Love him or hate him, WWE fans must respect John Cena.
After more than a decade competing in WWE rings, the West Newbury, Massachusetts native has proven himself as one of the
greatest Superstars to ever lace a pair of boots (or sneakers). En route, he has also become the most polarizing personality
in the history of professional wrestling. In nearly every arena he enters, the leader of the Cenation is regularly showered
with chants of "Let's go Cena!" followed by "Cena sucks!"
Before becoming a WWE mega-Superstar, Cena excelled as a Division III All-American offensive lineman at Springfield College,
where he also earned a degree in Exercise Physiology. Following graduation, Cena briefly worked the counter at a Gold's Gym
before choosing a career in professional Wrestling.
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After only one year of experience, Cena's chiseled frame, charismatic personality and endless in-ring potential caught
the eye of WWE, who immediately swooped in and signed the prototypical grappler to a developmental contract.
Cena quickly worked his way through WWE's developmental system and graduated to the SmackDown roster in the summer of
2002. With a thick steel chain around his neck and baggy jean shorts hanging low from his waist, the WWE newcomer projected
a thug-like identity that was impossible to overlook. Cena complimented his street-tough appearance with never-before-heard
freestyle rapping skills. It wasn't long before WWE's newest bad boy earned the nickname "Doctor of Thuganomics."
Over the course of the next year, Cena proved his worth by toppling many of WWE's top names, including Kurt Angle, Undertaker
and Eddie Guerrero. With such an impressive won-loss record to his credit, Cena was in line for the biggest opportunity of his
career to date: A United States Championship Match against Big Show at WrestleMania XX.
With the help of his brass knuckles, Cena chopped the giant Big Show down to size on his way to capturing the United States
Championship. The victory proved to be the first of many WrestleMania moments for John Cena.
In 2005, there was no denying Cena his time to shine as WWE's premiere Superstar. Early in the year, he defeated Orlando
Jordan, Booker T and Kurt Angle in a No. 1 Contender's tournament. The victory earned Cena an opportunity at John "Bradshaw"
Layfield's WWE Championship on the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania 21.
With a sold-out STAPLES Center in his corner, Cena permanently etched his name in the annals of professional wrestling when
he dropped JBL with an Attitude Adjustment to claim the WWE Championship. To prove his reign was no fluke, the new champ
followed his WrestleMania victory with another win over JBL at Judgment Day. This time, Cena did it in
one of wrestling history's most gruesome "I Quit" Matches.
With the WWE Championship strapped firmly around his waist, Cena's star began to shoot higher and faster than any other
Superstar in recent times. Before long, the champ's time was in high demand. When he wasn't competing in the ring, he was
making personal appearances; and when he wasn't making personal appearances, he was training or traveling or in the recording
studio making his debut album, You Can't See Me, which debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard charts.
Through it all, Cena also managed to find time to redesign the WWE Championship from its traditional look into what is
regularly referred to as the "spinner belt." Wrestling traditionalists gasped at the idea OF altering the most elite championship,
but Cena simply shrugs off the naysayers, claiming his business is evolutionary and must move forward to survive. His defense:
Go back and watch an old match from the 1950s and compare it today's action. It's evolved; so should the title.
Cena proudly carried the WWE Championship into 2006. His first big test came at January's New Year's Revolution
when he defended the gold against Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels, Kane, Carlito and Chris Masters in an unforgiving Elimination
Chamber. Despite having the odds stacked firmly against him, Cena never backed down and walked away from the grueling half-hour
affair with the win.
Shortly after the match, however, a beaten and battered Cena was forced to defend the title yet again when Edge emerged to
cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase. The exhausted champ was no match for the well-rested Rated-R Superstar. Less than
two minutes into the contest, Cena and his title reign fell victim to Edge's lethal spear.
For Cena, the loss marked the end of his amazing nine-month reign atop WWE. Luckily for him, however, he only had to wait
three weeks before gaining revenge on Edge and reclaiming the title at Royal Rumble.
