John Cena

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John Cena
John Cena 2012.jpg
Cena in December 2012.
Birth name John Felix Anthony Cena
Ring name(s) John Cena1
Juan Cena2
Mr. P
The Prototype3
Billed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)4
Billed weight 251 lb (114 kg)4
Born (1977-04-23) April 23, 1977 (age 37)
West Newbury, Massachusetts
Resides Tampa, Florida5
Billed from "Classified" (UPW)6
West Newbury, Massachusetts (WWE)4
"West Newbarnia, Mexico" (as Juan Cena)7
Trained by Ultimate Pro Wrestling6
Ohio Valley Wrestling2
Debut November 5, 19998

John Felix Anthony Cena1 (/ˈsnə/; born April 23, 1977) is an American professional wrestler, bodybuilder, rapper, and actor signed to WWE where he is the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion in his twelfth reign. He has been described as "the face of the WWE for a long time" and one of the most polarising and divisive figures in WWE (or even professional wrestling) history, despite playing a heroic character for the majority of his career.91011

Cena started his professional wrestling career in 1999 with Ultimate Pro Wrestling, where he held the UPW Heavyweight Championship.12 Cena signed a developmental contract with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, later renamed to WWE) in 2001, debuting on the main roster in 2002. As of June 2014, Cena has had 22 championships reigns and is a 15-time world champion, consisting of a record 12 reigns as WWE Champion/WWE World Heavyweight Champion13 and three reigns as World Heavyweight Champion. He has the fourth-highest number of combined days as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, behind Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan, and Bruno Sammartino. He has also headlined WWE's flagship event, WrestleMania on five occasions (WrestleManias 22, 23, XXVII, XXVIII, and 29) over the course of his career.

Outside of wrestling, Cena has released the rap album You Can't See Me, which débuted at No.15 on the US Billboard 200 chart, and starred in the feature films The Marine (2006), 12 Rounds (2009), and Legendary (2010).14 Cena has also made appearances on television shows including Manhunt, Deal or No Deal, MADtv, Saturday Night Live, Punk'd, and Psych. Cena was also a contestant on Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, where he made it to the final round before being eliminated, placing third in the overall competition.

Early life

Cena was born on April 23, 1977 in West Newbury, Massachusetts,15 the son of Carol (née Lupien) and John Cena, Sr.16 He is the second oldest of five brothers: Dan, Matt, Steve, and Sean.17 His maternal grandfather was baseball player Tony Lupien.18 His father is of Italian descent, while his mother has French Canadian and English ancestry.19 After graduating from Cushing Academy, Cena attended Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts.20 In college he was a Division III All-American center on the college football team,21 wearing the number 54,20 which is still used on some of his WWE merchandise.2223 He graduated from Springfield in 1998 with a degree in exercise physiology,24 after which he pursued a career in bodybuilding2526 and worked as a driver for a limousine company.27

Professional wrestling career

Ultimate Pro Wrestling (1999–2001)

Cena started training to become a professional wrestler in 1999 at Ultimate Pro Wrestling's California-based "Ultimate University" operated by Rick Bassman. Once he was placed into an in-ring role, Cena began using a semi-robotic character known as "The Prototype".328 Some of this period of his career was documented in the Discovery Channel program Inside Pro Wrestling School.29 On October 10, 2000, while billed as The Prototype, Cena made his debut on a SmackDown taping in a dark match against Mikey Richardson, where he was defeated.30 He received another tryout on January 9, 2001 at a SmackDown taping in Oakland, California, this team defeating Aaron Aguilera. Cena wrestled again in a dark match at SmackDown tapings on March 13. While in UPW, Cena held the UPW Heavyweight title for just shy of a month in April 2000.31

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment/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).32 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.333435

Debut (2002–2004)

Cena made his television debut answering an open challenge by Kurt Angle on June 27, 2002.36 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,37 but ultimately lost to a hard amateur wrestling-style pin.37 Following the near-win, Cena became a fan favorite and started feuding with Chris Jericho, defeating Jericho at Vengeance.36 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.38 The next week, Cena turned on and attacked Kidman, blaming him for their loss, becoming a villain.36

