Vincent McMahon Jr, when he founded Titan Sports Inc on February 21, 1980, kick-started a new era in the world of wrestling – the ‘WWF Era.’ From this period on, pro-wrestling became truly global with the rise (and fall) of several wrestling superstars. Right from the glorious eighties where the immortal Hulk Hogan charmed millions worldwide with his incredible persona, the torch has been passed numerous times through various faces of the company (known as WWE since 2002) in the last thirty odd years.
In this series, we aim to pick the ten greatest WWE wrestlers of all time in the McMahon Jr era, and what better way to start the edition than with the current torch-bearer of the company, John Cena.
No. 10 – John Cena
Hailing from Boston Massachusetts, the road towards the top of the WWE ladder wasn’t an easy one for John Cena. Before stepping into pro-wrestling, Cena was mostly into football and body-building, even working as a limousine driver for a brief period! Cena also had a short stint with Ohio Valley Wrestling, a developmental territory of the WWE, where he wrestled as ‘The Prototype’.
But all that hard work paid off when the ‘Doctor of Thuganomics’ made his debut in the WWE against the Olympic Champion Kurt Angle in a match where he came up with an eye-catching performance.
Cena got his big break at Wrestlemania XX in 2004 when he defeated the Big Show for the United States Championship. Soon the top officials of the WWE began to notice Cena’s potential to be the main draw and booked him for a WWE Championship match against John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) at Wrestlemania in 2005. As expected Cena beat JBL to become the ‘Champ’ and the rest as they say became history.
From that moment on, John Cena became the most recognized face of the company, taking on every single superstar in the WWE roster.
The majority of Cena’s peers were of the view that he was the most hard-working man in the WWE.
“He’s noted as being one of the most hard-working people in entertainment, and he is. If you want his job, you have to work as hard as he does. And it is much easier said than done.” – WWE wrestler Cody Rhodes on Cena.
John Cena’s list of achievements in the WWE include a staggering 13 WWE titles, 3 United States Championships and 4 Tag-team Championships. He’s also the winner of the 2008 Royal Rumble and 2-time Superstar of the Year at the WWE Slammy Awards.
When the WWE runs a commercial with the message, ‘Don’t try this at home’, they mean it. All the glory and accolades that Cena won in his illustrious career, came at a price. The Leader of Cenation had his fair share of injuries. He tore his pectoral muscle in a match against Mr Kennedy. It took him 7 months to recover, but the Champ came back in style to win the 2008 Royal Rumble.
In another match, against Rey Mysterio, Cena suffered a herniated disk which required surgery. Through all this, Cena fought with a typical ‘never say die’ attitude because he believed that his success was equivalent to the success of the WWE. Hustle, Loyalty, Respect. Enough said.
Cena reached the pinnacle of the wrestling industry when he took on one of the WWE’s most decorated and charismatic superstars, the Rock. After a year long feud, the two superstars faced each other in this year’s Wrestlemania at the Rock’s hometown of Miami in a ‘Never before, never again’ clash. It was truly the clash of the titans and probably the biggest and most anticipated match in the history of the WWE, but Cena ended up on the losing side.
So how does John Cena get to feature in the top ten greatest wrestlers list? Is he truly a great wrestler? Don’t most of the WWE Universe boo him nowadays?
John Cena might not be one of the greatest in-ring performers of all time. He is no Shawn Michaels. Most of his fans might be teenagers, but he’s respected as the most hard-working and headline breaking wrestler in the WWE today, by his peers and critics alike. He has been the torch-bearer of the WWE industry for the past decade. While it remains to be seen if he can carry on doing so, it can’t be denied that Cena has had a major impact in the wrestling world today. To quote the man himself,
“Love or hate but you cannot debate that I am in the centre of sports entertainment and I am surrounded by all of you!“
So anti-Cena fans, it’s time that you ‘Rise Above Hate.’
Check out all the players in this list here: