Marital Status: Once Married to Liz Huberdeau Dating Nikki Bella
Height & Weight: 6'3" - 260 lbs
Trained by: Ultimate University
Previous Names: Prototype (UPW) Doctor of Thugganomics
Finishing Move: The STF-U Submission The FU/Thuganomics 101~(Modified Death Valley Driver) The Proto-Bomb (in OVW) aka The Killswitch (in WWE)
Favorite Moves: You Can't See Me Stalling Suplex Protoplex/Killswitch/Freestyle Five Knuckle Shuffle Dropkick Elbow Smash Rapper Punch The Throwback (Running Neck Snap) Missile Dropkick Running Corner Attack Spinebuster Steel Chain Attack Swinging Fishermanbuster The Throwback (Running Neck Snap) Pump It Up Running Leaping Shoulderblock Running DDT Running Sitdown Hiptoss Running One-Handed Bulldog The Oklahoma Roll
Notable Feuds: Chris Jericho Rikishi Billy Kidman Brock Lesnar The Undertaker Eddie Guerrero Chris Benoit A-Train Paul Heyman The Big Show Booker T Kenzo Suzuki Rene Dupree Carlito Carribbean Cool Jesus (Aaron Aguilera) Orlando Jordan John Bradshaw Layfield Kurt Angle Triple H Edge w/Lita Kevin Federline Umaga Shawn Michaels The Great Khali Randy Orton Vince McMahon Batista Sheamus The Nexus Wade Barrett C.M. Punk
UPW Heavyweight title defeating Smelly (2000); OVW Heavyweight title defeating Leviathan [aka Batista] (February 20, 2002); OVW Southern Tag Team titles w/Rico Constantino; WWE United States title defeating The Big Show (March 14, 2004 - Wrestlemania XX); WWE United States title defeating Booker T -Best of 5 Series- (October 3, 2004 - No Mercy); WWE United States title defeating Carlito Cool (November 19, 2004 - Smackdown!); WWE Heavyweight title defeating John Bradshaw Layfield (April 3, 2005 - Wrestlemania 21); WWE Heavyweight title defeating Edge w/Lita (January 29, 2006 - Royal Rumble); WWE Heavyweight title defeating Edge w/Lita (September 17, 2006 - Unforgiven); (WWE) World Tag Team titles w/Shawn Michaels defeating Edge & Randy Orton (January 29, 2007 - RAW); (WWE) World Tag Team titles w/Batista defeating Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase Jr. (August 4, 2008 - RAW); (WWE) World Heavyweight title defeating Chris Jericho (November 23, 2008 - Survivor Series); (WWE) World Heavyweight title defeating Edge and The Big Show (April 5, 2009 - WrestleMania 25); WWE Heavyweight title defeating Randy Orton in an I QUIT match (September 13, 2009 - Breaking Point); WWE Heavyweight title defeating Randy Orton in an Iron Man match (October 25, 2009 - Bragging Rights); WWE Heavyweight title by winning an Elimination Chamber match (February 21, 2010); WWE Heavyweight title defeating Batista (March 28, 2010--WrestleMania 26); WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) Tag Team titles w/David Otunga defeating Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes (October 24, 2010); WWE Tag Team titles w/Mike Mizanin defeated Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (February 21, 2011); WWE Heavyweight title defeating The Miz (c) and John Morrison [Steel Cage 3-WAY] (May 1, 2011--Extreme Rules); WWE Heavyweight title defeating Rey Mysterio (July 25, 2011--RAW); WWE Heavyweight title defeating Alberto Del Rio (September 18, 2011--Night of Champions)
Professional wrestling career
Ultimate Pro Wrestling (1999–2001) Cena started training to become a professional wrestler in 1999 at Ultimate Pro Wrestling's (UPW) California-based Ultimate University operated by Rick Bassman. Once he was placed into an in-ring role, Cena began using a semi-robotic character known as The Prototype. Some of this period of his career was documented in the Discovery Channel program Inside Pro Wrestling School. He held the UPW Heavyweight Championship for 27 days in April 2000. Cena wrestled for the UPW until March 2001. Cena returned to UPW for one night in 2003, losing to Frankie Kazarian by disqualification.
World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment/WWE
Early appearances and Ohio Valley Wrestling (2000–2002)
On October 10, 2000, while billed as The Prototype, Cena made his unofficial debut for the then World Wrestling Federation (WWF) on a SmackDown! taping in a dark match against Mikey Richardson, which he lost. He received another tryout on January 9, 2001 at a SmackDown! taping in Oakland, California, this time defeating Aaron Aguilera. Cena wrestled again in a dark match at a SmackDown! taping on March 13.
In 2001, Cena signed a developmental contract with the WWF and was assigned to its developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). During his time there, Cena wrestled under the ring name The Prototype and held the OVW Heavyweight Championship for three months and the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship (with Rico Constantino) for two months. Throughout 2001, Cena would receive four tryouts for the WWF main roster, as he wrestled multiple enhancement talent wrestlers on both WWF house shows and in dark matches before WWF television events. Through the early months of 2002, Cena constantly found himself competing on house shows for the WWF, where he wrestled against the likes of Shelton Benjamin and Tommy Dreamer.
