Wrestler of the Day – April 23: John Cena

It’s John Cena. Moving on.

 

Again, there are too many matches to do this in a timeline so we’ll just go with a mix and match of whatever great matches come to my mind in no order at all.

We’ll start with the first World Title, from Wrestlemania XXI.

Smackdown World Title: John Cena vs. John Bradshaw Layfield

JBL gets a police escort for his limo as JBL dollars fall from the sky. Surprisingly enough the champ sends Orlando Jordan and the Bashams to the back before the match. This is one of the rare instances where “My Time Is Now” is very appropriate. It’s a feeling out process to start but Cena runs into a boot in the corner. The champion starts pounding away in the corner and there’s the fallaway slam for good measure.

JBL chokes away on the ropes as this is in very slow mode to start. They slug it out for a bit but Cena charges into a spinebuster to put him down again. A neckbreaker gets two for the champion and a big clothesline gets two on Cena. JBL puts on a sleeper but Cena counters into a belly to back suplex to put both guys down. A double clothesline puts both guys down and we head to the floor for a neckbreaker by the champion.

Back in and JBL puts Cena down with a superplex for a delayed two as the crowd is mostly dead. Layfield goes up but dives into a powerslam for no cover. Cena comes back with his usual stuff including the Shuffle. Cena pumps up his shoes and after ducking the Clothesline, the FU (now called the AA) gives Cena his first of many world titles.

Rating: D. This was a REALLY dull match as JBL was freaking terrible in the ring at this point. He was so slow and lethargic and the match never worked at all. The ending sucked too as JBL didn’t even hit his finisher before taking the FU for the pin. Their rematch at Judgment Day was WAY better as it was a total brawl which suited JBL to perfection.

One of Cena’s biggest rivals is CM Punk, who he faced for the Wrestlemania XXIX title shot on February 25, 2013’s Raw.

John Cena vs. CM Punk

The winner gets the shot at Rock at Wrestlemania. They have a ton of time left too. After some big match intros we’re ready to go. The fans are of course split on Cena as we get some chain wrestling to start. Punk gets in the ropes to break up a headlock before putting on one of his own. A hip toss puts Punk on the floor and we take a break. Back with Punk getting backdropped but popping back up with a clothesline to take control again. A neckbreaker gets two on cena and it’s off to a neck vice.

Cena powers out of it and slams Punk to the mat before hooking a front facelock to slow things down. Off to a headlock instead but Punk shoves him off and hits a leg lariat for two. Off to a CM chinlock now but Cena fights back up. He hits a shoulder block but Punk ducks an attempt at a second. The suicide dive takes out Cena on the floor and we take another break.

Back with Cena escaping an abdominal stretch and hitting the shoulders again. There’s the ProtoBomb but Punk counters into the Anaconda Vice. Cena rolls over into a cover for two but Punk hits a swinging neckbreaker for two more. Sweet sequence there. Cena picks the leg for the STF but Punk makes the rope.

The springboard clothesline gets two more on Cena but Punk loads up a second, only for Cena to step to the side and hook the STF. Punk slips out and puts the Vice on again but Cena counters into a Crossface (called the STF by that lunkhead Cole). Punk rolls backwards into a small package for two and both guys are down again. They slug it out and Cena is getting madder on each punch he throws.

Punk kicks him in the ribs but the high kick misses. There’s the ProtoBomb but Punk kicks him in the head to escape the Shuffle. The GTS is countered into a sunset flip attempt but Punk sits on Cena for two. The bulldog by Punk is countered and there’s the Shuffle. AA is countered as is the GTS but Cena hits a Batista Bomb for two. The place is losing their minds on these kickouts. John goes up top but Punk gets up before Cena can try anything.