Shortly after the Kidman attack, on a Halloween themed episode of SmackDown, Cena dressed as Vanilla Ice performing a freestyle rap.36 The next week, Cena received a new character: a rapper who cut promos while rhyming.36 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".39 Moreover, he was joined by an enforcer, Bull Buchanan, who was rechristened B-2 (also written B² and pronounced "B-Squared").36 Buchanan was later replaced by Red Dogg,36 until he was sent to the Raw brand in February. It is also around this time that Cena would wrestle a then 22-year-old enhancement talent named Bryan Danielson. Cena won the match cleanly on the February 8 edition of Velocity. Danielson would later become known as Daniel Bryan and cleanly win the WWE Championship from Cena at SummerSlam more than 10 years later.

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.404142 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.43 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.3644 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.4546

United States Champion and WWE Champion (2004–2005)

Cena, wearing his customized U.S. Championship belt

In early 2004, Cena participated in the Royal Rumble match at the 2004 Royal Rumble,47 making it to the final six before being eliminated by Big Show and the Match being won by Chris Benoit.48 The Royal Rumble elimination led to a feud with Big Show,4950 which Cena won the United States Championship from Big Show at WrestleMania XX.51 During his reign, Cena came into contention with SmackDown General Manager Kurt Angle over issues arising with René Duprée and Torrie Wilson.52 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.53 Cena won the championship back defeating Booker T in a best of five series that culminated at No Mercy,54 only to lose it to the débuting Carlito Caribbean Cool the next week.55 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.5657 This worked injury was used to keep Cena out of action for a month, while Cena was filming The Marine.34 Immediately on his return in November, Cena won the United States Championship back from Carlito débuting a "custom made" spinner-style championship belt.5859

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.60 The next month, Cena defeated Kurt Angle to earn a spot in the SmackDown brand's WrestleMania 21 main event match,61 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,62 who proceeded to "blow up" the spinner championship with JBL and returning a more traditional style belt.63 Cena defeated JBL at WrestleMania winning the WWE Championship, giving Cena his first world championship.64 Cena then had a spinner WWE Championship belt made,65 while JBL took the original belt and claimed to still be WWE Champion,65 until Cena reclaimed the original belt in an "I Quit" match at Judgment Day.66

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.67 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.68 With Bischoff vowing to make Cena's stint on Raw difficult, he hand picked Jericho to take Cena's championship from him.69 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.70 More crowds followed suit during Cena's next feud with Kurt Angle,71 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.72 As the feud continued and the dissenters grew more vocal, sometimes seeming to outnumber fans by wide margins,73 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.74 Despite the mixed and negative reactions, Cena held on to his championship through his feud with Angle, losing to him by disqualification75 – which titles do not change hands in WWE – at Unforgiven and pinning him at Survivor Series.76 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.77

WWE Championship feuds and injury (2006–2007)

Cena facing off against Edge at a WWE house show.

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.78 Three weeks later, Cena won the championship back at the Royal Rumble.78 After winning the championship, Cena began feuding with Triple H, which the crowd began booing Cena and cheering the intended villain, Triple H.7980 Cena beat Triple H at Wrestlemania 22 to retain his WWE Title.2 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.81

Cena, addressing fans at a Raw show

In July, Edge won the championship from Van Dam in a Triple Threat match that also involved Cena,82 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 disqualified83 (for which Championships do not change hands) and using brass knuckles81 – he introduced his own version of Cena's "custom" belt, this one with his logo placed on the spinner.84 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.8586 Cena returned his version of the spinner belt on the next night's Raw.87

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.88 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,88 Federline appeared at Cyber Sunday to hit Cena with the World Heavyweight Championship during the match, helping King Booker retain his championship.81 2006 ended with Cena beginning a feud with the undefeated Umaga over the WWE Championship,89 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.90

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.91 On the April 2 episode of Raw, after losing a WWE Championship match to Cena at WrestleMania 23,92 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.93 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 contenders94 before assaulting Cena himself and stealing the physical belt.95 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 Day9697 and then by pinfall at One Night Stand.9899 Later that summer, Randy Orton was named the number one contender for the WWE championship,100 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.101 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.102

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.103 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.104105 As a result, Cena was stripped of the title by Vince McMahon on the next night's episode of ECW,106 ending what was the longest WWE Championship reign in over 19 years.107 Cena's surgery was performed by orthopedic surgeon James Andrews at St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama.103 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.108 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 24.109

Return and world championship reigns (2008–2010)

Cena as one half of the World Tag Team Champions.

