During his time there, Cena wrestled under the ring names "The Prototype" and "Mr. P". He held the OVW Heavyweight Championship for three months and the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship (with Rico Constantino) for two months.
Main Roster Debut (2002-2004)
Cena made his television debut answering an open challenge by Kurt Angle on June 27, 2002. Inspired by a speech given by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon to the rising stars of the company, exhorting them to show "ruthless aggression" to earn a place among the legends, Cena took advantage of the opportunity to face Angle. Cena managed to counter the Angle Slam and the ankle lock submission hold, but ultimately lost to a hard amateur wrestling-style pin. Following the near-win, Cena became a fan favorite and started feuding with Chris Jericho, defeating Jericho at Vengeance. In October, Cena and Billy Kidman took part in a tag team tournament to crown the first WWE Tag Team Champions of the SmackDown! brand, losing in the first round. The next week, Cena turned on and attacked Kidman, blaming him for their loss, becoming a villain.
Shortly after the Kidman attack, on a Halloween themed episode of SmackDown, Cena dressed as Vanilla Ice performing a freestyle rap. The next week, Cena received a new character: a rapper who cut promos while rhyming. As the gimmick grew, Cena began adopting a variant of the 1980s WWF logo – dropping the "F" – as his "signature symbol", along with the slogan "Word Life". Moreover, he was joined by an enforcer, Bull Buchanan, who was rechristened B-2 (also written B² and pronounced "B-Squared"). Buchanan was later replaced by Red Dogg, until he was sent to the Raw brand in February.
For the first half of 2003, Cena sought the WWE Championship and chased the reigning champion, Brock Lesnar, performing weekly "freestyles" challenging him to matches. During the feud, Cena unveiled a new finishing maneuver: the FU, a Fireman's carry powerslam, named to mock Brock Lesnar's F-5 because both moves start with Fireman's carry, with the first victim being Rikishi. Cena won a number one contenders tournament against Lesnar at Backlash. However, Cena was defeated by Lesnar. At Vengeance Cena lost a singles match against The Undertaker. At the end of the year, Cena became a fan favorite again when he joined Kurt Angle as a member of his team at Survivor Series.
United States Champion and WWE Champion (2004-2005)
In early 2004, Cena participated in the Royal Rumble match at the 2004 Royal Rumble, making it to the final six before being eliminated by Big Show and the Match being won by Chris Benoit. The Royal Rumble elimination led to a feud with Big Show, which Cena won the United States Championship from Big Show at WrestleMania XX. During his reign, Cena came into contention with SmackDown General Manager Kurt Angle over issues arising with René Duprée and Torrie Wilson. The reign ended almost four months later, when he was stripped of the belt on July 8 by Angle after he accidentally knocked him over, thus attacking an official. Cena won the championship back defeating Booker T in a best of five series that culminated at No Mercy, only to lose it to the debuting Carlito Caribbean Cool the next week. After the loss to Carlito, the duo began a feud, which Cena was stabbed in the kidney while at a Boston-area nightclub by Carlito's bodyguard, Jesús. This worked injury was used to keep Cena out of action for a month, while Cena was filming The Marine. Immediately on his return in November, Cena won the United States Championship back from Carlito debuting a "custom made" spinner-style championship belt.
Cena took part in the 2005 Royal Rumble match, making it to the final two. Cena and Raw brand wrestler Batista went over the top rope at the same time, ostensibly ending the match. Vince McMahon, however, appeared on stage and restarted the match in sudden death rules, with Batista eventually eliminating Cena. The next month, Cena defeated Kurt Angle to earn a spot in the SmackDown brand's WrestleMania 21 main event match, beginning a feud with WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) and his Cabinet in the process. In the early stages of the feud, Cena lost his US belt to Cabinet member Orlando Jordan, who proceeded to "blow up" the spinner championship with JBL and returning a more traditional style belt. Cena defeated JBL at WrestleMania winning the WWE Championship, giving Cena his first world championship. Cena then had a spinner WWE Championship belt made, while JBL took the original belt and claimed to still be WWE Champion, until Cena reclaimed the original belt in an "I Quit" match at Judgment Day.
Cena was drafted to the Raw brand on June 6, 2005, becoming the first wrestler selected by General Manager Eric Bischoff in the annual draft lottery. Cena immediately entered a feud with Bischoff, after refusing to participate in the "war" against the Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) roster at One Night Stand. With Bischoff vowing to make Cena's stint on Raw difficult, he hand picked Jericho to take Cena's championship from him. During their feud, even though Cena was portrayed as the fan favorite and Jericho as the villain, a vocal section of live crowds, nonetheless, were booing Cena during their matches. More crowds followed suit during Cena's next feud with Kurt Angle, who took over as Bischoff's hand-picked number-one contender after Cena defeated Jericho in a You're Fired match on the August 22 Raw. As the feud continued and the dissenters grew more vocal, sometimes seeming to outnumber fans by wide margins, the announce team was forced to acknowledge the booing on television and began calling Cena a "controversial champion", claiming some people disliking him on account of his "in-ring style" and his chosen fashion. Despite the mixed and negative reactions, Cena held on to his championship through his feud with Angle, losing to him by disqualification – which titles do not change hands in WWE – at Unforgiven and pinning him at Survivor Series. The feud with Angle also saw Cena add a secondary, submission based, finishing maneuver – the STFU (a Stepover Toehold Sleeper, though named for a Stepover Toehold Facelock) – when he was put into a Triple Threat Submissions Only match on the November 28 Raw.
WWE Championship feuds and injury (2006-2007)
Cena lost the WWE Championship at New Year's Revolution, but not in the Elimination Chamber match that he had been advertised to participate in beforehand. Instead, immediately after winning the Elimination Chamber, he was forced into a match against Edge, who cashed in his Money in the Bank contract – a "guaranteed title match for the WWE Champion at a time and place of the owner's choosing." Two quick spears allowed Edge to pin Cena, winning him the championship. Three weeks later, Cena won the championship back at the Royal Rumble. After winning the championship, Cena began feuding with Triple H, which the crowd began booing Cena and cheering the intended villain, Triple H. Cena beat Triple H at Wrestlemania 22 to retain his WWE Title. The negative reaction towards Cena intensified when facing Rob Van Dam at One Night Stand. Taking place in front of a crowd of mostly "old school" ECW fans at the Hammerstein Ballroom, Cena was met with raucous jeering and chants of "Fuck you, Cena", "You can't wrestle", and "Same old shit". When he began performing different moves into the match, the fans began chanting "You still suck". Cena lost the WWE Championship at One Night Stand, with Van Dam pinning Cena after interference from Edge.
In July, Edge won the championship from Van Dam in a Triple Threat match that also involved Cena, re-igniting the feud between him and Cena from earlier in the year. After Edge went about retaining the title by dubious means – getting himself disqualified (for which Championships do not change hands) and using brass knuckles – he introduced his own version of Cena's "custom" belt, this one with his logo placed on the spinner. Cena eventually won the championship back in a match and arena of Edge's choice: a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at Unforgiven at the Air Canada Centre in Edge's hometown of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The match had a stipulation that, had Cena lost, he would have left the Raw brand for SmackDown. Cena returned his version of the spinner belt on the next night's Raw.
On the heels of his feud with Edge, Cena was placed in an inter-brand angle to determine the "Champion of Champions" – or which was the most dominant champion in WWE's three brands. Cena, the World Heavyweight Champion King Booker, and the ECW World Champion The Big Show engaged in a mini-feud leading to a Triple Threat match at Cyber Sunday, with the viewers voting on which of the three championships would be placed on the line. At the same time, Cena became involved in a storyline with non-wrestler Kevin Federline, when he began appearing on Raw with Johnny Nitro and Melina. After getting into a worked physical altercation with Federline on Raw, Federline appeared at Cyber Sunday to hit Cena with the World Heavyweight Championship during the match, helping King Booker retain his championship. 2006 ended with Cena beginning a feud with the undefeated Umaga over the WWE Championship, while 2007 began with the end of his storyline with Kevin Federline. On the first Raw of the new year, Cena was pinned by Federline with an assist from Umaga, although later in the night he was able to get his hands on Federline performing an FU on him.
One night after the Royal Rumble, an impromptu team of Cena and Shawn Michaels defeated Rated-RKO (Edge and Randy Orton) for the World Tag Team Championship, making Cena a double champion. On the April 2 episode of Raw, after losing a WWE Championship match to Cena at WrestleMania 23, Michaels turned on Cena, costing them the championship in the second of two 10 team battles royals, by throwing Cena over the top rope and eliminating the team. The Hardys (Matt and Jeff) eventually won the match and the championship. For the rest of the month, Cena feuded with Michaels, Orton, and Edge until The Great Khali declared his intentions to challenge for Cena's championship attacking and "laying out" all three of the top contenders before assaulting Cena himself and stealing the physical belt. For the next two months, Cena feuded with Khali over the championship, eventually becoming the first person in WWE to defeat him by submission at Judgment Day and then by pinfall at One Night Stand. Later that summer, Randy Orton was named the number one contender for the WWE championship, starting a feud between the two. Leading up to SummerSlam, Orton delivered a number of sneak-attacks, performing three RKOs to Cena, but in the actual match, Cena retained the championship. A rematch between the two occurred at Unforgiven, with Orton winning by disqualification after Cena ignored the referee's instructions and continued to beat on him in the corner.
During a match with Mr. Kennedy on the October 1, 2007 episode of Raw, Cena suffered a legitimate torn pectoral muscle while executing a hip toss. Though finishing the match and taking part in the scripted attack by Randy Orton after the match, surgery the following day found that his pectoralis major muscle was torn completely from the bone, estimating at the time to require seven months to a year of rehabilitation. As a result, Cena was stripped of the title by Vince McMahon on the next night's episode of ECW, ending what was the longest WWE Championship reign in over 19 years. Cena's surgery was performed by orthopedic surgeon James Andrews at St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. Two weeks later, in a video update on WWE.com, Dr. Andrews and Cena's physical trainer both said that he was several weeks ahead of where he was expected to be in his rehabilitation at that time. Despite his injury, Cena attended the annual WWE Tribute to the Troops show filmed at Camp Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq on December 7, and aired on December 24.
Return and World Championship Reigns (2008-2010)
Cena made a surprise return as the final participant of the Royal Rumble match, winning the match, and the traditional WrestleMania title shot, by last eliminating Triple H. Instead of waiting until WrestleMania, the title shot was cashed in against WWE Champion Randy Orton at February's No Way Out pay-per-view in a match where Cena won by disqualification, resulting in him not getting the championship. The night after No Way Out, Cena was placed back into WrestleMania XXIV's WWE Championship match, making it a Triple Threat match also involving Triple H, during which he was pinned by Orton. At Backlash, Cena failed to regain the title in a Fatal Four-Way elimination match, in which he was pinned by Orton. Triple H won the title during that match. During the match, Cena eliminated JBL, renewing their feud from 2005. Cena defeated JBL at Judgment Day and then at One Night Stand in a First Blood match. JBL, however, defeated him in a New York City Parking Lot Brawl at The Great American Bash in July.
