Throughout six years, I’ve been lucky enough to share my opinion about professional wrestling both in written and audio form, I’ve been asked to list my personal top five wrestlers of all time. I have never wavered on that list: Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, The Rock, and... John Cena.
Like him or not, it’s become indisputable fact that John Cena is one of the top five performers of the WrestleMania era. (This era includes all wrestling—worldwide—going back to 1985’s inaugural WrestleMania).
Many will disagree, citing “ringwork” and “politics.” But those are either unfounded (99.9% of those citing ringwork haven’t ever stepped foot in a wrestling ring) or unproven (99.9% of those citing politics have zero confirmed information to back it up).
At WWE No Mercy, John Cena once again took the fall in favour of AJ Styles, stopping short in his bid to capture Smackdown’s WWE World Championship in a Triple Threat Match that also included Dean Ambrose. AJ, the heel world champ, used a chair to capture the win and retain his title.
Had Cena won, it would have been his 16th world championship, tying the commonly accepted record held by WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair. Two of those reigns came in the WWE, both in 1992, and they lasted a combined 118 days.
While John Cena came up short, it appears likely that he will indeed—at the very least—tie Ric Flair’s record. And for those of you who frown upon that idea, I urge you to reconsider based on these five reasons.
#5 John Cena Defines A Generation
For many fans, John Cena is professional wrestling. These are kids for whom John Cena has been on top of the WWE since the day they started watching the product and for their parents who only started watching because of those kids.
Of today’s superstars, John Cena truly is the “face that runs the place.” He has sold more merchandise than anyone in WWE history, and he continues to sell it. He passed my “household name test” in that my 70-year-old mother can tell you who he is. His face is plastered everywhere.
Despite any “push” given to the likes of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns or now AJ Styles, for the generation watching the WWE today, John Cena is their Hulk Hogan. He defines this generation.