Cena blocks whatever Punk is trying and knocks him down, setting up the top rope Fameasser for two. Cena can barely follow up though and the high kick puts in the corner. Punk hits a WICKED running knee in the corner but Cena IMMEDIATELY hits the AA for two. Punk rolls to the floor and Cena has no idea what else he can do here. Cena goes out after him but gets sent HARD into the post. He isn’t moving an inch at nine but is somehow in by ten.

Back in and the GTS gets two and now Punk is ticked off. Another GTS is countered into an STF attempt and even with Punk trying to fight off the hold, Cena locks it in. Punk raises his hand to tap but SOMEHOW gets to the ropes. He kicks Cena in the knee and busts out a piledriver for a VERY close two and we get multiple frustrated covers. Punk goes up top and the Macho Elbow misses, allowing Cena to hit a FREAKING HURRICANRANA and the AA for the pin at 26:32.

Rating: A+. WOW. This doesn’t happen often but I was sitting there watching this match with my jaw hanging open. Those near falls were as good as I have seen this side of Austin vs. Rock at Wrestlemania and I had no idea what they were going to do until the ending. This was a PPV main event for free on Raw and was one of the best TV matches I have ever seen. Absolutely amazing and to people who say “well it wasn’t THAT good”, you’re wrong. Period.

The night after Wrestlemania XXVIII, Brock Lesnar returned to attack Cena, setting up this match at Extreme Rules 2012.

John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar

This is an Extreme Rules match which means they’re in wrestling gear. Well Lesnar is in MMA gear but you get the idea. The fans are more behind Cena than Lesnar. Cena charges right into a takedown and Brock comes at him with the strikes. Cena is cut on the left side of his head. Cena grabs a quick front facelock but Lesnar is WAY too strong. He poundso n Cena even more and the doctor comes in to check the cut. The replay shows that it was an elbow to the head. They close or at least stop the cut and go back to it.

Cena charges in again and Lesnar pounds him right down. Brock hammers on him and knocks Cena to the floor with a knee. The doctors stop it AGAIN to check the cut. Cena hits a quick elbow and tries the FU but Lesnar escapes and hits two rolling Germans. Lesnar’s Gonna Kill You chant. Cena comes back with some elbows and the shoulder block but there goes the referee.

Cena hits the ropes again but Lesnar runs him over. Lesnar goes for the open wound and rubs Cena’s blood on his own chest. Brock throws on an armbar (screw that kimura crap. This is wrestling) and then throws Cena to the floor instead of cranking on it. To the floor and Brock throws it on again but lets it go a second time, throwing Cena into the barricade.

Back in and Lesnar gets Cena’s chain and lock. He puts it down and chains Cena’s feet together. Cena gets up and Brock hits what might have been the hardest clothesline I’ve ever seen. With the legs still tied together, Brock puts him in the Tree of Woe. Brock goes after the referee but Cena escapes. That goes badly again as Brock whips him into the steps. AA is countered again into an F5 attempt but Cena’s legs hit the referee.

A second referee comes out but Lesnar throws him out too. The steps are brought in and Cena says Brock can’t see him. Back into the armbar and this time there’s a body vice. They’re on the steps and the fans care cheering for Cena. He picks Brock up into kind of a spinebuster but his arm is hanging limp. Cena goes up but misses the Fameasser. He was about an inch from hitting the steps too.

Cena rolls to the floor and is spent. Lesnar looks around bur can’t find Cena. He gets up on the steps and sees Cena (hehe) who can barely get back in. Cena gets up on the apron so Lesnar gets a running start from the steps and hits kind of a Poetry In Motion move but crashes to the floor and hurts his knee. He’s fine but Cena has the chain. Brock charges again and Cena gets in the chain shot to clock Lesnar. I think Brock is busted now. Oh yeah he is and Cena’s head has a lot of blood there too. An AA onto the steps gives Cena the pin at 18:05.

Rating: A. WOW. This is going to be a disputed rating but this was an absolute war. Cena got one homerun shot to win it but that’s all he needed. Lesnar dominated about 95% of the match but it was good enough to make both guys look great. Lesnar can come back but Cena has the first win, which sets up a rematch where Lesnar can beat him. I had a blast with this and Lesnar looks AMAZING.