On the August 4 episode of Raw, Cena became a World Tag Team Champion for a second time, teaming with Batista to defeat Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, but failed to retain the titles the following week against the former champions. Batista defeated Cena at SummerSlam; shortly after, he was named one of four contenders for CM Punk's World Heavyweight Championship in the Championship scramble match at Unforgiven. He was replaced by Rey Mysterio, however, after Cena suffered a herniated disc in his neck, which required surgery. Cena underwent successful surgery to repair the injury.
Cena made his in-ring return at the November pay-per-view event, Survivor Series, defeating Chris Jericho to win his first World Heavyweight Championship. The two continued their rivalry up to Armageddon, where Cena retained his championship. Cena lost the championship at No Way Out, to Edge after Kofi Kingston was attacked by Edge, who took his place in the Elimination Chamber match. Cena was given an opportunity to regain the title at WrestleMania XXV in a Triple Threat match also involving Big Show, which Cena won.
Cena lost the championship back to Edge in a Last Man Standing match at Backlash after interference from Big Show, who chokeslammed Cena through a big spotlight. This angle resulted in Cena beginning a feud with Big Show. Cena defeated Big Show at Judgment Day and at Extreme Rules in a Submission match by applying the STFU.
At the July pay-per-view, Night of Champions, he participated in a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship, which also involved Triple H and WWE Champion Randy Orton. Cena, however, did not win the match. Two months later, at Breaking Point, Cena defeated Randy Orton for the WWE Championship in an "I Quit" match to win his fourth WWE Championship. At Hell in a Cell, Cena lost the title to Orton in a Hell in a Cell match. Three weeks later, at WWE Bragging Rights, Cena defeated Orton in a 60-minute Iron Man match. Cena successfully defended the title against both Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a Triple Threat match at Survivor Series, and lost it to Sheamus at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in a Tables match.
Cena regained the title at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in an Elimination Chamber. His reign was cut short after Mr. McMahon made him defend the title against Batista, who won the title. Cena defeated Batista at WrestleMania XXVI for the title, and successfully defended it at Extreme Rules, in a
Last Man Standing rematch. Cena faced Batista one more time, winning an I Quit match at Over the Limit.
Feuding with The Nexus (2010-2011)
On the June 7, 2010 episode of Raw, Cena was suddenly thrust into a new storyline when during his main event match against CM Punk, he was attacked by all eight former contestants of WWE NXT Season 1, with Wade Barrett as their leader. Punk, his follower Luke Gallows, and other personnel around the ring were attacked as well, but Cena took the worst of the attack and was carried out on a stretcher. This group later referred to itself as The Nexus. At Fatal 4-Way, Cena lost the WWE Title to Sheamus, in a fatal four-way match involving Edge and Randy Orton, after The Nexus interfered. Cena again lost to Sheamus, in a steel cage match, at Money in the Bank, after The Nexus again interfered. Cena, in retaliation to The Nexus, formed an alliance with Edge, Chris Jericho, John Morrison, R-Truth, The Great Khali and Bret Hart. They defeated The Nexus at SummerSlam, with help from the returning Daniel Bryan, a former member of Nexus, who replaced Khali after he was injured. According to Jericho and Edge, the original plan was to put Barrett Over. At the end, Jericho and Edge would lost against Nexus. However, Cena asked for a change and he defeated Barrett and Gabriel. Jericho said that it was a bad idea, because Barrett wasn't pushed.
Hoping to end The Nexus, Cena challenged Wade Barrett to a match at Hell in a Cell with the stipulations that if he were to lose, he would join The Nexus. After Barrett defeated Cena, he joined The Nexus, and was forced by the Raw GM to follow their orders or be fired. Cena and fellow Nexus member David Otunga defeated Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre to win the Tag Team Championship at Bragging Rights. Later, he was forced to help Barrett defeat Orton in a championship match, giving Barrett the disqualification win. The next day, Cena and Otunga lost the Tag Team Championship to fellow Nexus members Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel, when Barrett ordered Otunga to lay down and lose the title. At Survivor Series, Cena officiated a match for the WWE Championship between Wade Barrett and Randy Orton. Per stipulation, if Barrett didn't
win the championship, Cena would be fired from the WWE.
Orton defeated Barrett to retain the title, thus terminating Cena's WWE contract. The following day on Raw, Cena gave a farewell speech, before costing Wade Barrett the WWE Championship by interfering in his rematch with Randy Orton. A week later, Cena invaded Raw, first as a spectator, but then attacked members of Nexus, explaining that he would still take down Nexus one by one, despite not having a job in the WWE anymore. On the December 13 episode of Raw, Cena was rehired by Barrett, in exchange that he would face him at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in a Chairs Match. Prior to TLC, Cena teamed up with Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio to defeat Wade Barrett, The Miz and Alberto Del Rio at The WWE Tribute to the Troops. On December 19 at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, John Cena was victorious against Wade Barrett in a Chairs match in the main event of the evening.
On the December 27 episode of Raw, The Nexus, minus Wade Barrett, announced they were under new management and offered to bury the hatchet with John Cena, to which Cena refused. The Nexus attacked Cena, leaving a Nexus armband in the ring during the process. As the group retreated, CM Punk, who had attacked Cena with a steel chair twice the week before, came to the ring to, what looked like attack John Cena, but instead put on the armband left behind to symbolically announce his allegiance with The Nexus. The next week, Wade Barrett returned to Raw and confronted CM Punk over the issue of who the leader of The Nexus was and who was responsible for Cena's attack the week before. Barrett was placed into a Triple Threat steel cage match that night to determine the number one contender for the WWE Championship. CM Punk added his own stipulation to the match saying if Barrett lost, he would be banished from the group, but if he won he would remain leader. Barrett lost the match after CM Punk interfered and ripped off Barrett's armband.
On the January 17 episode of Raw, Cena returned and faced Punk in a match. During the match, a man, who was later revealed as Mason Ryan, attacked Cena. During the 2011 Royal Rumble match, Cena eliminated most of The Nexus, ending his feud with them.
Record-breaking WWE Champion (2011-2013)
Cena competed in the 2011 Royal Rumble match at the pay-per-view, making it to the final five before being eliminated by The Miz, the current WWE Champion at the time, who wasn't an official participant in the match. At the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, Cena won the chamber match to face The Miz at WrestleMania XXVII for the WWE Championship. On the February 21 episode of Raw, Cena replied to The Rock's comments about him from the previous week in rap form, as The Rock returned as the announced guest host of WrestleMania. That night, Cena was placed into a WWE Tag Team Championship match, with him teaming with The Miz, where they defeated Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater to become WWE Tag Team Champions. After the match, Wade Barrett invoked Gabriel and Slater's rematch clause straight away, where they won their titles back after The Miz attacked Cena. Cena and The Rock continued to feud, on-air and through social networks. After weeks of insults, they finally met face-to-face. Cena denied The Rock's claim to truly "love" the WWE, claiming that he used WWE only to jumpstart his acting career, a claim which Johnson angrily refuted. After a brief attack by The Miz and Alex Riley, Cena hit The Rock with the Attitude Adjustment. At WrestleMania, Cena and Miz fought to a double countout. The Rock restarted the match and hit Cena with a Rock Bottom, allowing The Miz to retain. The next night on Raw, Cena, in response to The Rock "screwing" him out of the title, agreed to face him in the main event of WrestleMania XXVIII, making it the first match to be set up for WrestleMania one year in advance. At Extreme Rules, Cena defeated The Miz and John Morrison to become WWE Champion. Cena went on to successfully defend the title against The Miz at Over the Limit in an "I Quit" match and R-Truth at Capitol Punishment.
Cena then began a feud with CM Punk, who was leaving the company at Money in the Bank. Punk was enraged at Cena and The Rock, calling them "phonies", already booked to headline the next WrestleMania, and demanded change. At Money in the Bank, CM Punk defeated Cena to win the WWE Championship, and left the company with the title. After Rey Mysterio was crowned WWE Champion, Cena challenged and defeated him later that night to become WWE Champion for a record-breaking ninth time, only to be interrupted by CM Punk, who also claimed to be champion. Punk again defeated Cena at SummerSlam in a title unification match. After Alberto Del Rio became WWE Champion by cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase, Cena became number one contender and beat Del Rio at Night of Champions to become WWE Champion for the tenth time. He lost it back to Del Rio at Hell in a Cell, in a Triple Threat Hell in a Cell match also involving CM Punk. Cena lost his rematch to Alberto Del Rio at Vengeance in a Last Man Standing match, due to interference by The Miz and R-Truth. After a few weeks of Miz and Truth attacking Cena and other employees, Cena was allowed to choose his partner to challenge Miz and Truth at Survivor Series. Cena chose The Rock as his partner. Leading up to Survivor Series, Cena and The Rock continued to verbally assault each other, reiterating their points for their WrestleMania match, while attacking the "Awesome Truth". At the pay-per-view, after Cena and Rock defeated Miz and Truth, Rock gave Cena another Rock Bottom.
On the December 12 Raw, during his match with Mark Henry, Cena was attacked by the returning Kane. Cena then began a feud with Kane, who continually attacked him, crediting his disgust for Cena's "Rise Above Hate" slogan and that Cena would need to embrance the hate in order to defeat The Rock at Wrestlemania. Cena fought Kane to a draw at the Royal Rumble, and then defeated him in an Ambulance match at Elimination Chamber.
After Elimination Chamber, Cena and The Rock verbally attacked each other. At WrestleMania XXVIII, Cena faced The Rock in the main event match which had been building for a year and was billed as "once in a lifetime". Cena claimed the match was the most important of his life and that winning was a necessity, since nobody remembers second place. The match ended when Cena attempted the People's Elbow on The Rock, and The Rock countered with a Rock Bottom for the pin.
The following night on Raw, Cena addressed The Rock, admitting defeat and accepting the loss at WrestleMania; Cena then called The Rock the greatest WWE wrestler ever and invited The Rock to the ring so that he could congratulate him. However, Cena's call was answered instead by the returning Brock Lesnar, who then attacked Cena with an F-5. This resulted in Cena feuding with the Raw General Manager John Laurinaitis, who revealed that he signed Lesnar to bring "legitimacy" to WWE and for Lesnar to become its "new face". On April 29 at Extreme Rules, Cena defeated Lesnar in an Extreme Rules match. The next night on Raw, Cena was confronted and then attacked by Laurinaitis, who declared himself Cena's opponent at Over the Limit. Cena lost to Laurinaitis after Big Show interfered. Laurinaitis added that Cena would face Show at No Way Out and, dependent on the winner, either Cena or Laurinaitis would be fired. Cena won the match, then hit the Attitude Adjustment on Laurinaitis through the announce table. Vince McMahon then fired Laurinaitis.