After his main roster call up in June 2002, Cena would continue to appear on OVW programming until the September 25 taping of OVW, where he lost to Kenny Brolin in a Loser Leaves OVW match. Cena would appear in a one off appearance for the developmental farm in November under the ring name Mr. P in a six-man tag team match, where he teamed with future WWE Hall of Famer Big Boss Man and Charlie Haas in a winning effort against Lance Cade, Trevor Murdoch and Sean O'Haire.
Doctor of Thuganomics (2002–2003)
Cena performing an Attitude Adjustment (standing fireman's carry takeover) on Kurt Angle On the June 24 episode of Raw, Mr McMahon ordered the entire roster to the ring and declared that he needed them to all find some ruthless aggression from within themselves and that he was looking for one of them to stand out from the rest of the pack. Cena made his WWE television debut on the June 27, 2002 episode of SmackDown! by answering an open challenge by Kurt Angle. After declaring that he possessed "ruthless aggression", Cena lost by a pinning combination. After the match, Cena was congratulated by Billy Kidman, Faarooq, Rikishi, and The Undertaker. Following the near-win, Cena became a fan favorite and started feuding with Chris Jericho, defeating Jericho at Vengeance. Then, Cena feuded with Los Guerreros (Chavo and Eddie Guerrero) and Cena picked up a victory over Chavo Guerrero on the September 3, 2002 taping of Velocity. On the September 10 episode of SmackDown!, Cena teamed with Edge in a losing effort against Los Guerreros, thus ending the feud in the process. Cena went on to defeat the likes of Albert and D-Von Dudley as he was restricted to appearances on Velocity for the rest of September.
In October 2002, Cena and Billy Kidman took part in a tag team tournament to crown the first WWE Tag Team Champions of the SmackDown! brand, losing in the first round. The next week on SmackDown!, Cena turned on and attacked Kidman, blaming him for their loss, becoming a villain for the first and only time in his career. On the October 17 episode of SmackDown!, Cena defeated Kidman in a singles contest, but was defeated by Kidman in a rematch on the October 24 episode of SmackDown!. Shortly after the Kidman attack on a Halloween themed episode of SmackDown!, Cena dressed as Vanilla Ice performing a freestyle rap. The following week on SmackDown!, Cena received a new character: a rapper who cut promos while rhyming. As the gimmick grew, Cena began adopting a variant of the 1980s WWF logo – dropping the "F" – as his "signature symbol", along with the slogan "Word Life". At Rebellion, Cena would team with Dawn Marie in a losing effort against Kidman and Torrie Wilson in a mixed tag team match.
Eventually, Cena was joined by an enforcer, Bull Buchanan, who was rechristened B-2 (also written B² and pronounced "B-Squared"). B-2 helped Cena kick off 2003 in victorious fashion with a win over Rikishi on the January 2 episode of SmackDown! and a win over Chavo Guerrero on the January 9 episode of SmackDown!. Both Cena and B-2 participated in the 2003 Royal Rumble match, but were unsuccessful. Cena and B-2 failed to capture the WWE Tag Team Championship from Los Guerreros, resulting in Cena replacing B-2 with Red Dogg until he was sent to the Raw brand in February 2003.
For the first half of 2003, Cena sought the WWE Championship and chased the reigning champion Brock Lesnar after WrestleMania XIX, gaining upset wins over Eddie Guerrero, The Undertaker and Chris Benoit, who mocked him by wearing a "Toothless Aggression" shirt.
Rise to Superstardom (2003–2004) Cena won a number one contender's tournament for the right to face off against Lesnar for the WWE Championship at Backlash, but he failed to win the title at the event. After Backlash, Cena entered into a feud with Rhyno and Chris Benoit, which led to Cena along with Chuck Palumbo and Johnny Stamboli to defeat the team of Spanky, Rhyno and Benoit at Judgment Day. Shortly thereafter, Cena began mocking The Undertaker before and after his matches leading to a match between the two at Vengeance, where Cena lost a singles match against The Undertaker. In a rematch between the two, Cena would once again defeat The Undertaker on the August 5 episode of SmackDown!, this time with assistance from A-Train. The feud between Cena and Undertaker came to an end on the August 19 episode of SmackDown!, when Cena and A-Train defeated Undertaker and Orlando Jordan in a tag team match. Cena then pursued the United States Championship, but lost to then champion Eddie Guerrero in a Latino Street Fight for the title. After losing to Kurt Angle at No Mercy, Cena became a fan favorite for the rest of his career when he joined Angle as a member of his team at Survivor Series, where Cena and Chris Benoit were the survivors. Despite feuding, Cena and Benoit would later join forces as a makeshift tag team and on the November 27 episode of SmackDown! both won a 20-man battle royal to earn a WWE Championship match when, after being the last two men remaining, they would eliminate each other at the same time and were both declared joint winners of the match. However, Benoit defeated Cena the following week on SmackDown! to earn a WWE Championship match against Lesnar that same night.
Cena with his customized United States Championship belt in January 2005 In early 2004, Cena participated in the Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble, making it to the final six before being eliminated by Big Show. Chris Benoit was the eventual winner of the match. The Royal Rumble elimination led to a feud with Big Show. At No Way Out, Cena faced Big Show and Kurt Angle in a triple threat match to earn a WWE Championship match, with Angle beating Cena by submission. Cena won his first singles championship in WWE, the United States Championship from Big Show at WrestleMania XX after delivering an F-U for the pinfall victory. The reign ended almost four months after successful title defences against the likes of Rene Dupree, Rob Van Dam and Booker T, when he was stripped of the title on the July 8 episode of SmackDown! by Angle after he accidentally knocked him over, thus attacking an official. Cena won the championship back defeating Booker T in a best of five series that culminated at No Mercy, only to drop it is to the débuting Carlito Caribbean Cool the followig week on SmackDown!. After the loss to Carlito, the duo began a feud, which resulted in Cena allegedly being stabbed in the kidney while at a Boston-area nightclub by Carlito's bodyguard, Jesús. This worked injury was used to keep Cena out of action for a month while Cena was filming The Marine. Immediately on his return in November, Cena won the United States Championship back from Carlito. Cena later successfully defended the championship against Jesus at Armageddon in a street fight match.
WWE Champion (2005–2007) Cena took part in the 2005 Royal Rumble match, making it to the final two along with Batista until both went over the top rope at the same time, ostensibly ending the match, which was restarted and won by Batista. The next month, Cena defeated Kurt Angle to earn a spot in the SmackDown! brand's WrestleMania 21 main event match, beginning a feud with then WWE Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) and his Cabinet in the process. In the early stages of the feud, Cena lost the United States Championship to Cabinet member Orlando Jordan, Cena defeated JBL at WrestleMania winning the WWE Championship, giving Cena his first world championship. Cena then had a spinner WWE Championship belt made, while JBL took the original title belt and claimed to still be WWE Champion, until Cena reclaimed the original championship belt in an "I Quit" match at Judgment Day.
Cena was drafted to the Raw brand on June 6, 2005, becoming the first wrestler selected in the annual draft lottery. Cena immediately entered a feud with Eric Bischoff, after refusing to participate in the "war" against the Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) roster at One Night Stand. With Bischoff vowing to make Cena's stint on Raw difficult, he hand picked Jericho to take Cena's championship from him. During their feud, even though Cena was portrayed as the "face" (hero) and Jericho as the "heel" (villain), a vocal section of live crowds, nonetheless, were cheering Jericho during their matches. Crowds started to heavily boo Cena during his next feud with Kurt Angle, who took over as Bischoff's hand-picked number-one contender after Cena defeated Jericho in a You're Fired match on the August 22 Raw. Cena held on to the WWE Championship through his feud with Angle, losing to him by disqualification at Unforgiven and pinning him at Taboo Tuesday, in a match also involving Shawn Michaels, and Survivor Series. The feud with Angle also saw Cena add a secondary, submission based, finishing maneuver – the STFU (a stepover toehold sleeper, though named for a stepover toehold facelock) – when he was put into a triple threat submissions only match on the November 28 episode of Raw.
Cena facing off against Edge at a WWE house show At New Year's Revolution, Cena participated in the main event Elimination Chamber match where he retained the WWE Championship when he pinned Carlito. Immediately after a bloodied Cena won, Edge made his way to the ring to cash in his Money in the Bank contract – a "guaranteed title match for the WWE Champion at a time and place of the owner's choosing". Two quick spears allowed Edge to pin Cena, winning him the championship. Three weeks later, Cena won the championship back at the Royal Rumble. After winning the championship, Cena began feuding with Triple H, in which the crowd again started booing Cena and cheering the intended villain, Triple H, after being mostly cheered the last few months. Cena beat Triple H at WrestleMania 22 to retain the WWE Championship. The negative reaction towards Cena intensified when facing Rob Van Dam at One Night Stand. Taking place in front of a boisterous crowd of mostly original ECW fans at the Hammerstein Ballroom, Cena was met with raucous jeering and chants. Cena lost the WWE Championship at One Night Stand, with Van Dam pinning Cena after interference from Edge.
Cena while addressing fans at a Raw show In July, Edge won the championship from Van Dam in a triple threat match that also involved Cena, re-igniting the feud between him and Cena from earlier in the year. After Edge went about retaining the title by dubious means – getting himself disqualified (for which championships do not change hands) and using brass knuckles – he introduced his own version of Cena's "custom" title belt, this one with his logo placed on the spinner. Cena eventually won the championship back in a match and arena of Edge's choice: a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match at Unforgiven at the Air Canada Centre in Edge's hometown of Toronto, Ontario, Canada after performing the FU on Edge through two tables off a ladder. The match had a stipulation that, had Cena lost, he would have left the Raw brand for SmackDown!. Cena returned his version of the spinner title belt on the next night's Raw.
