5 times John Cena acted heelish as a babyface
John Cena is one of the biggest babyfaces in WWE history. Since turning face and leaving his Doctor Of Thuganomics gimmick behind, The Champ has been the company's ultimate good guy. However, every hero has flaws, and The Cenation Leader is no exception.
There have been a few occasions on which Cena has intentionally or accidentally flirted with or leaned into his dark side. Some of these moments came unprovoked, but others were due to provocations from his heel opponents. Nonetheless, these acts were inconsistent with The Champ's babyface values.
Here are five of the most heelish moments of Cena's babyface era:
#5. John Cena delivered an AA to Batista after the latter said, "I Quit"
John Cena faced Batista in an "I Quit" match at Over The Limit 2010. Their hard-fought battle spilled out of the ring, and they fought on top of a car on the entrance ramp. The Champ had The Animal in the Fireman's Carry position, ready to deliver an AA when the latter uttered the famous words.
After the six-time world champion yielded, The Cenation Leader executed his finisher off the vehicle. This move was uncharacteristically cruel for the sixteen-time world champion, who was usually a symbol of mercy and respect. Furthermore, Cena's actions justified The Animal's on-screen resignation from the company the next night on RAW, blurring the lines between good and evil.
#4. John Cena brutally beat up Michael Cole and John Laurinaitis on RAW
As the top babyface in WWE, John Cena was often in charge of administering comeuppance to heels. Often, these villains came in the form of fellow in-ring competitors. However, he sometimes dispensed his brand of vigilante justice to non-wrestling personalities.
In June 2012, John Cena beat up Michael Cole and John Laurinaitis, two of the most despised heels on the roster, in separate matches. The duo deserved punishment, but how Cena toyed with them made for uncomfortable watching. Pouring barbecue sauce on Cole and attacking Laurinitis with a fire extinguisher came off as cruel rather than efficient heroic justice.
#3. John Cena attacked a referee at ECW One Night Stand 2006
One Night Stand 2006 saw WWE Champion John Cena defend his title against ECW legend Rob Van Dam. The crowd in attendance was one of the most hostile The Champ would ever face in his career. He displayed an edgier side throughout the match, with RVD assuming the role of the face.
However, a confrontation between The Champ and the referee betrayed his heroic ideals. After disagreeing with one of the official's calls, Cena started a shoving match with the former before taking him out with a clothesline. This heelish act cost him the title, with an attack by Edge helping Van Dam pin him for the win.
#2. John Cena betrayed his ideals by swinging a steel chair at Bray Wyatt in the Firefly Fun House
The Firefly Funhouse Match was the most unique match of John Cena's career. The cinematic contest at WrestleMania 36 was a dissection of The Champ's career through Bray Wyatt's eyes. It attempted to expose the weaknesses of Cena's ideologies, painting him as a villain masquerading as the hero.
A key moment in the match saw Cena revisit his WrestleMania 30 match against Wyatt. Cena faced the same choice he had been presented with six years prior: take the easy route to victory using a steel chair illegally or try to win the right way. Unlike the first time, The Champ opted to use the chair, forfeiting his values and handing The Fiend a moral and physical victory.
The heelish action cast doubt over Cena's heroism.
#1. John Cena's betrayal of Zack Ryder was heelish
In early 2012, John Cena was involved in a storyline with Kane where The Big Red Machine tried to convince him to "embrace his dark side." Kane committed a series of acts to provoke The Champ to snap and let hate take over. One such act was kidnapping Eve Torres, who was romantically involved with Cena's best friend, Zack Ryder.
Mr. Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect saved Eve from the clutches of The Devil's Favorite Demon but ended up kissing her. Not only was this a betrayal of his friend, but its timing was unfortunate. This heelish act took place on Valentine's Day, while Ryder was confined to a wheelchair and, worst of all, in his presence.