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.110 Instead of waiting until WrestleMania, the title shot was cashed in against WWE Champion Randy Orton at February's No Way Out pay-per-view111 in a match where Cena won by disqualification, resulting in him not getting the championship.112 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,113 during which he was pinned by Orton.114 At Backlash, Cena failed to regain the title in a Fatal Four-Way elimination match, in which he was pinned by Orton.115 Triple H won the title during that match. During the match, Cena eliminated JBL,115 renewing their feud from 2005. Cena defeated JBL at Judgment Day and then at One Night Stand in a First Blood match.116117 JBL, however, defeated him in a New York City Parking Lot Brawl at The Great American Bash in July.118

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,119 but failed to retain the titles the following week against the former champions.120 Batista defeated Cena at SummerSlam;121 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.122 Cena underwent successful surgery to repair the injury.123124

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.125 The two continued their rivalry up to Armageddon, where Cena retained his championship.126 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.127 Cena was given an opportunity to regain the title at WrestleMania XXV in a Triple Threat match also involving Big Show, which Cena won.128

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.129 This angle resulted in Cena beginning a feud with Big Show. Cena defeated Big Show at Judgment Day130 and at Extreme Rules in a Submission match by applying the STFU.131

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.132 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.133 At Hell in a Cell, Cena lost the title to Orton in a Hell in a Cell match.134 Three weeks later, at WWE Bragging Rights, Cena defeated Orton in a 60-minute Iron Man match.135 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.136

Cena as WWE Champion in 2010.

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.137 Cena defeated Batista at WrestleMania XXVI for the title,138139 and successfully defended it at Extreme Rules, in a Last Man Standing rematch.140 Cena faced Batista one more time, winning an I Quit match at Over the Limit.141

Feud with The Nexus (2010–2011)

See also: The Nexus

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.142 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.143 Cena again lost to Sheamus, in a steel cage match, at Money in the Bank, after The Nexus again interfered.144 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.145 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.146

Cena being forced to read a public address by Wade Barrett while a member of Nexus.

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,147 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.148 Later, he was forced to help Barrett defeat Orton in a championship match, giving Barrett the disqualification win.148 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.149 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.150 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.151 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.152 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.153 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, Cena was victorious against Wade Barrett in a Chairs match in the main event of the evening.

Cena at WWE Tribute to the Troops in 2010.

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 Cena, to which he 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 apparently attack Cena, but instead put on the armband left behind to symbolically announce his allegiance with The Nexus.154 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.155

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)

The Rock and Cena agree to face each other at WrestleMania XXVIII.

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.156

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.157 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.158 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.159 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.159 Cena went on to successfully defend the title against The Miz at Over the Limit in an "I Quit" match160 and R-Truth at Capitol Punishment.161

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.162163164 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,165 only to be interrupted by CM Punk, who also claimed to be champion. Punk again defeated Cena at SummerSlam in a title unification match.166 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.167 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.168 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.169 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.170

Cena and The Rock face off at WrestleMania XXVIII.

On the December 12 Raw, during his match with Mark Henry, Cena was attacked by the returning Kane.171 Cena then began a feud with Kane, who continually attacked him,172 crediting his disgust for Cena's "Rise Above Hate" slogan and that Cena would need to embrace the hate in order to defeat The Rock at Wrestlemania.173 Cena fought Kane to a draw at the Royal Rumble,174 and then defeated him in an Ambulance match at Elimination Chamber.175

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.176

Brock Lesnar faces off with Cena after his return in April 2012.

