While John Cena's net worth is publicly unknown, Celebrity Net Worth claimed in 2012 that WWE's top Superstar possessed a net worth of $35 million dollars
Suffering from large left elbow bursitis (a baseball's worth of fluid in the elbow) as a result of a torn triceps, John Cena announced following SummerSlam in 2013 that he would be taking a hiatus from the squared circle to undergo surgery
John Cena
John Cena
John Cena
John Cena

John Cena

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!" (Continue Reading ») | (Nikki Bella Discusses Her Relationship With John Cena ») | (Why Doesn't John Cena Turn Heel? ») | (Listen To John Cena's Theme Song »)


Growing up in West Newbury, Massachusetts, seven-year-old John Cena became an instant wrestling fan. Hulk Hogan, The Iron Sheik and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper captured his imagination and ignited the spark that would set him on a course to WWE stardom. As a child, he and his buddies would wrestle in his basement, emulating their WWE heroes. They put on shows and even made title belts out of computer paper.

At Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, Cena continued to follow the professional wrestling industry, but turned his athletic pursuits to the football field. All his peers played football, and even though he didn't love the sport at first, he played because his friends did. A bit undersized at just over 200 pounds, Cena nevertheless excelled playing center.

Upon graduating from high school, Cena enrolled at Springfield College in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. He considered entering the military, but didn't want to lose any of the size and strength that he had worked so hard to build during his high school days - the very same reason why he didn't wrestle in high school. At Springfield, he bulked up to 240 pounds - large by normal standards, but still small as far as football centers go. His size didn't prove to be a detriment, though, as he played standout football for one of the better Division III schools in the United States.

After graduating from Springfield in 1998 with a degree in exercise physiology, Cena moved to Southern California. Tired of the long, cold New England winters, he moved to sunny California. He took a job moving exercise equipment and worked 75 hours per week.

"Basically, my job sucked," Cena recalled in a 2002 interview. "It was the worst job ever."

While working this thankless job, Cena took his first active steps towards becoming a WWE Superstar. One of his friends was a wrestler for the Rick Bassman-operated Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW), which at the time was associated with WWE. Cena enrolled at UPW to learn how to wrestle. "It was a great opportunity for me to be seen," says Cena. "I wasn't any good, and I bless the WWE Talent Relations Department for seeing something in me. They gave me a chance."

Cena wrestled for UPW from November 1999 through early 2001, when he was signed to a developmental contract by WWE and sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) in Louisville, Kentucky for further seasoning. There, Cena's athletic background and physique, along with his tireless work ethic both in the ring and in the gym, had people calling him the prototypical wrestler. Thus was born "The Prototype," Cena's persona in Ohio Valley Wrestling.

Following his arrival in the minor league outfit, Cena formed a relationship with Rico Constantino, who was attempting to be a role model for the fans. Constantino dubbed the chiseled upstart "The Perfect Man." While the people of Kentucky didn't take to Rico and Cena's condescending attitude there was no doubting their success. The charismatic duo captured the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship and ruled the division for much of 2001.

Cena's knowledge and ability grew by leaps and bounds in Louisville. The atmosphere for learning was perfect, and for someone with a passion for the professional wrestling industry.

"John came from California, we got him really early on in his career, but you could tell he was a natural," says Jim Cornette, who partially owned Ohio Valley Wrestling during Cena's time in the promotion. "I thought he would actually be this generation's version of a Ric Flair. He was a heel then, and he was so cocky, arrogant and good looking - he had the physique and the genetics, he could talk, but they decided to go a different direction with him and he got over just as big on the other side."

Following Constantino's promotion to the main WWE roster to become the personal stylist to Billy and Chuck, Cena blossomed on his own. "The Perfect Man" became the perfect champion, winning the OVW Heavyweight Championship from Batista, who was then known as Leviathan, on February 20, 2002. His reign would be short-lived, as he was promoted to WWE's main roster on the June 27, 2002 edition of SmackDown!.

Few WWE Superstars have had as impressive a debut match as Cena. Selected to wrestle Kurt Angle the very day he was promoted from Ohio Valley Wrestling, the rookie nearly pulled off the impossible by dethroning the Olympic Gold Medalist. In the end, Angle's ability and experience proved too much, and the West Newbury, Massachusetts native ended up on the short end of the stick. But Cena's performance turned heads; he had made his mark and proved that he was no ordinary rookie.

Before Cena's SmackDown debut in Chicago, Illinois, Cena was told two things: He had a match that night, and he needed to get a haircut. It all happened so fast that Cena didn't have time to get nervous. He rushed out to get his haircut and by the time he returned, he had to prepare for his match. The match itself was so fast-paced that he didn't have time to think, and the fans were so loud that he moved into that zone where nervousness cannot enter. His debut turned out to be much easier than he ever thought it could be.

"I'd like to take my hat off to Kurt Angle," remarked Cena in an interview shortly after the match. "He's a tremendous athlete and one of the most professional guys I've ever met. It's incredible being in the ring with such a talent."

Following the event, Cena appeared as a babyface and began feuding with Chris Jericho. In a tag team affair, Cena partnered with The Undertaker to defeat Jericho and Angle on the July 11, 2002 episode of SmackDown. Cena rolled up Jericho for the victory, and defeating the former Undisputed Champion again at Vengeance on July 21, 2002. In October, Cena aligned himself with Billy Kidman and participated in a tag team tournament to crown SmackDown's first WWE Tag Team Champions - they lost to the team of Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle. On the following week's episode of SmackDown!, Cena blamed Kidman for the loss since the former WWE and WCW Cruiserweight Champion had tapped out to Benoit's Crippler Crossface. Cena effectively turned heel in his subsequent match with Kidman by cheating to win with his feet on the ropes.

