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5 of John Cena's biggest losses in WWE

Even John Cena is not as invincible as people think he is
Even John Cena is not as invincible as people think he is
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Pranav Unnikrishnan

Greatness is something that is earned in WWE, and not many have earned it as earnestly as John Cena. He has been the company's poster boy for a long time now, and is one of the greatest superstars to have ever stepped foot in the ring.

The John Cena story began in 2002 when he made his debut on SmackDown by answering Kurt Angle's challenge. Two decades later, he is someone who is in the conversation of being on the Mt. Rushmore of professional wrestling, having won everything there is to win in WWE.

The Champ is famous for being a constant presence in big matches, and is popularly referred to as 'Big Match John'. He has a sterling (or notorious, depending on which side you belong to) reputation of stepping in and winning said contests. However, for all the Ws he has taken, there are a few big Ls on his resume that no one expected him to pick up.

On that note, here are five of John Cena's biggest losses in WWE.

#5. On our list of John Cena's biggest losses in WWE: Vs. AJ Styles (SummerSlam 2016)

By the end of this match, John Cena didn't want none of Mr. P1
By the end of this match, John Cena didn't want none of Mr. P1

When AJ Styles made his WWE debut back in 2016, fans were chomping at the bit to see him fight the best superstars in WWE. The biggest dream match on that list was the one against John Cena, which we got at Money in the Bank 2016.

There, Styles prevailed thanks to The Club's interference, which only furthered the interest in a proper one-on-one match between the pair.

WWE gave us a no-excuses, no-Club match at SummerSlam that same year, and the result was a phenomenal (pun intended) battle between Styles and Cena. The latter was tipped to exact revenge on The Phenomenal One and move on, but he was left in shock as his opponent took his best shots and pinned him with a huge Phenomenal Forearm to go 2-0 up on The Champ.

Following the massive win, Styles started wearing Cena's ring gear and calling himself The Face that Runs the Place. The win sent the 16-time world champion packing from SmackDown, and it wasn't until January 2017 that he exacted revenge and beat the former TNA star.

#4. Vs. CM Punk (Money in the Bank 2011)

Cena failed himself and WWE when he lost to Punk
Cena failed himself and WWE when he lost to Punk

John Cena's match against CM Punk at 2011's Money in the Bank pay-per-view is a monumental contest in wrestling history. In front of a raucous crowd in Punk's hometown of Chicago, he came with the WWE Championship in his hands and the weight of the company on his shoulders.

The Voice of the Voiceless had declared beforehand that he would defeat The Champ and leave WWE with the company's top prize. Given the real-life uncertainty surrounding his contract, no one knew who would take the win that night.

Cena looked to have the match in the bag, but an unwarranted Vince McMahon appearance led to him walking right into the GTS from Punk and shockingly staying down for the count. McMahon had said before MITB that if he lost, he would be fired from the company. Although that didn't happen, seeing The Franchise Player lose on the night was a huge shock.

#3. Vs. Randy Orton (TLC 2013)

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WWE made the bold decision to unify the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship towards the end of 2013. To determine the top champion, they had Randy Orton and John Cena do battle in a mega TLC match.

Cena was full of confidence heading into TLC and repeatedly told him that he would win out in their match. However, what transpired on the night suggested his confidence was misplaced, as it was Orton who picked up the victory and did so in emphatic fashion.

The two popular superstars exchanged haymakers and were evenly matched for large stretches of the contest. Both of them refused to stay down despite taking each other's best shots.

However, the finish saw The Champ come within inches of grabbing both the titles before being sent into a table by The Viper. The latter then stared at the unconscious WWE Champion before unhooking the titles and handing him a heavy defeat.

#2. Vs. The Rock (WrestleMania XXVIII)

The look on his face suggests how soul-crushing the defeat was
The look on his face suggests how soul-crushing the defeat was

John Cena's rivalry with The Rock was a year-long affair that maintained a high intensity throughout. By the time their first match (so much for Once in a Lifetime) rolled around, it was so monumental that neither man could afford to lose.

Cena was the seasoned wrestler who was a WWE man through and through. The Rock, on the other hand, was a company legend who left it for new pastures and came back bigger than ever. The Franchise Player vowed to beat The Brahma Bull and do it for everyone in the locker room, and was on course to win at The Grandest Stage of them All.

However, a very un-Cena like scenario saw him abandon the Five Knuckle Shuffle and go for a People's Elbow instead. His cockiness ended up being his downfall, as he ran into a huge Rock Bottom and suffered one of the biggest losses of his career three seconds later. The image of a crestfallen Franchise Player on the WrestleMania ramp watching The Great One celebrate sums up the magnitude of his defeat.

#1. Vs. Brock Lesnar (SummerSlam 2014)

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Throughout his career, John Cena has been booked as an elite competitor who can take a ton of punishment and still take hard-fought wins. However, SummerSlam 2014 saw him run into Brock Lesnar, who absolutely destroyed him and made him look little more than a jobber.

Although Lesnar walked into SummerSlam having ended The Undertaker's WrestleMania streak, Cena was still the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. The way The Beast decimated the top champion in the company was nothing short of shocking. Sixteen suplexes and two F5s later, The Champ was no longer that.

To this day, Cena's loss to Lesnar is the most crushing defeat of his career. No one has ever beaten him so decisively and in such dominating fashion. It is easily the most embarrassing moment of his career, and one that he would have wanted to forget in a hurry.


A wrestling legend is worried that CM Punk may make a major move against AEW. More details here

Edited by Prem Deshpande
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