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-5.177178 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".179180181 On April 29 at Extreme Rules, Cena defeated Lesnar in an Extreme Rules match.182 The next night on Raw, Cena was confronted and then attacked by Laurinaitis, who declared himself Cena's opponent at Over the Limit.183 Cena lost to Laurinaitis after Big Show interfered.184 Laurinaitis added that Cena would face Show at No Way Out and, dependent on the winner, either Cena or Laurinaitis would be fired.185 Cena won the match, then hit the Attitude Adjustment on Laurinaitis through the announce table. Vince McMahon then fired Laurinaitis.186

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.187 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.188189 Show continued to attack Cena until The Rock arrived to make the save.190 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.191 At the event, Cena was unsuccessful as Punk would go on to retain the title once more.192 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 16.193 On September 20, Cena was sidelined with a legitimate arm injury, rendering him inactive.194 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.195 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.196 At the pay-per-view on November 19, Punk pinned Cena in the match to retain the championship.197 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.(2012 also marked the third year that Cena did not win a single title. The first two were his debut and 2003)198 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 débuting Big E Langston.199 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.200201

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.202 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.203 The following week on Raw, Cena would gain vengeance on the Shield when he, along with Ryback and Sheamus, attacked the stable.204 This culminated in a six-man tag team match on February 17 at Elimination Chamber, where the Shield emerged victorious.205 On the February 25 Raw, Cena defeated CM Punk to reaffirm his status as number one contender for the Rock's WWE Championship.206 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.207208 On April 7 at WrestleMania 29, Cena defeated Rock in their rematch to win his eleventh WWE Championship.209 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.210211 During his feud with Ryback, Cena suffered a legitimate achilles tendon injury,212 while also battling the Shield and facing them in losing efforts.213214215 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.216 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.217 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.218 On July 15 at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, Cena defeated Henry via submission to retain the WWE Championship.219 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.220 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.221 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.222

WWE World Heavyweight Champion (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.223 Cena went on to defeat Del Rio at the pay-per-view on October 27, to win his third World Heavyweight title.224 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.225 Cena successfully defended the World Heavyweight Championship against Del Rio at Survivor Series.226

On the November 25 edition of Raw, 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.227 Stephanie McMahon announced a rematch, in which Orton would defend the WWE World Heavyweight title against Cena at the Royal Rumble. Orton defeated Cena at the Rumble following a distraction by The Wyatt Family. Cena was then attacked after the match by the Wyatts.228 The following night on Raw, Cena teamed up with Sheamus and Bryan to defeat The Shield via disqualification by the Wyatt Family and was qualified to compete in an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Elimination Chamber 2014.229230 The next night on Raw, The Wyatts interfered in the main event (John Cena, Daniel Bryan and Sheamus vs. The Shield) attacking Cena again therefore giving the win to the latter's team by DQ. At Elimination Chamber, the Wyatts cost Cena the match once again which led to Orton pinning him for elimination.

After Elimination Chamber, Wyatt accepted Cena's challenge for a WrestleMania match,231 Wyatt wanted to prove that Cena's heroic act was a facade characteristic of "this era of lies" while further wanting to turn Cena into a "monster".232233 At WrestleMania XXX, Cena successfully resisted the urge to become a "monster" and overcame interference from Harper and Rowan to defeat Wyatt.234 The feud continued after WrestleMania based on the story that Wyatt was capturing Cena's fanbase, which was exemplified by Wyatt leading a children's choir to the ring on the April 28 episode of Raw, with the children later putting on sheep masks.235 At Extreme Rules, Wyatt defeated Cena in a steel cage match, after repeated interference from the rest of the Wyatt Family and a demonic child.236 Cena's feud with Wyatt continued with a Last Man Standing match being set up for Payback. At the pay-per-view, Cena buried Wyatt under multiple equipment cases to win the match.237

The next night on Raw, Cena faced Kane after interrupting Stephanie McMahon, who was criticizing Daniel Bryan's decision not to vacate the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Payback pay-per-view. McMahon revealed an ultimatum for the champion; be fit for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view or the title will be held for the first time in Money in the Bank ladder match. Cena went on to call McMahon a spoiled, jealous, ego maniac. Stephanie, in return, set Cena up against Kane. Cena won via disqualification, and was subject to being thrown into the steel steps. Cena retaliated, and threw the steps at Kane. The following week, after remaining Shield members Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns addressed Seth Rollins, they were attacked by The Wyatt Family. Cena came to their aid and was added in The Shield's six man tag team match against the Wyatts, which resulted in The Shield and Cena winning.

