Over the past two decades, John Cena has failed to connect with some of his WWE colleagues.
The Leader of the Cenation made his main roster debut twenty years ago on SmackDown. He has since become arguably the biggest star in Vince McMahon's company. Over the years, Cena has made several friends in WWE, including Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Seth Rollins.
Meanwhile, Cena has had rocky relationships with some of his other co-workers. Some of these superstars have revealed that The Leader of the Cenation disliked them for different reasons.
Here are five WWE Superstars John Cena legitimately hated.
#5. Chris Masters
In 2005, Chris Masters made his main roster debut on Monday Night RAW after spending nearly two years in developmental. That same year, John Cena defeated JBL at WrestleMania to capture his first WWE Championship, establishing himself as one of the top superstars on the roster.
Over the next two years, Masters and Cena shared the ring several times. However, The Leader of the Cenation seemingly never enjoyed working with The Masterpiece.
"I just don’t think John [Cena] was too big on working with me at the time, and I think it was just a little more difficult for us to have good matches with each other. (...) With Cena and me, like, I don’t know, it just felt like he didn’t — we never got a good rhythm in terms of our work and that’s probably my fault. Anyway, it’s hard to say for sure. I just remember that there were sometimes Cena had voiced his displeasure in my work," Masters said in an interview with the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast. [H/T: Wrestling Inc.]
Masters and Cena also had a rocky relationship away from the ring. In an interview with The Hannibal TV, The Masterpiece admitted that they never got along.
"We just never really clicked for whatever reason. It was always odd. I don't know if it's him being...like, me being a west coast guy and him being a north-west type dude. I don't know. He didn't really look out for me I don't think he was ever particularly fond of me. I don't know if he questioned my work ethic or what it was or you know, if there was some kind of issue. We just kind of never got along," Masters explained.
Masters' first WWE run ended in 2007. In 2009, he returned to the company. Nevertheless, he left again in 2011. He is currently active on the independent circuit.
#4. Former WWE Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett
Nearly a week after winning the first season of NXT in 2010, Wade Barrett led The Nexus to attack John Cena and CM Punk on the June 7 episode of Monday Night RAW.
Over the next few years, Cena and Barrett shared the ring many times. Despite working closely together, Barrett admitted that he and Cena never liked each other in real life.
"He has been the face for ten years, and he's really good at what he does. But everyone knows that I don't like John Cena, and he doesn't like me either. You're right, he does get booed by a lot of fans, lot of people don't like him. But he sells a lot more t-shirts and other merchandise than anyone else. So there are a lot of people out there who like him too. Either way everyone has an opinion about him, I respect that. Personally I don't like him and he doesn't like me, we are not friends," Barrett explained to DNA India in 2017.
Barrett is no longer an active in-ring competitor. Instead, he is currently a color commentator on NXT.
#3. Michael Tarver
Like his former leader Wade Barrett, former Nexus member Michael Tarver did not have the best relationship with John Cena during his time in WWE. Instead, he accused The Leader of the Cenation of trying to bury him.
In an interview with the VOC Nation's Talkin Sass podcast, Tarver, who spent only a year on the main roster between 2010 and 2011, claimed that Cena targeted him.
"If one of the main people there don’t like you, they will do everything they can do to bury you. I got to the main roster and just got buried. (...) It was Cena. I don't have any heat with him now, I make jokes about it. But there was a target on my back. I don't know why he targeted me, but it is what it is," Tarver said. (H/T: SE Scoops)
WWE released Tarver from his contract in June 2011. Over the next decade, he competed on the independent circuit. Nevertheless, he has not wrestled since April 2021. The former Nexus member is now a Christian hip-hop artist and producer.
#2. Freddie Prinze Jr.
Between 2008 and 2012, American actor Freddie Prinze Jr. had two runs in WWE. He worked as a member of the creative team, producer, and director. The 46-year-old also made a few on-screen appearances. However, he failed to connect with WWE's top superstar at the time, John Cena.
On an episode of the Wrestling with Freddie podcast, the former WWE producer claimed that Cena disliked him during his time in the Stamford-based promotion.
"I've always said I respected John, even though he didn't like me whilst I was there because I was an actor, which he is now. But I always respected him, because John was willing to wear the crown during the G-rated era, and that was a crown that no top guy wanted," he explained [H/T: Wrestling Inc.]
The Hollywood star has made it clear that he has no intention of returning to WWE in the future.
#1. Alex Riley
In 2010, Alex Riley made his main roster debut. He spent nearly three years as an active competitor before transitioning to a color commentary role in 2013. About two years later, he returned to the squared circle. However, the company released him from his contract in May 2016.
During his time in WWE, Riley had backstage heat with John Cena. In an interview with Sportskeeda Wrestling, the 41-year-old disclosed that he and Cena disliked each other.
"I think it came down to, at the end, two men just not liking each other. As sad as that is, it had an impact on my career because he is who he is," Riley said.
Riley stepped away from wrestling a few years ago to pursue an acting career. He also owns a real estate investment corporation.