On the heels of his feud with Edge, Cena was placed in an inter-brand angle to determine the "Champion of Champions" – or which was the most dominant champion in WWE's three brands. Cena, the World Heavyweight Champion King Booker, and the ECW World Champion Big Show engaged in a mini-feud leading to a triple threat match at Cyber Sunday, with the viewers voting on which of the three championships would be placed on the line. At the same time, Cena became involved in a storyline with non-wrestler Kevin Federline, when he began appearing on Raw with Johnny Nitro and Melina. After getting into a worked physical altercation with Federline on Raw, Federline appeared at Cyber Sunday to hit Cena with the World Heavyweight Championship during the match, helping King Booker retain his championship. 2006 ended with Cena beginning a feud with the undefeated Umaga over the WWE Championship, while 2007 began with the end of his storyline with Kevin Federline. On the first Raw of the new year, Cena was pinned by Federline with an assist from Umaga, although later in the night he was able to get his hands on Federline performing an FU on him. At the pay-per-view event, New Year's Revolution, Cena defeated Umaga to end his undefeated streak and retain the WWE Championship. At the Royal Rumble, Cena defeated Umaga in a Last Man Standing match and retained the title after Umaga was unable to get to his feet before the referee counted to ten.
One night after the Royal Rumble, an impromptu team of Cena and Shawn Michaels defeated Rated-RKO (Edge and Randy Orton) for the World Tag Team Championship, making Cena a double champion. On the April 2 episode of Raw, after losing a WWE Championship match to Cena at WrestleMania 23, Michaels turned on Cena, costing them the championship in the second of two 10-team battles royals, by throwing Cena over the top rope and eliminating the team. The Hardys (Matt and Jeff) eventually won the match and the championship. For the rest of the month, Cena feuded with Michaels, Orton, and Edge until The Great Khali declared his intentions to challenge for Cena's championship attacking and "laying out" all three of the top contenders before assaulting Cena himself and stealing the physical title belt. For the next two months, Cena feuded with Khali over the championship, eventually becoming the first person in WWE to defeat him by submission at Judgment Day and then by pinfall at One Night Stand. Later that summer, Randy Orton was named the number one contender for the WWE Championship, starting a feud between the two. Leading up to SummerSlam, Orton delivered a number of sneak-attacks, performing three RKOs to Cena, who in the actual match retained the championship. A rematch between the two occurred at Unforgiven, with Orton winning by disqualification after Cena ignored the referee's instructions and continued to beat on him in the corner.
During a match with Mr. Kennedy on the October 1, 2007 episode of Raw, Cena suffered a legitimate torn pectoral muscle while executing a hip toss. Though finishing the match and taking part in the scripted attack by Orton after the match, surgery the following day found that his pectoralis major muscle was torn completely from the bone, estimating at the time to require seven months to a year of rehabilitation. As a result, Cena was stripped of the title by Mr. McMahon on the next night's episode of ECW, ending what was the longest WWE Championship reign in over 19 years. Cena's surgery was performed by orthopedic surgeon James Andrews at St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. Two weeks later in a video update on WWE.com, Dr. Andrews and Cena's physical trainer both said that he was several weeks ahead of where he was expected to be in his rehabilitation at that time.[ Despite his injury, Cena attended the annual WWE's Tribute to the Troops show filmed at Camp Speicher in Tikrit, Iraq on December 7, and aired on December 24.
World Heavyweight Champion (2008–2010)
Cena as one half of the World Tag Team Champions Cena made a surprise return as the final participant of the Royal Rumble match, winning the match, and the traditional WrestleMania title shot, by last eliminating Triple H. Instead of waiting until WrestleMania, the title shot was cashed in against then WWE Champion Randy Orton at February's No Way Out pay-per-view in a match where Cena won by disqualification, resulting in him not getting the championship. The night after No Way Out, Cena was placed back into WrestleMania XXIV's WWE Championship match, making it a triple threat match also involving Triple H, during which he was pinned by Orton. At Backlash, Cena failed to regain the title in a fatal four-way elimination match, in which he was pinned by Orton. Triple H won the title during that match, during which Cena eliminated JBL, renewing their feud from 2005. Cena defeated JBL at Judgment Day and then at One Night Stand in a First Blood match. JBL, however, defeated him in a New York City Parking Lot Brawl at The Great American Bash in July. Cena also failed to regain the WWE Championship from Triple H at Night of Champions.
On the August 4 episode of Raw, Cena became a World Tag Team Champion for a second time, teaming with Batista to defeat Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, but failed to retain the championship the following week against the former champions. Batista defeated Cena at SummerSlam; shortly after, he was named one of four contenders for CM Punk's World Heavyweight Championship in the Championship Scramble match at Unforgiven. He was replaced by Rey Mysterio, however, after Cena suffered a herniated disc in his neck, which required surgery. Cena underwent successful surgery to repair the injury.
Cena made his in-ring return at the November pay-per-view event, Survivor Series, defeating Chris Jericho to win his first World Heavyweight Championship. The two continued their rivalry up to Armageddon, where Cena retained his championship. After defeating JBL at the Royal Rumble, Cena lost the championship at No Way Out to Edge, after Kofi Kingston was attacked by Edge, who took his place in the Elimination Chamber match. Cena was given an opportunity to regain the title at WrestleMania XXV in a triple threat match also involving Big Show, which Cena won.