On the June 16 edition of Raw, Cena was forbidden by The Authority to participate in a battle royal for a spot in the Money in the Bank ladder for the vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but he would instead earn a spot another way: facing Kane in the originally proposed stretcher match Daniel Bryan was supposed to fight, which Cena won and earned his spot for the main event at Money in the Bank. At the pay-per-view, Cena captured his 15th world championship by winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the 12th time.238

Other media

Film

Cena, with members of the United States Marine Corps, at the premiere of his film The Marine.

WWE Studios, a division of WWE which produces and finances motion pictures, produced Cena's first movie — The Marine, which was distributed theatrically by 20th Century Fox America beginning on October 13, 2006. In its first week, the film made approximately US$7 million at the United States box office.239 After ten weeks in theaters, the film grossed $18.7 million.239 Once the film was released on DVD, it fared better, making $30 million in rentals in the first twelve weeks.239

Cena filming on the set of 12 Rounds.

His second film, also produced by WWE Studios, was 12 Rounds.240 Filming began on February 25, 2008 in New Orleans;240241 the film was released on March 27, 2009.

Cena co-starred in his third film produced by WWE Studios, titled Legendary, which was played in selected theaters starting on September 10, 2010, for a limited time,242 then it was released on DVD on September 28, 2010.243

That same year, Cena starred in the children's film Fred: The Movie, a film based on Lucas Cruikshank's YouTube videos of the same name, where he plays Fred's father.244 The movie was released on the Nickelodeon channel in September 2010.245

Guest appearances

Before his WWE début, Cena made an appearance on the Internet stream show Go Sick as Bruebaker, an angry, cursing wrestler in 2001.246

Cena in 2008.

During his WWE career, Cena has appeared on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! three times. Cena has also appeared on morning radio shows; including the CBS and XM versions of Opie and Anthony as part of their "walkover" on October 10, 2006. Other appearances have included NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Fuse's Celebrity Playlist, Fox Sports Net's The Best Damn Sports Show Period, FOX's MADtv, G4's Training Camp (with Shelton Benjamin), and two appearances on MTV's Punk'd (August 2006 and May 2007), as the victim of a practical joke. He also served as a co-presenter, with Hulk Hogan, at the 2005 Teen Choice Awards, as a guest judge during the third week of the 2006 season of Nashville Star, and appeared at the 2007 Nickelodeon UK Kids Choice Awards.247

In January 2007, Cena, Batista, and Ashley Massaro appeared representing WWE on an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,248 giving the children of the family whose house was being renovated WWE merchandise and eight tickets to WrestleMania 23.249 Two months later, he and Bobby Lashley appeared on the NBC game show Deal or No Deal as "moral support" to long time WWE fan and front row staple, Rick "Sign Guy" Achberger. Edge and Randy Orton also appeared, but as antagonists.250 On April 9, 2008, Cena, along with fellow wrestlers Triple H and Chris Jericho, appeared on the Idol Gives Back fund-raising special.251 In March 2009, Cena made an appearance on Saturday Night Live during the show's cold opening sequence.252 On March 7, 2009, he was a guest on NPR's quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! in a Not My Job sequence titled "Sure, pro wrestling is a good gig, but when you win, do they throw teddy bears into the ring?"253

Television

In 2001, between his training in Ultimate Pro Wrestling and Ohio Valley Wrestling,25 Cena was involved in the UPN produced reality show Manhunt. Cena portrayed Big Tim Kingman, leader of the group of bounty hunters who chased down the contestants who acted as fugitives. The show, however, was mired in controversy when it was alleged that the portions of the show were rigged to eliminate certain players, scenes were re-shot or staged to enhance drama and contestants read from scripts.254255256