At Money in the Bank, Cena won his first Money in the Bank ladder match over Big Show, Chris Jericho, Kane and The Miz, earning a contract for a shot at the WWE Championship anytime within a year. At Raw 1000, Cena cashed in his contract on CM Punk, and won the match by disqualification after Big Show interfered, becoming the first person to cash in a Money in the Bank contract and not win a title. Show continued to attack Cena until The Rock arrived to make the save. The following week on Raw, a WWE Championship number one contenders match between Cena and Show ended in a no contest due to interference from Punk. Following this, both men were entered in the championship match at SummerSlam by Raw General Manager AJ Lee. At the event, Cena was unsuccessful as Punk would go on to retain the title once more. Over the next few weeks, Cena continued feuding with Punk by refusing to call him "best in the world" and fighting him to a draw at Night of Champions on September 16. On September 20, Cena was sidelined with a legitimate arm injury, rendering him inactive. Because of his injury, Cena was replaced by Ryback in a Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell. On the November 5 Raw, Cena and Ryback were announced as part of a Triple Threat match for Punk's WWE Championship at Survivor Series, while also starting a feud with Dolph Ziggler over an alleged relationship with AJ Lee. At the pay-per-view on November 19, Punk pinned Cena in the match to retain the championship. Cena continued to feud with Ziggler and on December 16, at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, lost to him in a ladder match for his World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank contract, after AJ turned on Cena. The following night on Raw, Cena teamed with Vickie Guerrero to face Ziggler and AJ in a mixed tag team match, however, the match ended in a disqualification after Cena was attacked by the debuting Big E Langston. Cena then defeated Ziggler on the January 7, 2013 episode of Raw in a singles match, and again in a steel cage match the following week, despite interference from AJ and Langston in both matches.
On January 27, Cena entered the Royal Rumble match at #19 and won after last eliminating Ryback, becoming the fourth wrestler (after Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin) to win multiple Rumble matches. The following night on Raw, Cena announced that he would pursue the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 29, after which, he would be assaulted by The Shield. The following week on Raw, Cena would gain vengeance on the Shield when he, along with Ryback and Sheamus, attacked the stable. This culminated in a six-man tag team match on February 17 at Elimination Chamber, where the Shield emerged victorious. On the February 25 Raw, Cena defeated CM Punk to reaffirm his status as number one contender for the Rock's WWE Championship. Cena then returned to his rivalry with The Rock, with Cena blaming his personal and professional troubles on his loss to the Rock the previous year, going so far as admitting his own vanity had cost him the match. On April 7 at WrestleMania 29, Cena defeated Rock in their rematch to win his eleventh WWE Championship.
The following night on Raw, Cena began a rivalry with Ryback, after he saved Cena from a post-match assault from Mark Henry only to attack Cena himself. During his feud with Ryback, Cena suffered a legitimate achilles tendon injury, while also battling the Shield and facing them in losing efforts. On May 19 at Extreme Rules, Cena retained the WWE Championship against Ryback in a Last Man Standing Match after Ryback rammed Cena and himself into the electric backdrop at the top of the ramp, resulting in a no contest. On June 16 at WWE Payback, Cena defeated Ryback in a 3 Stages of Hell match to retain the WWE Championship, with Cena losing the Lumberjack match and winning the Tables match and the Ambulance match. The following night on Raw, Cena was attacked by the returning Mark Henry, who feigned his "retirement", with World's Strongest Slam, sparking a rivalry between the two. On July 15 at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, Cena defeated Henry via submission to retain the WWE Championship. The next night on Raw, new Raw general manager Brad Maddox announced that he would allow Cena to choose his own opponent for SummerSlam. Later in the night, after taking an informal poll of the live audience, he chose Daniel Bryan. On August 18 at the pay-per-view, Cena lost the WWE Championship to Bryan, with Triple H as the special guest referee, ending his reign at 133 days. The following night on Raw, Cena announced that he would undergo surgery for a triceps tear and would be out for four to six months. Later, Cena would return in two months and become the new world heavyweight champion.
Feud with Randy Orton (2013-Present)
On the October 7 episode of Raw, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero announced that Cena would be returning at Hell in a Cell, to face Alberto Del Rio for his World Heavyweight Championship. Cena went on to defeat Del Rio at the pay-per-view on October 27, to win his third World Heavyweight title. The following night on Raw, Cena defeated Damien Sandow in his first title defense after Sandow attacked Cena before the match and cashed in his Money in the Bank contract. Cena successfully defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Del Rio at Survivor Series.
On the November 25 edition of Raw, John Cena suggested that there only be "one champion" in WWE, so Triple H stated there would be a unification match between him and Randy Orton at the TLC pay-per-view. Cena went on to lose the match to Orton, losing the World Heavyweight Championship in the process. Stephanie McMahon announced a rematch, in which Orton will defend the WWE World Heavyweight title against Cena at the Royal Rumble.Cena next challenged then-WWE Champion Randy Orton to unify their respective championships, with The Authority agreeing and arranging for a Tables, Ladders and Chairs title unification match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs which Cena lost. A rematch occurred at the Royal Rumble for the now unified WWE World Heavyweight Championship, where Cena lost after being distracted by The Wyatt Family. The Wyatts continued to interfere in Cena's matches, and at Elimination Chamber, caused Cena's elimination in the Elimination Chamber match.
I know how John Cena feuds tend to work. He loses one match, then wins the next two or three. Look at Rusev and Bray Wyatt as examples. These feuds don't really help talent. They're established... as definitively below Cena. This is a running theme in WWE booking. [Kevin] Owens is... worse off than he would have been if he had never had the second and third matches with Cena.
After Elimination Chamber, Bray Wyatt accepted Cena's challenge for a WrestleMania XXX match. Wyatt wanted to prove that Cena's heroic act was a facade characteristic of "this era of lies" and to turn Cena into a "monster". At WrestleMania, Cena overcame interference from Luke Harper and Erick Rowan to defeat Wyatt. The feud continued after WrestleMania based on the story that Wyatt was capturing Cena's fanbase This was exemplified by Wyatt leading a children's choir to the ring on the April 28 episode of Raw, where later donned sheep masks. At Extreme Rules, Wyatt defeated Cena in a steel cage match, after repeated interference from the rest of the Wyatt Family members and a demonic child. Cena's feud with Wyatt continued with a Last Man Standing match being set up for Payback, where Cena buried Wyatt under multiple equipment cases to win the match.