Cena lost the championship back to Edge in a Last Man Standing match at Backlash after interference from Big Show, who chokeslammed Cena through a big spotlight. This resulted in Cena beginning a feud with Big Show in which Cena defeated Big Show at Judgment Day and at Extreme Rules in a submission match by applying the STFU. During Cena's feud with Big Show, The Miz challenged him to a match on the April 27 episode of Raw, but as Cena was out due to injury, Miz claimed an unofficial win via forfeit and continued to do this over the following weeks, until Cena defeated him in a singles match at The Bash.
Cena as WWE Champion in 2010
At Night of Champions in July, Cena participated in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship, which also involved Triple H and WWE Champion Randy Orton, but he was unsuccessful. Two months later at Breaking Point, Cena defeated Randy Orton for the WWE Championship in an "I Quit" match to win his fourth WWE Championship. At Hell in a Cell, Cena lost the title back to Orton in a Hell in a Cell match. Three weeks later, at Bragging Rights, Cena defeated Orton in a 60-minute Iron Man match. Cena successfully defended the title against both Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match at Survivor Series, but lost it to Sheamus at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in a tables match. While Cena regained the title at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in an Elimination Chamber match, his reign was cut short after Mr. McMahon immediately made him defend the title against Batista, who won the title. Cena defeated Batista at WrestleMania XXVI for the title, and successfully defended it at Extreme Rules, in a Last Man Standing rematch. Cena faced Batista one more time, winning an "I Quit" match at Over the Limit, thus ending their long-time feud.
Feud with The Nexus (2010–2011)
On the June 7, 2010 episode of Raw, Cena was suddenly thrust into a new storyline when during his main event match against CM Punk, he was attacked by all eight former contestants of the first season of NXT, with Wade Barrett as their leader. Punk, his follower Luke Gallows, and other personnel around the ring were attacked as well, but Cena took the worst of the attack and was carried out on a stretcher. This group later referred to itself as The Nexus. At Fatal 4-Way, Cena lost the WWE Championship to Sheamus, in a fatal four-way match involving Edge and Randy Orton, after The Nexus interfered. Cena again lost to Sheamus in a steel cage match at Money in the Bank, after The Nexus again interfered. Cena, in retaliation to The Nexus, formed an alliance with Edge, Chris Jericho, John Morrison, R-Truth, The Great Khali, and Bret Hart. They defeated The Nexus at SummerSlam, with help from the returning Daniel Bryan, a former member of Nexus, who replaced Khali after he was injured.
Cena being forced to read a public address by Wade Barrett while a member of The Nexus
Hoping to end The Nexus, Cena challenged Wade Barrett to a match at Hell in a Cell with the stipulations that if he were to lose, he would join The Nexus. After Barrett defeated Cena, he joined The Nexus, and was forced by the anonymous Raw general manager to follow their orders or be fired. Cena and fellow Nexus member David Otunga defeated Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre to win the WWE Tag Team Championship at Bragging Rights. Later that night, he was forced to help Barrett defeat Orton in a WWE Championship match, giving Barrett the disqualification win, but not the title. The following night on Raw, Cena and Otunga lost the WWE Tag Team Championship to fellow Nexus members Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel, when Barrett ordered Otunga to lay down and lose the title. At Survivor Series, Cena officiated a match for the WWE Championship between Wade Barrett and Randy Orton. Per stipulation, if Barrett didn't win the championship, Cena would be "fired" from the WWE.
Orton defeated Barrett to retain the title, thus terminating Cena's WWE contract (kayfabe). The following night on Raw, Cena gave a farewell speech, before costing Wade Barrett the WWE Championship by interfering in his rematch with Randy Orton. A week later, Cena invaded Raw, first as a spectator, but then attacked members of Nexus, explaining that he would still take down Nexus one by one, despite not having a job in the WWE anymore. On the December 13 episode of Raw, Cena was rehired by Barrett, in exchange that he would face him on December 19 at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in a chairs match, which Cena won.
Cena at Tribute to the Troops in 2010
On the December 27 episode of Raw, The Nexus, minus Barrett, announced they were under new management and offered to bury the hatchet with Cena, to which he refused. The Nexus attacked Cena, leaving a Nexus armband in the ring during the process. As the group retreated, CM Punk, who had attacked Cena with a steel chair twice the week before, came to the ring to apparently attack Cena, but instead put on the armband left behind to symbolically announce his allegiance with The Nexus, becoming leader the following week by manipulating Barrett's banishment from the group. On the January 17 episode of Raw, Cena returned and faced Punk in a match, which ended in a no contest after Cena was attacked by the debuting Mason Ryan, who later joined The Nexus. Cena competed in the 2011 Royal Rumble match at the pay-per-view, which saw Cena eliminate most of the Nexus members, ending his feud with the stable.
Record-breaking WWE Champion (2011–2013)
Cena and The Rock agree to face each other at WrestleMania XXVIII During the same match at the Rumble, Cena made it to the final five before being eliminated by then WWE Champion The Miz, who was not part of the match. Cena won the Elimination Chamber match at the titular pay-per-view to face Miz at WrestleMania XXVII for the WWE Championship.