Around the same time, the movement that has become known as the "Cena divide" began to gain steam. Some of the Cena
cheers transformed into boos. But the more anti-Cena fans booed, the more Cena supporters cheered. It eventually turned
into a giant circle of deafening sentiment, both for and against, showering down on the champ.
In June 2006, however, there was no circle of sentiment. When Cena defended the WWE Championship against Rob Van Dam
at One Night Stand in front of a venomous ECW crowd, there was only one reaction Cena elicited: "Cena sucks!" The
ECW faithful were so anti-Cena that they even rejected the champ's merchandise when he threw it into the crowd as a souvenir.
Cena suffered a discouraging loss at One Night Stand but it failed to derail him. By year's end, he reclaimed
the WWE Championship for a third time. He went onto to hold the gold longer than anybody in many years. In the past three
decades, only Hulk Hogan's WWF Championship reign in the 1980s exceeded Cena's 380 days.
Unfortunately for Cena, a torn right pectoral tendon put a premature end to his epic title reign. The injury required
surgery and a six-month rehabilitation period. But after only three months, a determined Cena made a shocking return to
win the 2008 Royal Rumble. The win not only added "Royal Rumble winner" to his accomplishments, but also led to a WWE
Championship Match at WrestleMania XXIV against Triple H and belt holder Randy Orton.
Cena was unable to regain the gold at WrestleMania XXIV and later that same year, a herniated disc delayed his
continued pursuit to return to the top. When Cena finally returned in November 2008, he made a huge splash by doing something
he had never done before: He won the World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Chris Jericho at Survivor Series.
Cena topped Edge and Big Show at WrestleMania XXV to tack a second World Heavyweight Championship reign to his credit
before turning his attention back to the WWE Championship. In September 2009--three years after last losing the WWE Championship--
Cena turned back Orton in a thrilling "I Quit" Match to finally regain the title.
The victory gave Cena his fourth reign with the WWE Championship. Reign No. 5 also came at Orton's expense, while a victory
over Sheamus awarded Cena his sixth run at the top. WrestleMania XXVI was the historic backdrop for Cena's thrilling
victory over Batista and his seventh WWE Championship reign.
With plans of tying Triple H's then-record of eight WWE Championship reigns, Cena challenged The Miz for the gold at WrestleMania XXVIII.
But the event's host, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, had other plans for Cena. Toward the end of the match, Rock flattened
Cena with a Rock Bottom, allowing The Miz to pick up the win. The controversial conclusion to the match set the wheels in
motion for the epic year-long rivalry with The Rock, which culminated with a victory at WrestleMania XXVIII.
Despite all the championship success, Cena wanted nothing more than to defeat The Rock in a "Once in a Lifetime" encounter
at WrestleMania XXVIII. In the months leading up to the epic matchup, each Superstar tossed psyche-crushing barbs
at the other but neither man backed down. As WrestleMania approached, it became clear that neither man would be broken
by mere words. Their score was to be settled in the ring.
Unfortunately for Cena, The Rock got the best of him at WrestleMania. Like a man, however, Cena dusted himself
and accepted defeat the next night on Raw. Members of Cenation applauded their leader's humility and recognize that
regardless of the outcome of any one match, John Cena is, and always will be, one of the greatest WWE Superstars of
In part two of John Cena reflecting on his decade of dominance in WWE, the twelve-time world champion reveals that he
dislikes being formally recognized as the sport-entertainment promotion's premiere Superstar.
"I just do the best I can do. I hate those words like "face of the company" or "flagbearer." I hate that. I'm just the best
that I can be," said Cena. "And, I take great pride in that people want to come after me. I'm always ready for a fight.
I'm me, I'm the best me I can be, and we've put together a pretty good ten years and I'm hoping for ten more."
Cena also discusses bringing back his "Doctors of Thuganomics" persona during his rivalry with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
"That whole year-long with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, there were little moments of thuggery in there," Cena said. "I
thought it was really cool. It gave a different approach to me validating my position right next to Dwayne Johnson. He seems
to claim that he's the best ever (to) hold the microphone. I seem to dispute that title."