“The Champ is Here!”
# 45. John Cena
73 points (6 out of 43 lists)
Highest Rating: Scotsman at #2
Real Name: John Felix Anthony Cena
(In)Famous Gimmicks: Prototype
John Cena, one of the internet’s most-hated current wrestlers, comes in at number 45.
I’ve never understood the Cena hate, as the guy has been solid since day-one in the WWE. He has always done a stand-up job, and I can’t think of a time where hasn’t given 100 percent and done whatever has been asked of him.
Is he the greatest technical wrestler these days? Of course not. Is he a high-flying acrobat? No. But he is undoubtedly one of the most charismatic guys around today, and can put on a fantastic main event match. Cena’s last year before his injury was a lot like Steve Austin at the end of his run. He wasn’t the best wrestler at the time, but he could tell a fantastic story in a main event brawl, and that’s all most fans ask for.
The typical wrestling fan loves John Cena. If I’m at a bar on a Monday night and Raw is on TV, people go batshit for Cena.
Cena-Haters will have to get used to him being in the limelight, as he’s going to be around for a long, long time. The guy has been groomed to be THE face of the WWE for the next 5 years, and he seems up to the task.
He starred in The Marine, he’s scheduled to be the lead in the next WWE Films flick, and appears on TV whenever asked of. For the amount of pressure put on Cena, you have to give him credit for the way he’s handled it. And you have to give him credit for not bitching and crying when he was getting booed out of every building in North America. He’s been a true professional. Really, how many WWE Champions would lose to Kevin Federline? Not many.
Cena made his WWF debut in an unusual fashion. Kurt Angle had been challenging the locker room for months, defeating wrestler after wrestle. Then one day, a plucky young rookie from OVW came through the curtains. I loved how Michael Cole actually acted like he knew who Cena was. If they did the “Who the heck is this guy?”, I don’t think it would have worked. It was a fantastic debut, with Cena even kicking out of the Angle Slam. Cena lost, but would stick around on Smackdown and gain credibility with the fans.
However, the plucky face wasn’t Cena’s thing. It was almost like Rocky Maivia all over again. Like The Rock, Cena first began being noticed when he developed an attitude. He started rapping and became a cocky heel. Much like The Rock, he used comedy to get himself over. And also like Rocky, eventually the fans began cheering for heel-Cena and he quickly became a face.
Cena’s first big moment (no pun intended) came at WrestleMania XX, as he F-U’ed the Big Show en route to a U.S. Title Win. The fans were already going crazy for Cena, and it was only a matter of time before he was “the guy”.
One year later, he was WWE Champion.
For two and a half years, Cena was the WWE. Interviews with various wrestlers on Off the Record and other non-kayfabe segments have shown they all have a tremendous amount of respect for Cena. They know that his schedule is insane, and that it isn’t easy being John Cena. In addition to being on the road each night, he makes countless charity appearances. Kids love John Cena, and it appears as though he loves being their hero.
At the height of the anti-Cena movement, crowds were split nearly 50-50. The majority of males hated the guy, and you could hear a low-pitched “boo” throughout every arena. However, that low “boo” was often over-powered by high-pitched squealing. Not only were the kids cheering for Cena, the women were also. Chicks love John Cena. To quote my sister… “He’s hot. I like to look at him.”
The anti-Cena movement has died down in the past year, and his injury should level even more of the haters. Hopefully the majority of WWE fans have outgrown the “it’s cool to boo Cena phase”, and they can appreciate the work he’s done over the past couple of years. He’s had some fantastic matches, and I think they’ve been overshadowed.
Regardless, there are definitely some patients of The Doctor of Thuganomics on NPP. Whether it’s kids, women, or a bunch of guys on an internet message board… John Cena has fans. He’s number 45 on NPP’s Greatest Wrestlers of All-Time.
June 27th, 2002 – John Cena vs. Kurt Angle (Cena’s WWE Debut)
- 3 time WWE World Champion
- 3 time WWE United States Champion
- 1 time WWE Tag Team Champion (Shawn Michaels)
Where Are They Now: Cena is currently injured, with a torn pec. He has been out since the beginning of October 2007, and is expected to return in late-spring.
Did Ya Know: Cena has made a number of television appearances over the past few years, but one of the strangest was as a judge. Cena, a guy who has released a rap CD, appeared as a guest judge on an episode of the country-singing reality show Nashville Star.