On the February 21 episode of Raw, Cena replied in rap form to comments made by The Rock the previous week, as The Rock returned as the announced guest host of WrestleMania. That night, Cena was placed into a WWE Tag Team Championship match, with him teaming with The Miz, where they defeated Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater to become WWE Tag Team Champions. However, their rematch clause was immediately invoked and they won the title back after The Miz attacked Cena. After weeks of insults, Cena and Rock finally met, where, after a verbal confrontation, and brief attack by The Miz and Alex Riley, Cena attacked The Rock with the Attitude Adjustment. At WrestleMania XXVII, Cena and Miz fought to a double countout, but The Rock restarted the match and performed a Rock Bottom on Cena, allowing The Miz to retain the title. The next night on Raw, Cena, in response to The Rock "screwing" him out of the title, agreed to face him in the main event of WrestleMania XXVIII, making it the first match to be set up for WrestleMania one year in advance. At Extreme Rules, Cena defeated The Miz and John Morrison to become WWE Champion. Cena went on to successfully defend the title against The Miz at Over the Limit in an "I Quit" match and R-Truth at Capitol Punishment. Cena then began a feud with CM Punk, who was leaving the company at Money in the Bank, where he defeated Cena to win the WWE Championship, and left the company with the title. After Rey Mysterio won the WWE Championship in a tournament, Cena challenged and defeated him later that night to become WWE Champion for a record-breaking ninth time, only to be interrupted by CM Punk, who also claimed to be champion. Punk again defeated Cena at SummerSlam in a championship unification match. After Alberto Del Rio became WWE Champion by cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase, Cena became number one contender and beat Del Rio at Night of Champions to win the WWE Championship for the tenth time. He lost it back to Del Rio at Hell in a Cell, in a triple threat Hell in a Cell match also involving CM Punk. Cena lost his rematch to Alberto Del Rio at Vengeance in a Last Man Standing match, due to interference by The Miz and R-Truth. After a few weeks of Miz and Truth attacking Cena and other employees, Cena was allowed to choose his partner to challenge Miz and Truth at Survivor Series and Cena chose The Rock as his partner. Despite exchanging insults in the following weeks, they defeated Miz and Truth, though Rock closed the show by giving Cena a Rock Bottom.
Cena and The Rock face off at WrestleMania XXVIII
Brock Lesnar faces off with Cena after his return in April 2012
Cena then began a feud with Kane, who cited his disgust for Cena's "Rise Above Hate" slogan and claimed that Cena would need to embrace the hate in order to defeat The Rock at WrestleMania. Cena fought Kane to a draw at the Royal Rumble, and then defeated him in an Ambulance match at Elimination Chamber. At WrestleMania XXVIII, Cena faced The Rock in the main event match which had been building for a year and was billed as "once in a lifetime". The match ended when Cena attempted the People's Elbow on The Rock, and Rock countered with a Rock Bottom for the pinfall. The following night on Raw, Cena accepted his loss and invited The Rock to the ring so that he could congratulate him. However, Cena's call was answered instead by the returning Brock Lesnar, who then attacked Cena with an F-5. This resulted in Cena feuding with the Raw general manager John Laurinaitis, who revealed that he signed Lesnar to bring "legitimacy" to WWE and for Lesnar to become its "new face". At Extreme Rules, Cena defeated Lesnar in an Extreme Rules match. His feud with Laurinaitis escalated after Big Show cost Cena a match against him at Over the Limit, but Laurinaitis was fired at No Way Out after Cena defeated Big Show in a match with both of their jobs on the line. Cena won the Money in the Bank ladder match at the eponymous pay-per-view, earning a contract for a shot at the WWE Championship anytime within a year. At Raw 1000, Cena cashed in his contract on CM Punk, and won the match by disqualification after Big Show interfered, becoming the first person to cash in a Money in the Bank contract and not win a title. Cena's feud with Punk continued into SummerSlam, where Punk defeated Cena and Big Show to retain the title, and at Night of Champions, where they fought to a draw. After being sidelined with a legitimate arm injury, Cena returned at Survivor Series to be pinned by Punk in a match which also featured Ryback. Cena then feuded with Dolph Ziggler over an alleged relationship with AJ Lee and at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, lost to him in a ladder match for his Money in the Bank contract, after AJ turned on Cena. The following night on Raw, Cena teamed with Vickie Guerrero to face Ziggler and AJ in a mixed tag team match which ended in a disqualification after Cena was attacked by the debuting Big E Langston. Cena then defeated Ziggler on the January 7, 2013 episode of Raw in a singles match, and again in a steel cage match the following week, despite interference from AJ and Langston in both matches to end the feud.