Cena was also featured on the ABC reality series Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, which aired in June 2007,257 making it to the final round before being eliminated on June 24, placing third in the competition overall.258

In 2007, Cena was also interviewed for the CNN Special Investigations Unit documentary, "Death Grip: Inside Pro Wrestling", which focused on steroid and drug use in professional wrestling. When asked if he had taken steroids he was heard to reply, "I can't tell you that I haven't, but you'll never prove that I have."259 The day after the documentary aired WWE accused CNN of taking Cena's comments out of context to present a biased point of view, backing up their claim by posting an unedited video of his answering the same question—filmed by WWE cameras from another angle—in which he is heard beginning the same statement with "Absolutely not".260 A text interview on the website with Cena later had him saying the news outlet should apologize for misrepresenting him,261 which CNN refused in a statement, saying they felt the true answer to the question began with the phrase "My answer to that question".262 They did, however, edit the documentary on subsequent airings to include the "Absolutely not".262

Cena hosted the Australian Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards with Natalie Bassingthwaighte on October 11, 2008 in Melbourne, Australia.263

He guest starred as Ewan O'Hara in an episode of the fourth season of the comedy drama Psych, as the brother of Juliet O'Hara, played by Maggie Lawson.264

He also guest starred in the seventh episode of Disney Channel's Hannah Montana Forever as himself.

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Cena signing merchandise for a young fan
Cena posing with children

Cena has granted over 400 wishes for Arizona children with life-threatening illnesses through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, making him the current record holder.265266267 In 2009, Cena received the Chris Greicius Celebrity Award.268

Endorsements

Cena at Fort Bragg on December 9, 2011.

Before his professional wrestling career, Cena appeared in an advertisement for Gold's Gym.269 As a wrestler he has endorsed the energy drink YJ Stinger,270 appearing in commercials beginning in October 2003, and Subway,271 for whom he filmed advertisements with their spokesperson Jared Fogle in November 2006 that began airing the next January. For a time in 2007 he also endorsed two "signature collections" of energy drinks and energy bars sold by American Body Builders.272 In 2008, Cena filmed a commercial as part of Gillette's "Young Guns" NASCAR campaign.273

In 2009, Cena expanded his relationship with Gillette by introducing a new online campaign called "Be A Superstar" featuring himself alongside WWE Superstars Chris Jericho and Cody Rhodes. The campaign features motivational videos.274

Fashion

For the extent of his WWE career, Cena's attire has attempted to reflect the most current fashions and stylings within the hip hop culture that his character represents. Cena started out wearing "throwback jerseys" until WWE produced specific Cena merchandise which he began wearing.275 While Cena was a member of the SmackDown! brand, one of his WWE produced t-shirts bore the suggestive spoonerism "Ruck Fules". Whenever it appeared on television the image was censored, not by the network, but by WWE to sell more shirts under the premise that it was "too hot for TV."276 He also wore a chain with a large padlock, occasionally using it as a weapon,277 until WrestleMania 21, when it was replaced with a chromed and diamond studded "Chain Gang" spinner medallion—reminiscent of the ones worn by members of G-Unit—matching his spinner title belt.

Around the time The Marine was released, Cena began wearing attire more military related, including camouflage shorts, dog tags, a Marine soldier cap and a WWE produced shirt with the legend "Chain Gang Assault Battalion."278 Shortly after WrestleMania 23, when promotion for The Marine ended, the military attire diminished and was replaced with apparel bearing his new slogan "American Made Muscle" along with denim shorts, not seen since he was a member of the SmackDown roster.279 He then wore shirts that promoted Cenation and his trademark line "You Can't See Me." From late 2011 until Wrestlemania XXVIII, Cena again switched to camo shorts (honoring the U.S. Armed Forces), to coinincide with his black "Rise Above Hate" T-shirt promoting WWE's "Be a Star" anti-bullying campaign. On September 16, 2012, Cena débuted a new pink and black t-shirt and cap combo with the phrase "Rise Above Cancer" that he wore through October in partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure in honor of breast cancer awareness month.