Back in 2002, Kurt Angle issued an open challenge to any future superstar in the back that wanted to make a name for themselves. Cena answered, making his WWE debut on June 27, 2002 on Smackdown.

Kurt Angle vs. John Cena

Angle asks who Cena thinks he is and we hear his name for the first time. Cena says he can do this because of Ruthless Aggression and punches Angle to the floor. Back inside and Cena nails a backdrop followed by a corner splash for two. Another clothesline puts Angle down but he puts on the ankle lock. John rolls through but gets caught in a German suplex. They were flying before that throw.

Another release German puts Cena down but he rolls through the ankle lock into a rollup for two. Kurt hammers away in the corner and gets two more off a belly to belly. We hit the front facelock on Cena but he suplexes his way to freedom. A flying forearm puts Kurt down and a spinebuster gets two. The fans are WAY into these near falls. The Angle Slam is countered and Kurt misses a charge into the post to give Cena ANOTHER two. A powerslam gets one of the closest near falls I’ve ever seen on Angle but Kurt grabs a double chicken wing and holds him down for the pin.

Rating: B. For what this was, I was blown away. The ending worked really well as Angle had to use a quick amateur style move to beat him rather than the big moves he usually put people away with. Cena looked AWESOME out there and hung in there with Angle every move. You give Cena a moveset and he was going to be a star.

That’s an understatement of course and Cena would become a huge star. Another huge star was Batista, who Cena fought at Summerslam 2008.

John Cena vs. Batista

Batista shoves Cena back to start before grabbing a headlock. Cena comes back with a quick slam and Batista stops to take a breather. A big clothesline puts Cena down and a Jackhammer gets two. Cena comes right back with a suplex of his own for two but Batista puts him down with a side slam. A quick FU attempt is countered and Batista goes after the leg. Off to a Figure Four on Cena (just like Flair, he puts it on the wrong leg) who can’t power out so we get a rope grab instead for the break.

Back up immediately and Cena throws Batista to the floor in something resembling an FU before collapsing down. Back in again and Cena fires off the shoulder blocks and the ProtoBomb to set up the Shuffle. The FU is countered again and Batista kicks him in the face to put both guys down. Batista drives shoulders into the corner and catches him in the spinebuster to put Cena down. Cena backdrops out of the Batista Bomb and hits a DDT on the leg to set up the STFU. Batista FINALLY crawls over and gets a rope to shock Cena.

Batista gets up and escapes another FU to hook a rear naked choke of all things. Cena fights out of a hold as well, only to get caught by a spear for a VERY close two. They’re in full on main event mode here and it’s getting very awesome. Cena counters a powerslam into an FU but can’t follow up due to exhaustion. It’s finally good for two so Cena goes up with nowhere else to go.

Batista is up as well and they slug it out on top with Batista being knocked to the mat. Cena tries the Fameasser but gets caught in a Batista Bomb…..for two, plus a neck injury that required three months off (I seem to remember that happening earlier but WWE said it was here). Not that it matters as Batista goes into Animal Mode and ENDS Cena with a Batista Bomb for the pin.

Rating: A-. This is exactly what it was supposed to be: the two top guys in the company going to war with only one left standing. It’s a great fight in the vein of Rock vs. Austin from back in the day. Almost no complaints here and it felt like a major match on a major stage. What else can you ask for here?

Back to Punk now for what might be the match of the decade. From Money in the Bank 2011.

Raw World Title: John Cena vs. CM Punk

And here we go.  Punk has an epic reaction as he’s the hometown boy.  He even has a new shirt.  The crowd is rabid for Punk.  He sits in the ring and is a total face in the eyes of the crowd.  HUGE CM Punk chant goes up as we wait on Cena.  I seriously worry for Cena’s safety if he wins.  OH MAN that heat is ONS levels.  Punk goes out to be near the crowd for Cena’s entrance.  Total stoic Cena here as everything he does is booed out of the building.