Cena was already growing by leaps and bounds in the ring by that time, and was given television exposure with the likes of Angle and Undertaker, but he still needed that extra something to make his appearances memorable. On the way home from an overseas tour of the United Kingdom, Cena was sitting in the back of the plane, getting back to his second nature - freestyle rapping. Little did Cena or anyone else know that with a little time-killing rapping on a long flight home, all the pieces were about to come together for the youngster.

"I was just freestyling on the plane and I just kept going and going - I was in a zone," Cena said. "Someone heard it and passed it on. Soon I was asked to do it again for the creative team, and then it all started on the Halloween party on SmackDown! [in which Cena was dressed as Vanilla Ice and first broke out his rhymes for television]. It's just grown from there."

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."

Rhyming and rapping wasn't new to WWE, as anyone who recalls Men on a Mission or Road Dogg's intros will tell you. Cena was given free rein to create his own rap promos denigrating the most popular WWE Superstars on SmackDown and, combined with the "old-school" pro sports gear he donned to the ring, he quickly found himself with one of the most overbearing - and entertaining - personae in WWE.

The rhymes are all original. Once Cena finds out who he will be competing against, he retreats to the upper levels of whatever arena SmackDown is in that night and creates. The cheap seats are what Cena calls "The Lab," and it's where his years of freestyling are put to good use.

And, although his rhymes and obnoxious TV demeanor earn him a cascade of jeers from fans, Cena believed he was delivering an important message through his persona.

"It's entertaining, but it's not something corny like Men on a Mission," Cena remarked. "You can get with it if you really like hip-hop. I put forth a lot of effort into my lyrics and make them funny and entertaining at the same time, but they're also creative. The younger generation can get into it. Hip-hop is mainstream now, whether people like it nor not. As much as some want to make it thug, it's mainstream. There are a lot of non-street-raised kids out there now listening to hip-hop. Although people take the gimmick for a joke, it's just a good image to show those kids that you don't have to be a gangsta or a thug. You can come out, and if you've got skills, show your skills. You've just got to back up what you stand for and get behind it.

"I grew up in a small town, I went to a $30,000 prep school, I have a college degree," Cena added. "I don't drink or do drugs. I've never hustled for anybody or stolen anything from anybody. But I've got skills. I have a degree in exercise physiology from Springfield College. And I don't care who knows that."

"If people want to say that I'm not down and I'm not a thug, no, I didn't have to rob and shoot people to get where I am. But I can rock the mic, so give me the opportunity to rock the mic. Respect the art form rather than [say], 'You have to have a thug background to be in the rap game.' That's just what I'm showing the kids, which is something different."

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 all-time.

Why Doesn't WWE Turn John Cena Heel Already?

John Cena
John Cena is the unquestionable face of the "PG Era"

Fans have been loudly booing John Cena for nine years now. Why doesn't WWE bow to public demand and turn Cena heel to capitalize on the hostility?

One word: money. A Cena heel turn would deter many young children from following the WWE product, which would result in a sharp decline in Cena-related merchandise sales and adversely effect ticket sales, pay-per-view orders and other aspects of the business too.

One could argue that a heel Cena would be far more interesting and versatile than the current version, and that a villainous/cool Cena character would enable WWE to achieve growth in ways that would offset most if not all of the aforementioned decreases. Some have even theorized that the existing Cena character, who dresses like a six-year-old and sells like Spongebob Squarepants, is holding the company back, and a heel Cena could attract a whole new audience to WWE.

However, WWE earns so much money from babyface Cena merchandise (and has done so since 2005) that it is not willing to take the risk of turning him.

If WWE can create another character whose merchandise sells in similar quantities as Cena-related goods, then a Cena heel turn might be feasible - Daniel Bryan could not and it's too early to tell whether Roman Reigns will be able to. Until that day comes, basic economics dictates that it will not happen.

If it even does.

(See More Photos of John Cena)

Why Is John Cena Being Portrayed As Old?

Rusev and Lana "honor" the career of John Cena

John Cena is clearly the biggest star in WWE today. No one comes close to the stardom he brings into the company every day. He is WWE’s golden boy who can literally do no wrong. Honestly, he is the best ambassador WWE has ever had and many hope he stays in a similar role when he finally does retire. However, his retirement is not coming any time soon. Or is it?

WWE has been using “old man” to describe John Cena lately in his rivalry with Rusev. Clearly Cena is not as young as other stars in the WWE today, but he is only 37 and can pass for younger than that in most eyes.

According to this week's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, many people within WWE think that portraying Cena as an “old man veteran” is a very bad idea. One source noted it as “shockingly bad” as far as the direction WWE is taking his character, the source claims that they are shocked Cena is even going along with it. Cena is a WWE yes man, so he will do whatever they ask him to do up to a point.

To add to this, the reason Cena is being portrayed in this manner is because WWE officials want him to appear vulnerable, not to mention come off more “likable.” They also want more heat on Rusev.

So what does the future hold for Cena? The idea for the last few years has been to involve him less and less in the main event scene. This is especially true during WrestleMania season. WWE feels having a match with Cena is a big deal for any talent. That said, Cena is too big to keep out of the main event picture because when he shows up on a card, his name alone sells people. While WWE obviously wants to build a "new Cena" for the future, past history indicates they'll continue to squeeze as much as money as they can out of him.

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