On the June 16 episode of Raw, Cena defeated Kane in a stretcher match to qualify for the ladder match for the vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank. There Cena won his 15th world championship. He retained the title at Battleground in a fatal four-way match against Roman Reigns, Randy Orton and Kane. At SummerSlam, Cena lost the championship to Brock Lesnar in a squash match, during which Lesnar hit Cena with sixteen suplexes and two F-5s, ending his reign at 49 days. Cena invoked his title rematch clause against Lesnar for Night of Champions, nearly winning before Seth Rollins attacked him to cause a disqualification. Despite this, he became the first wrestler to defeat Lesnar in two WWE pay-per-view events. Cena then began feuding with Dean Ambrose for the right to face Rollins at Hell in a Cell, but Ambrose won the right by defeating Cena in a No Holds Barred Contract on a Pole match. Cena faced Randy Orton instead in a Hell in a Cell match to determine the #1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which Cena won.
Cena became a record 13-time WWE Champion in 2014.
On the October 27 episode of Raw, Cena rejected The Authority's offer to join forces, which resulted in a 5-on-5 Survivor Series elimination tag match between Team Cena and Team Authority at Survivor Series. Cena's team consisted of Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Erick Rowan and Ryback. At Survivor Series, Big Show turned on Cena, resulting in his elimination, but Ziggler eventually won the match for Team Cena with the interfering Sting's help. Thus, as per the match stipulation, The Authority were stripped from power and only Cena could bring them back. At TLC: Tables, Ladders, Chairs & Stairs, Cena defeated Rollins in a tables match to retain his WWE World Heavyweight Championship No. 1 contender status. It was then announced that Cena would face Lesnar for the title at the Royal Rumble. On the December 29 episode of Raw, Rollins and Big Show held guest host Edge hostage, forcing Cena to reinstate The Authority.
On the January 5 episode of Raw, The Authority added Rollins to the title match at the Royal Rumble involving Cena and Lesnar. Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan were "fired" for joining Team Cena at Survivor Series. On the January 19 episode of Raw, Cena won a handicap match against Rollins, Big Show and Kane to retain his title shot at the Royal Rumble and win back the jobs of Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan. At the Royal Rumble, Cena was unsuccessful in capturing the title.
United States Championship reigns (2015–2016)
Cena after defeating Rusev for the United States Championship at WrestleMania 31 Following the Royal Rumble, Cena began feuding with then United States Champion Rusev and at Fastlane Rusev defeated him to retain his title after Cena passed out from his submission, the Accolade. Rusev had hit Cena with a low blow following a distraction by his manager Lana. In the following weeks, Cena challenged Rusev to a rematch, which was declined, and Stephanie McMahon decreed that Cena would not compete at WrestleMania 31 unless Rusev agreed to a rematch. On the March 9 episode of Raw, Cena attacked Rusev, refusing to release the STF submission hold, causing Lana to grant Cena the match. Cena defeated Rusev at WrestleMania to win the United States Championship for the fourth time. This marked Rusev's first pinfall loss in the main roster. The following night on Raw, Cena announced that he would issue an open challenge each week on the program with his United States Championship on the line. He successfully defended the title against the likes of Dean Ambrose, Stardust, Bad News Barrett, Kane, Sami Zayn, Neville, Zack Ryder and Cesaro. Cena also concluded his feud with Rusev and retained his title in a Russian Chain match at Extreme Rules and an "I Quit" match at Payback. The following night on Raw, Cena was attacked by then-NXT Champion Kevin Owens, setting up a Champion vs. Champion match at Elimination Chamber, where Owens defeated Cena. Cena defeated Owens in a rematch at Money in the Bank. Cena defeated Owens again at Battleground to retain the United States Championship and end the feud. Cena then resumed his feud with then WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, with Rollins refusing Cena's challenges for the title. On the July 27 episode of Raw, The Authority forced Cena to defend the United States Championship against Rollins. Cena defeated Rollins despite suffering a legitimate broken nose during the match. Cena then faced Rollins in a "Winner Takes All" match at SummerSlam, for both the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the United States Championship, which Cena lost after guest host Jon Stewart, appearing to side with Cena, instead attacked him with a steel chair, ending Cena's reign at 147 days.
Cena defeated Rollins to win the title for the fifth time at Night of Champions, a record in the WWE ownership era of the title. Cena then retained his title against Rollins the following night on Raw and then in a steel cage match at WWE Live from Madison Square Garden, while also restarting his open challenges and successfully defending the title against New Day members Xavier Woods, Big E and Dolph Ziggler. At Hell in a Cell, Cena lost the title to the returning Alberto Del Rio in an open challenge. After a hiatus, Cena returned on the December 28 episode of Raw, defeating Del Rio by disqualification in a rematch for the title. On the January 7 episode of SmackDown, Cena aided Kalisto at ringside to victory against Del Rio. That same day, he underwent surgery on a shoulder injury, which would keep him out of action for an undisclosed length of time.