Music

Sample from "The Time Is Now" by John Cena & Tha Trademarc.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

In addition to his wrestling career, Cena is a rapper and a hip hop musician. Cena performed his fifth WWE theme song, "Basic Thugonomics," himself, and it was featured on the WWE soundtrack album WWE Originals. He also recorded a song,"Untouchables", for the company's next soundtrack album WWE ThemeAddict: The Music, Vol. 6. He collaborated on the song H-U-S-T-L-E remix along with Murs, E-40, and Chingo Bling.280

Cena's début album, You Can't See Me, was recorded with his cousin Tha Trademarc. It features, amongst other songs, his entrance theme, "The Time is Now", and the single "Bad, Bad Man", for which a music video was made that parodied 1980s culture, including the television show The A-Team. A video was also made for the second single, "Right Now," and premiered on the August 8 Raw. Cena and Tha Trademarc were later featured on a track by The Perceptionists named "Champion Scratch." Cena will appear on Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins' upcoming album Still Cool featuring other guests.281

Albums

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
2000 Ready to Rumble Gym Trainer Uncredited extra
2006 The Marine John Triton
2009 12 Rounds Danny Fisher
2010 Legendary Mike Chetley
2010 Fred: The Movie Fred's Imaginary Dad
2011 The Reunion Sam Cleary
2011 Fred 2: Night of the Living Fred Fred's Imaginary Dad
2012 Fred 3: Camp Fred Fred's Imaginary Dad
2014 Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery Himself (voice)
2015 Trainwreck Filming
2015 The Nest Filming

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2009 Saturday Night Live Himself Tracy Morgan/Kelly Clarkson (season 34: episode 18)
2010 Psych Ewan O'Hara "You Can't Handle This Episode" (season 4: episode 10)
True Jackson, VP Himself "Pajama Party" (season 2: episode 12)
Hannah Montana Himself "Love That Lets Go" (season 4: episode 9)
Generator Rex Hunter Cain Voice role
"The Hunter" (season 1: episode 13)
Non-acting appearances
Year Title Notes
2001 Manhunt
2007 Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race
2013- Total Divas appearing with girlfriend Nikki Bella

Personal life

Cena's father, John Cena, Sr.

Cena writes left-handed.284 He is a fan of Japanese anime and has mentioned that his favorite anime movie is Fist of the North Star.285 He has also been featured on wall posters in the anime series Kokoro Connect.

He has also said he is a fan of the video game series Command & Conquer and noted that it was his favorite game.286 Cena is also a fan of the Boston Red Sox,285 Tampa Bay Rays,287 Los Angeles Dodgers,288 New England Patriots,289 Boston Celtics285 and English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.290 Cena collects muscle cars and has over 20, some of which are one-of-a-kind.1

While promoting his 2009 film, 12 Rounds, Cena announced his engagement291292 to his girlfriend Elizabeth Huberdeau. They were married on July 11, 2009. On May 1, 2012, Cena filed for a divorce,293 and the divorce was settled by July 18.294 In November 2012, TMZ reported that Cena is dating WWE Diva Nikki Bella.295296

In wrestling

Cena performs an Attitude Adjustment on Kane.
Cena traps Mark Henry in the STF.
Cena delivers the Five Knuckle Shuffle to Dolph Ziggler.
Cena's delivers his signature taunt, "You Can't See Me", to Chris Masters.
  • Nicknames
    • "The Cenation Leader"313
    • "The Champ"314 (as champion)
    • "The Measuring Stick"315
    • "The Chain Gang Soldier"263
    • "The Doctor of Thuganomics"316
    • "Mr. Money in the Bank"
    • "The Face of the WWE"
  • Entrance themes
    • "Slam Smack" by R. Hardy (FirstCom Production Music) (June 27, 2002 – November 7, 2002)317
    • "Insert Bass Here" by DJ Case (FirstCom Production Music) (November 14, 2002 – February 13, 2003)318
    • "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

Cena as WWE Champion in 2007.

1 ^ Cena did not accept the 2012 award, opting to award it to presenter Ric Flair instead.

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