On January 27, 2013, Cena won his second Royal Rumble match, and later announced that he'd pursue the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 29. Cena, along with Ryback and Sheamus, began feuding with The Shield, which culminated in a six-man tag team match at Elimination Chamber, where The Shield were victorious. On the February 25 episode of Raw, Cena defeated CM Punk to reaffirm his status as number one contender for the Rock's WWE Championship. He then returned to his rivalry with The Rock, with Cena blaming his personal and professional troubles on his loss to The Rock the previous year, going so far as admitting his own vanity had cost him the match. At WrestleMania 29, Cena defeated Rock in their rematch to win his eleventh WWE Championship and shook hands with Rock as sign of respect. Cena then began a rivalry with Ryback, during which Cena suffered a legitimate achilles tendon injury, while also battling The Shield and facing them in losing efforts. Cena retained his championship against Ryback in a Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules as the match ended in a no contest aftet both men were down for a 10 count. Cena then defeated Ryback in a Three Stages of Hell match at Payback. He defeated Mark Henry via submission at Money in the Bank. At SummerSlam, Cena lost the WWE Championship to Daniel Bryan, with Triple H as the special guest referee. The following night on Raw, Cena announced that he would undergo surgery for a triceps tear and would be out for four to six months.
World championship reigns and high-profile feuds (2013–2015)
Cena returned at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view and defeated Alberto Del Rio to win his third World Heavyweight Championship. Cena successfully defended his championship against Damien Sandow on the October 28 episode of Raw, and Alberto Del Rio in a rematch at Survivor Series. Next, Cena challenged then WWE Champion Randy Orton to unify their respective championships, with The Authority agreeing and arranging for a Tables, Ladders and Chairs title unification match at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view, which Cena lost.A rematch occurred at the Royal Rumble for the now unified WWE World Heavyweight Championship, where Cena lost after being distracted by The Wyatt Family. The Wyatts continued to interfere in Cena's matches, and at Elimination Chamber, caused Cena's elimination in the Elimination Chamber match.
"I know how John Cena feuds tend to work. He loses one match, then wins the next two or three. Look at Rusev and Bray Wyatt as examples. These feuds don't really help talent. They're established... as definitively below Cena. This is a running theme in WWE booking. Owens is... worse off than he would have been if he had never had the second and third matches with Cena".
Pro Wrestling Dot Net analyst Will Pruett in July 2015
After Elimination Chamber, Bray Wyatt accepted Cena's challenge for a WrestleMania match, Wyatt wanted to prove that Cena's heroic act was a facade characteristic of "this era of lies" while further wanting to turn Cena into a "monster". At WrestleMania XXX, Cena overcame interference from Luke Harper and Erick Rowan to defeat Wyatt. The feud continued after WrestleMania based on the story that Wyatt was capturing Cena's fanbase, which was exemplified by Wyatt leading a children's choir to the ring on the April 28 episode of Raw, with the children later putting on sheep masks. At Extreme Rules, Wyatt defeated Cena in a steel cage match, after repeated interference from the rest of the Wyatt Family members and a demonic child. Cena's feud with Wyatt continued with a Last Man Standing match being set up for Payback, where Cena buried Wyatt under multiple equipment cases to win the match.
On the June 16 episode of Raw, Cena defeated Kane in a stretcher match to qualify for the ladder match for the vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank, where Cena won his 15th world championship. Cena then retained the title at Battleground in a fatal four-way match against Roman Reigns, Randy Orton and Kane. At SummerSlam, Cena lost the championship to Brock Lesnar in a squash match, during which Lesnar hit Cena with sixteen suplexes and two F-5s, ending his reign at 49 days. Cena invoked his title rematch clause against Lesnar for Night of Champions, nearly winning before Seth Rollins attacked him to cause a disqualification, although he became the first superstar to defeat Lesnar in two WWE pay-per-view events. Cena then began feuding with Dean Ambrose for the right to face Rollins at Hell in a Cell, but Ambrose won the right by defeating Cena in a No Holds Barred Contract on a Pole match. Cena would instead face Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell match to determine the #1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which Cena won.
On October 27 episode of Raw, Cena rejected The Authority's offer to join forces, which resulted in a 5-on-5 Survivor Series elimination tag match between Team Cena and Team Authority at Survivor Series. Cena's team consisted of Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Erick Rowan and Ryback; at Survivor Series, Show turned on Cena, causing Cena's elimination, but Ziggler eventually won the match for Team Cena with the interfering Sting's help. Thus as per the match stipulation, The Authority were stripped from power and only Cena could bring them back. At TLC: Tables, Ladders, Chairs & Stairs, Cena defeated Rollins in a tables match to retain his WWE World Heavyweight Championship No. 1 contender status. It was then announced that Cena would face Lesnar for the title at the Royal Rumble. On the December 29 episode of Raw, Rollins and Big Show held guest host Edge hostage, forcing Cena to reinstate The Authority. On the January 5 episode of Raw, The Authority added Rollins to the title match at the Royal Rumble involving Cena and Lesnar, and Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan were "fired" for joining Team Cena at Survivor Series. On the January 19 episode of Raw, Cena won a handicap match against Rollins, Big Show and Kane to retain his title shot at the Royal Rumble and win back the jobs of Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan. At the Royal Rumble, Cena was unsuccessful in capturing the title.
United States Champion (2015–2016)
Cena after defeating Rusev for the United States Championship at WrestleMania 31
Following the Royal Rumble, Cena began feuding with then United States Champion Rusev and at Fastlane, Rusev won after Cena passed out to Rusev's submission, the Accolade, after Rusev hit Cena with a low blow following a distraction from his manager Lana. In the following weeks, Cena challenged Rusev to a rematch, which was declined, and Stephanie McMahon decreed that Cena would not compete at WrestleMania 31 unless Rusev agreed to a match. On the March 9 episode of Raw, Cena attacked Rusev, refusing to release the STF submission hold, causing Lana to grant Cena the match. Cena defeated Rusev at WrestleMania to win the United States Championship for the fourth time, marking Rusev's first pinfall loss in the main roster. The following night on Raw, Cena announced that he would issue an open challenge each week on Raw with his United States Championship on the line; he successfully defended his title against the likes of Dean Ambrose, Stardust, Bad News Barrett, Kane, Sami Zayn, Neville, Zack Ryder and Cesaro. Cena retained his title against Rusev in a Russian Chain match at Extreme Rules and a "I Quit" match at Payback. The following night on Raw, Cena was attacked by then NXT Champion Kevin Owens, setting up a Champion vs. Champion match at Elimination Chamber, where Owens defeated Cena, but Cena defeated Owens in a rematch at Money in the Bank. Cena defeated Owens at Battleground to retain the United States Championship and end the feud. Cena then resumed his feud with then WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, with Rollins refusing Cena's challenges for the title. On the July 27 episode of Raw, The Authority forced Cena to defend the United States Championship against Rollins. Cena defeated Rollins despite suffering a broken nose during the match. Cena then faced Rollins in a "Winner Takes All" match at SummerSlam, for both the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and the United States Championship, which Cena lost after guest host Jon Stewart, appearing to side with Cena, instead attacked him with a steel chair, ending Cena's reign at 147 days.
Cena defeated Rollins to win the title for the fifth time at Night of Champions, a record in the WWE ownership era of the title. Cena then retained his title against Rollins the following night on Raw and then in a steel cage match at WWE Live from Madison Square Garden. At Hell in a Cell, Cena lost the title to the returning Alberto Del Rio in an open challenge. After a hiatus, Cena returned on the December 28 episode of Raw, defeating Del Rio by disqualification in a rematch for the title. On the December 31 episode of SmackDown Cena aided Kalisto at ringside to victory against Del Rio. On January 7, 2016, Cena underwent surgery on a shoulder injury, which would keep him out of action for an undisclosed amount of time.
Record tying World championship reign (2016–present)
Cena returned at WrestleMania 32, helping The Rock fend off The Wyatt Family. Cena then made his full return on the Memorial Day edition of Raw on May 30, four months earlier than had been expected for his type of injury. He was confronted by AJ Styles, only to be betrayed by Styles, who joined his former Club teammates Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in attacking Cena. This set up a match between Cena and Styles at Money in the Bank, which Styles won with interference from Gallows and Anderson. On the July 4 episode of Raw, Cena was again attacked by the Club, but was saved by Enzo Amore and Big Cass. Subsequently, a six-man tag team match was made between the two teams for Battleground. On July 19 at the 2016 WWE draft, Cena was drafted to the SmackDown brand, while also defeating Club member Luke Gallows via pinfall in a singles contest. Cena, Amore and Cass defeated The Club at Battleground after Cena pinned Styles. Cena continued his feud with Styles, which resulted in him losing their match at SummerSlam on August 21. With Styles later winning the renamed WWE World Championship, Cena challenged him and previous champion Dean Ambrose in a triple threat match for the title at No Mercy. He lost the match after being pinned by Styles, which came after Ambrose and Cena simultaneously made Styles submit, therefore restarting the match. Cena then took a hiatus from WWE to film American Grit season 2.
On the December 13 episode of SmackDown Live it was announced that Cena would be returning on the December 27 episode. On his return, he addressed rumors about him during the past year, stated that the New Era was "B.S.", and then challenged the winner of that night's championship match, which was AJ Styles, for the again renamed WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. On January 29, 2017, Cena defeated Styles at the Royal Rumble to tie Ric Flair for the most world title reigns at 16, and would enter the Elimination Chamber match as WWE Champion. He was eliminated fourth after a Sister Abigail from Bray Wyatt, who went on to win the championship. Two nights later on SmackDown Live, Cena lost a triple threat match against Wyatt for the championship in a match also featuring Styles. Cena then began a feud with The Miz; after Cena eliminated Miz from both the Elimination Chamber and a 10 man battle royal to face Wyatt at WrestleMania 33, Miz came back in and eliminated Cena. The next week, Miz accused Cena of being a hypocrite due to his movie commitments, while Cena accused Miz of stealing other wrestlers' moves and personalities. Miz's wife Maryse then slapped Cena before Cena and his girlfriend Nikki Bella sent Miz and Maryse retreating. SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan then set up a mixed tag team match between the two pairs for WrestleMania 33, which Cena and Bella won. Cena proposed marriage to Bella after the match, and she accepted.
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