Feud with AJ Styles (2016–2017)
Cena returned at WrestleMania 32, helping The Rock fend off The Wyatt Family. Cena then made his full return on the Memorial Day edition of Raw on May 30, four months earlier than had been expected for his type of injury. He was confronted by AJ Styles, only to be betrayed by Styles, who joined his former Club teammates Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in attacking Cena. This set up a match between Cena and Styles at Money in the Bank, which Styles won with interference from Gallows and Anderson. On the July 4 episode of Raw, Cena was again attacked by the club, but was saved by Enzo Amore and Big Cass. Subsequently, a six-man tag team match was fought between the two teams for Battleground. On the July 19 episode of SmackDown at the 2016 WWE draft, Cena was drafted to the SmackDown brand, while also defeating Club member Luke Gallows using a pinfall in a singles contest. Cena, Amore and Cass defeated The Club at Battleground after Cena pinned Styles. Cena continued his feud with Styles, which resulted in him losing their match at SummerSlam on August 21, 2016. With Styles later winning the renamed WWE World Championship, Cena challenged him and Dean Ambrose in a triple threat match for the title at No Mercy. He lost the match after being pinned by Styles, which came after Ambrose and Cena simultaneously made Styles submit, therefore restarting the match. Cena took a sabbatical from WWE to film American Grit season 2.
On January 29, 2017, Cena defeated Styles at the Royal Rumble to win the WWE Championship and tie Ric Flair for the most recognized world title reigns at 16. However, Cena would lose the championship two weeks later in an Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber to Bray Wyatt. Two nights later on SmackDown, Cena lost a triple threat match against Wyatt for the championship in a match also featuring Styles. Cena then began a feud with The Miz, with Miz accusing Cena of being a hypocrite because of his movie commitments, while Cena accused Miz of stealing other wrestlers' moves and personalities. Miz's wife Maryse then slapped Cena before Cena and his girlfriend Nikki Bella sent Miz and Maryse retreating. SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan then set up a mixed tag team match between the two pairs for WrestleMania 33, which Cena and Bella won. Cena proposed marriage to Bella after the match and she accepted. After WrestleMania, Cena then went on another hiatus.
Free agent (2017–2018)
Cena in March 2018 In July 2017, WWE dubbed Cena a "free agent" during the Superstar Shake-up, meaning he could work for both the Raw and SmackDown brands. Following his return, Cena feuded and defeated Rusev in a flag match at Battleground, Baron Corbin at SummerSlam, and was defeated by Roman Reigns at No Mercy. During his feud with Reigns, the two cut various worked shoot promos on each other, going back and forth about what they perceive the other to be and why the crowds react the way they do. Despite sparking rumors of his retirement after the match by endorsing Reigns, taking a bow, thanking the crowd, and waving goodbye to them before leaving, Cena returned to SmackDown the next month after Commissioner Shane McMahon named him the final member of Team SmackDown for the men's 5-on-5 elimination match against Team Raw at Survivor Series; at the event, Cena was eliminated by Kurt Angle and Team SmackDown was later defeated.
From January until April 2018, Cena was involved in a storyline where he was trying to find his "path to WrestleMania". After he lost the Royal Rumble and the Elimination Chamber match to determine the next number one contender for the Universal Championship at Elimination Chamber, as well as a six-pack challenge at Fastlane for the WWE Championship, Cena issued a challenge to The Undertaker for a match at WrestleMania 34. He reiterated his challenge over the next several weeks, only to receive no answer from Undertaker. At WrestleMania, after Cena drove off Elias in a confrontation, Undertaker made an impromptu return and accepted Cena's challenge, leading to a shocked Cena losing to Undertaker in just two minutes. Three weeks later, at the Greatest Royal Rumble, Cena defeated Triple H. After the match, he thanked the crowd for sticking by him during a tough period, referencing his loss to Undertaker at WrestleMania and his recent breakup with Nikki Bella. He then went on hiatus to focus on his acting and television career. Cena returned in October, competing in a tag team match with Bobby Lashley against Elias and Kevin Owens at Super Show-Down in Melbourne, Australia, which he and Lashley won. During the event, he revealed a controversial new hairstyle, which led to several reactions from fans on the internet. He later said he grew his hair out for a movie he was filming in Yinchuan, China. He was also scheduled for a match at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia, but Cena refused to work the event following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. On November 29, it was announced Cena had been awarded the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award Winner by Sports Illustrated.
Sporadic appearances (2019–present)
Cena returned to WWE television on the January 1 episode of SmackDown. He put out an open challenge to any man in the locker room, but Becky Lynch (who had begun referring to herself as "The Man" earlier) answered the call. This led to Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega interrupting the pair with a mixed tag team bout set up, which Cena and Lynch won. After the match, Cena endorsed Lynch. On the January 14 episode of Raw, Cena competed against Finn Bálor and Drew McIntyre in a triple threat match to determine the number one contender for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble, but Bálor won. Cena was scheduled to compete in the Royal Rumble match at the event, but was taken out due to an in-storyline ankle injury supposedly suffered during the earlier triple threat match. He appeared at WrestleMania 35 in his "Doctor of Thuganomics" persona and interrupted Elias' concert, performing his finisher on Elias (calling it by its original name of the F-U) after insulting him. Cena returned on the July 22 special edition of Raw titled Raw Reunion, where he engaged in a rap battle with The Usos.