They do big match intros and Punk is as over as free beer.  Here we go.  I’m so fired up for this it’s unreal.  TON of time for this too.  Punk grabs a headlock and the YOU CAN’T WRESTLE chants start up.  We actually do some chain wrestling and Cena is booed out of the building for a snap mare.  They do some obvious spot calling while Cena has a headlock.  Punk tries to fire off a spin kick but Cena ducks.

YOU CAN’T WRESTLE chants start up and Punk points at himself and asks the fans if they mean him.  Punk almost gets an Anaconda Vice but Cena reverses into an armbar.  They’re working slow here but that’s perfectly fine given that they have over 45 minutes if need be.  Jerry tries to make Punk out to be the heel here and it’s just failing completely.  There’s the duel and it’s all CENA SUCKS rather quickly.

Even Cole is against Punk here.  Headlock goes on again as Cena has mostly controlled here, but we’re only like 5 minutes in.  Hip toss by Punk sets up a dropkick and Punk speeds things up a bit.  There’s a headlock of his own and Cena is down.  We reference Montreal because that’s just what we do here in WWE.  Punk does You Can’t See Me to Cena and they both try their finishers but it’s a stalemate.

HUGE CM Punk chant goes up which is par for the course tonight.  Punk goes for the knee and takes over again.  Cena fires back with the bulldog for two.  Off to a front facelock and Punk shakes his finger no.  I’ve never seen as many spots called in a single match.  Cena hits a clothesline and Punk might have lost a tooth.  Off to an arm trap chinlock which is close to a Crossface with Cena on his back.

Punk gets up and suplexes his way out of it for two.  Cena does a Bret Hart chest to the buckle bump which gets two.  All Punk at this point.  Cena gets something going and hits a release fisherman’s suplex for two.  AA is reversed again and Punk gets a quick DDT for two.  Triangle choke goes on Cena and we slow it down again.  It seems like they’re saving energy.  They’ve been at it nearly ten minutes and it’s 10:22 so that’s a very likely scenario.

Cena counters out of it but Punk throws him to the floor.  Punk teases going up but just climbs out instead.  The fans applaud Punk just for picking Cena up.  The fans chant for Colt Cabana and there’s a knee to the back of the neck of Cena while he’s hanging off the apron.  That gets two back in the ring.  Punk charges at Cena but his arm hits the post to buy Cena a few seconds.

And never mind as Punk hits a clothesline for two.  Back to the chinlock as this needs to go a long time since the rest holds are getting a bit boring.  There are actually some Cena chants and Punk comes off the middle rope with a spinning cross body.  Cena might have hurt his knee as he’s going to the apron a bit.  Punk goes after him but can’t suplex him back in.  Cena manages to suplex him to the floor and the fans clap for a bit.

I think the knee was a work as he’s not even holding it at the moment.  Oh wait yes he is.  That was more or less an FU off the apron.  Back in the ring that gets two as he’s rubbing the knee now.  He can stand on it and hits another release fisherman’s.  Elbow drop gets two.  Cena sets for what looks like a powerslam but flips Punk forward into a sitout slam for two.

It’s only 10:30 and they’ve been going at it over 15 minutes.  The knee looks fine.  It’s boo/yay time and the yays are winning it.  We go WAY old school with an abdominal stretch.  HE EVEN HOOKS THE LEG PROPERLY!  Punk hip tosses out of it and it’s a double clothesline to put them both down.  Cena up first and he initiates the ending sequence.  The Protobomb is reversed though and Punk gets the loudest reaction for a rollup you’ll ever here.

Protobomb hits this time but You Can’t See Me results in a kick to the head.  Suicide dive takes Cena down and the fans erupt again.  Punk high fives a fan while he’s still on the ground in a cool moment.  Punk misses a cross body and now he Can’t See Cena.  Five Knuckle Shuffle hits at about 20 minutes.  AA is countered and Punk uses his martial arts for two.

Punk is looking towards the entrance and smiles for no apparent reason.  GTS is loaded up but Cena counters into a gutwrench suplex for two.  Punk fights back with some knees to the jaw and a bulldog.  Springboard clothesline gets two and the fans are still totally into this.  The replay shows how sweet those knees were.  Out of nowhere Cena grabs the STF and Punk is in trouble!  Oh of course he makes the rope but it takes awhile for him to get there.

As Cena goes for Punk again he gets caught in the side of the head with a big old kick for two.  Cena rolls through a cross body but the AA is countered into the GTS but Cena grabs the leg and the STF is back on again!  Punk can’t make the ropes but Cena pulls him back to the middle again.  Cole says it’s a matter of time and he’s right.  It’ll just be multiple more minutes because Punk manages to counter from the mat into the Anaconda Vice.  SWEET!

Cena gets back up there’s the AA for TWO.  This is getting awesome as they used the slow build.  I’m glued to my screen which hasn’t happened since a few years ago with Taker vs. Shawn.  Top rope legdrop is countered via something like a powerbomb for two.  Punk almost Hulks Up and says it’s time to Go To Sleep.  He loads it up but Cena grabs the rope and clotheslines him on it.

The top rope legdrop hits this time but it only gets two.  These kickouts are incredible.  They’re not going to end the match but they’ve built it up so well and the audience being so into them is making up the difference.  Cena is getting his 19th wind and looks like he wants the AA.  It hits clean again and PUNK KICKS OUT.  Cena tries an AA off the middle rope but Punk fights out of it.

He manages to get a top rope hurricanrana but Cena goes to the corner to escape.  Corner knee sets up the GTS and Cole is scared to death.  The knee only hits the ribs and Cena manages to fall out of the ring instead of being in pinning position.  And here’s Vince with Johnny Ace.  The distraction lets Cena get the STF and Vince sends Johnny Ace to ring the bell.  Cena hits the floor and blasts Ace, saying he doesn’t want it that way.  Vince and Cena have a staredown in the aisle and Cena says it’s my way.  He charges back into the ring and there’s the GTS and PUNK WINS!

Rating: A+. Excellent match as I’m sure you got here as the whole thing came off as completely epic.  Cena almost had to lose here due to the sake of his own safety.  Vince screwing himself over is a great thing because that’s how it had to be.  Great stuff here and the show ending with Punk being as popular as anyone imaginable is excellent.  Awesome stuff here and an awesome show.

Cena’s biggest title run was in late 2006 to late 2007. Here’s how it started at Unforgiven 2006.

Raw World Title: Edge vs. John Cena

Oh and it’s TLC. Let the Vince hardon begin. No coat for Edge here which is weird. BIG pop for Edge. I really want to see him as a face again. It might have helped to have him be a face for more than like two months or give him more than just shouting SPEAR over and over again. They start booing before Cena’s music even hits. Nuclear heat on Cena.

I love having the ladder and chair set up on the tables around the ring. That’s always a perk for some reason. Cena just being a two time champion is great. You can barely understand Lillian over the pop for Edge. Ross makes a good point and asks what Buddy Rogers would think of a TLC match. I’d counter with what would he think of the belt that spins with a big R on it.

LOUD booing for a simple headlock. This crowd is awesome. Impaler hits but since it’s not 2000 anymore that move is just average. I’ve never gotten that: how can a move like that just lose its power? Cena goes into some chairs and Edge is loudly cheered. You’ll get used to that tonight. Ladder time as Edge is mostly dominant. I’m getting tired of me saying things and then them changing immediately. A hip toss puts Edge onto a ladder and the American takes over.

