Roman Reigns vs. John Cena: A statistical comparison
What do the numbers say about two of WWE's biggest superstars?
John Cena. Roman Reigns. One has been at the forefront of WWE for the past 15 years. The other has only been in that position for 5 but figures to match Cena's longevity and perhaps even surpass it.
The top of the mountain only has so much room. WWE's roster, now more than ever, is massive, but only a certain number of superstars can be the ones that represent the company when they travel the world. Only certain superstars will be put on promotional cups and t-shirts. And only certain superstars are near locks for multiple world title reigns in their careers.
Both of these men fall into that category. They've both been booked like supermen throughout their careers. So that raises the question, which superstar has been, pound for pound, more successful?
Of course, we cannot compare them based on total career accolades since Cena's career has lasted a decade longer than Reigns. But if we take what Reigns has done and project it over the next 10 years or so, we can figure out which superstar is more successful on a per-year basis.
Before we can get into any real statistics, we have to determine exactly how long both Cena and Reigns' careers have been. Both superstars have pretty much been WWE lifers, so we are going to include matches from their developmental days as well as the main roster. With that said, Cena's first documented match according to ProFightDB, which will be the source for all stats and match results, was on October 10, 2000, in a Sunday Night Heat dark match. That means he has been wrestling under the WWE umbrella for 16 years, 9 months, and 23 days.
As for Reigns, his first match was August 19, 2010, in a battle royal on Florida Championship Wrestling. He's approaching his 7 year wrestling anniversary, as his career now sits at a length of 6 years, 11 months, and 14 days.
For ease of comparison, we're going to round these numbers to the nearest year, putting Cena at 17 years and Reigns at 7. Now we can get into the real substance of wins, losses, championships, and other notable accolades.
Over his 17 year career, John Cena has a whopping 1,020 wins, 252 losses, and 57 draws. Over his 7 year career, Roman Reigns has 588 wins, 253 losses, and 33 draws. This is interesting on several levels.
First of all, Reigns actually has one more loss than Cena despite his career being 10 years shorter to this point. That's shocking considering it feels like Reigns almost never loses. But it makes more sense when you consider how the losses came and the fact that Reigns was technically a heel when he first started with the Shield.
Reigns has lost 110 matches by disqualification. Cena has lost a mere 27. So although Reigns has disproportionately more losses for his career, that number isn't likely to keep increasing much. Reigns only loses a few matches a year now that he's on his own.
The other thing to note is that, despite having more losses, Reigns is racking up wins at a higher rate than Cena. If he continues at this pace, Reigns will have an incredible 1,428 wins by the time his career reaches 17 years in length. Of course, we have to consider all the time Cena has missed due to outside ventures injuries — two things which Reigns will likely pursue/succumb to later in his career as well. So we can probably drop those wins down a bit closer to Cena's mark.
So as far as wins and losses are concerned, when you take into account Reigns' heel run that led to more losses, as well as the time Cena missed that prevented him from racking up more wins, these two are on very similar trajectories.
Championships and accolades:
Another, more important measure of success is championships. That shows how much WWE trusts someone to put them at the very top of their company. We mentioned before that the top of the mountain is reserved for a few select guys, but at the top of an even taller mountain is the WWE Champion: the guy they trust to be the true face of the company for the time being. And right near him are all the other superstars who carry championship gold.
Cena is a 16-time world champion, 4-time tag team champion, 5-time United States champion, 2-time Royal Rumble winner, and 1-time Money in the Bank winner.
Reigns is a 3-time world champion, 2-time tag team champion, 1-time United States Champion and 1-time Royal Rumble winner.
As we saw, Cena and Reigns are fairly similar in terms of wins and losses if you project it over their careers. But in championships, Cena has a stark advantage. If you extrapolate Reigns' 3 world title wins over a 17-year career, he would only be at roughly 7 world titles, nowhere close to WWE's original golden boy.
And if you take Cena's total championships, 25, and extrapolate Reigns' total championships, 6, over a 17-year career, the difference becomes even more noticeable. Reigns is only on pace for 14 title reigns (no pun intended) in total.
Comparing these two superstars has made one thing clear. Although Reigns has been considered the second coming of Cena, he isn't on pace to achieve the same success as far as championships are concerned. Cena is almost certain to break Ric Flair's title record before he retires, but Reigns is unlikely to even get close at this rate.
Reigns will be at or near the top of WWE for many years to come, but his career is unlikely to become anything close to the Super-Cena era of yesteryear. Cena will go down as one of the most successful and dominant superstars of all time. Reigns will go down as one of WWE's most heavily pushed superstars, but if these numbers prove anything, it's that Cena is and will always remain on a tier of his own.
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