Following a seven-month long hiatus, Cena returned to WWE during the February 28, 2020 episode of SmackDown. He seemingly announced his retirement before he was confronted by "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt, who challenged him to a match at WrestleMania 36—a sequel to their WrestleMania XXX match in 2014—which Cena accepted. At the event, rather than a traditional wrestling match, the two squared off in a surreal trip through history as moments from Cena's and Wyatt's history were played out including Cena's debut against Kurt Angle, a moment featuring the Doctor of Thuganomics, and the pair's match at WrestleMania XXX. Wyatt ultimately defeated Cena at WrestleMania. Following Wyatt's victory, Cena's motionless body vanished from the middle of the ring.Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cena was unable to appear at WrestleMania 37, marking the first time he missed a WrestleMania in nearly 20 years, as he had wrestled or at least appeared at the event every year since his first appearance at WrestleMania XIX in 2003. At the time, Cena was in Canada filming the HBO Max series Peacemaker, and the pandemic made it logistically impossible for him to travel to Tampa, Florida for WrestleMania 37, as upon his return to Canada, he would have had to quarantine for two weeks, which would have shut down production on the series. In this time, Cena did, however, appear in a WWE advertisement to help announce the location of WrestleMania 38. After 15 months, Cena finally made his return to WWE programming at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view on July 18, 2021, confronting Roman Reigns after the latter had retained his Universal Championship in the main event. Cena had a brief stare down with Reigns before giving his "You Can't See Me" gesture at Reigns to end the show. On the following night's Raw, Cena claimed Reigns, who had since become a heel, brought him back to WWE. He said he would put Reigns in his place and challenged him for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam and said he would see him on SmackDown. Following this, WWE announced the Summer of Cena tour, confirming Cena had signed a 25-appearance deal. On SmackDown, Reigns turned down Cena's challenge. Cena then competed in a dark match after SmackDown went off the air, teaming with Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio to defeat The Bloodline (Roman Reigns and The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso)), in which Reigns walked out of the match. Reigns had instead accepted a challenge from Finn Bálor for the title, however, during the contract signing the following week, an altercation occurred that ultimately led to Cena signing the contract, thus confirming that Cena would challenge Reigns for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. At the SummerSlam main event, Reigns defeated Cena after a back-and-forth contest; after the event went off-air, a returning Brock Lesnar delivered multiple German suplexes and an F-5 to Cena.
- AA – Attitude Adjustment / FU (Standing fireman's carry transitioned into a kneeling takeover, sometimes from an elevated position) – 2003–present
- Killswitch / Protobomb / Protoplex (Spin-out powerbomb) (OVW / UPW)
- STF / STFU (Stepover toehold facelock or a sleeper hold lock) – 2005–present
- Diving crossbody
- Diving leg drop bulldog
- Dropkick, sometimes from the top rope
- Elbow drop
- Emerald Flowsion
- Five Knuckle Shuffle (Running delayed fist drop, with "U ₡ ME" theatrics, sometimes diving from the top rope)
- Half nelson dropped into a neckbreaker
- Monkey flip
- Multiple suplex variations
- Side belly-to-belly
- Vertical, sometimes while delaying
- Running leaping shoulder block
- Running one–handed bulldog
- Sitout hip toss
- Sitout powerbomb
- Spinebuster – 2002–2005; used rarely thereafter
- Spin-out powerbomb
- Throwback (Running neck snap to a bent–over opponent) – 2002–2011
- "The Cenation Leader"
- "The Champ" (as champion)
- "The Chain Gang Soldier"
- "The Doctor of Thuganomics"
- "Mr. Money in the Bank"
- Kenny Bolin
- Redd Dogg
- Mr. McMahon
- "Slam Smack" by R. Hardy (FirstCom Production Music) (June 27, 2002 – November 7, 2002)
- "Insert Bass Here" by DJ Case (FirstCom Production Music) (November 14, 2002 – February 13, 2003)
- "Basic Thuganomics" by John Cena (March 27, 2003 – March 10, 2005; April 5, 2009 for his entrance at WrestleMania XXV; March 12, 2012 for his "Cena rap" against The Rock)
- "We Are One" by 12 Stones (October 3, 2010 – November 21, 2010; used while a part of Nexus)
- "The Time is Now" by John Cena and Tha Trademarc (March 17, 2005–present)
Championships and Accomplishments
Ohio Valley Wrestling
- OVW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- OVW Southern Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Rico Constantino
Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI Feud of the Year (2006) vs. Edge
- PWI Feud of the Year (2011) vs. CM Punk
- PWI Match of the Year (2007) vs. Shawn Michaels on Raw on April 23
- PWI Match of the Year (2011) vs. CM Punk at Money in the Bank
- PWI Most Improved Wrestler of the Year (2003)
- PWI Most Popular Wrestler of the Year (2004, 2005, 2007, 2012)
- PWI Wrestler of the Year (2006, 2007)
- PWI ranked #1 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2006, 2007 and 2013
Ultimate Pro Wrestling
- UPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
World Wrestling Entertainment(WWE)
- WWE Championship (11 times)
- World Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
- WWE United States Championship (3 times)
- WWE Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with The Miz (1) and David Otunga (1)
- World Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Batista (1) and Shawn Michaels (1)
- Money in the Bank (2012 - WWE Championship contract)
- Royal Rumble (2008, 2013)
- Slammy Award for Superstar of the Year – 2009, 2010 and 20121
- Slammy Award for Holy $#!+ Move of the Year (2010) Sends Batista through the stage with an Attitude Adjustment.
- Slammy Award for Game Changer of the Year (2011) – with The Rock
- Slammy Award for Insult of the Year (2012) - To Dolph Ziggler & Vickie Guerrero: "You're the exact opposite. One enjoys eating a lot of nuts and the other is still trying to find his."
- Slammy Award for Kiss of the Year (2012) – with AJ Lee
- Slammy Award for Match of the Year (2013) - vs. The Rock for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 29
Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- 5 Star Match (2011) vs. CM Punk at Money in the Bank on July 17
- Wrestler of the Year (2007, 2010)
- Best Box Office Draw (2007)
- Best Gimmick (2003)
- Best on Interviews (2007)
- Feud of the Year (2011) vs. CM Punk
- Match of the Year (2011) vs. CM Punk at Money in the Bank on July 17
- Most Charismatic (2006–2010)
- Most Charismatic of the Decade (2000–2009)
- Worst Feud of the Year (2012) vs. Kane
- Worst Worked Match of the Year (2012) vs. John Laurinaitis at Over the Limit on May 20
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 2012)
1 ^ Cena did not accept the 2012 award, opting to award it to presenter Ric Flair instead.
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