It has always confused me a bit how people always talk about experience in these kinds of matches. How much experience do you need to climb a ladder? Sunset powerbomb through the table is kind of botched as the table isn’t there so they hit mat instead of table. A powerslam does it instead. These matches are hard to review as you kind of always wind up just listing off spots and it gets rather repetitive.

Edge runs up the ladder and hits a dive over the top to take out Cena which looked awesome. One man Conchairto is avoided by Cena, resulting in the cheering from fans over the lack of massive head trauma. STFU with Edge inside a ladder, which actually would hurt which is nicer than the figure four around the leg which wouldn’t really add a lot of pain I don’t think.

Cena hits an FU on the ladder. As in the ladder was across his shoulder and landed on Edge who was on the mat. Edge takes over again and sets Cena on a table then sets up another table on top of that. Nothing happens with it though, so I’d bet on that being the big finish. The BIG ladder is brought out and Edge is down, so Cena has to inch up the ladder.

SPEAR to take Cena off the ladder. It’s not quite the one to Hardy but it’s not bad at all. They fight over big spots near the ladder and Edge hits the floor. Cena almost gets the belt but Lita makes the save and Cena takes a big old fall to the floor and through a table. Lita messes up though and causes Edge to go flying through a table as well. FU to Lita and it’s time for Miley Cyrus’ big song from last year.

The double stack table is set up again but for no apparent reason at all as Edge is down on the floor and Cena is capable of climbing. Both guys on are the ladder and in a fairly famous visual now, Edge takes the FU off the ladder through two tables. Cena grabs the belt, which he would hold for the next full year plus.

Rating: B. I thought a higher grade at first but this feels more right. It’s definitely a good match and worthy of being a PPV main event, but it just feels kind of anti-climactic. Cena defies the odds again and wins the title? It’s not bad or anything but it just lacks that spark I guess you would say. Very intense match though with some very nice big bumps. This is worth checking out.

Speaking of 2006, here’s the main event from Backlash 2006.

Raw World Title: John Cena vs. HHH vs. Edge

Cena is defending if that wasn’t clear. HHH is the huge crowd favorite. The girl I was with was a huge Cena fan so I was for Edge all night. Well I liked Edge so it wasn’t completely because of her. Edge tells the other two to go at it and heads to the floor. That’s cool with HHH and Cena as they slug it out, won by the champion. Some shoulders take HHH down and there’s the release fisherman’s suplex for two. Edge makes the save and bails right back to the floor.

Cena punches the Game some more but walks into the high knee which gets two and some applause. Edge makes another save and heads right back to the floor. HHH and Cena finally have enough of the Canadian and they both go after him. Cena clotheslines Edge to the floor and takes turns with HHH ramming Edge into the announce table. This is awesome as it turns into a contest to see who can do it harder. Edge goes into the table about 10 times and looks mostly dead.

All three go back in but HHH throws Cena to the floor. Cena pulls HHH off the apron and rams his face into said apron. A top rope splash gets two on Edge and Cena loads up the Shuffle, only for Lita to pull the rope down and send Cena to the floor. HHH rams Cena into the steps and goes back in for a facebuster on Edge. The knee to the face gets two as does the spinebuster.

Edge counters a suplex and hits the Edge-O-Matic for two. HHH shrugs that off and puts on a sleeper but Edge reverses into one of his own. We have a Cena chant as he gets both guys up for the FU at once. That blew my mind at the time and he didn’t even hit the move. Edge gets off the top and spears Cena down while HHH is still in the FU position, giving the Game a Samoan Drop from Cena. Cool spot.

HHH and Edge head to the floor and HHH gets catapulted into the post to bust him open. Edge DDTs HHH on the table, leaving blood everywhere when the table doesn’t break. That made me cringe in the arena. HHH is COVERED in blood. Back in and Edge dropkicks Cena for two. He spears Cena in the corner but Cena counters the regular one into the STFU. Edge is about to tap but HHH pops up and blocks the hand from coming down and hits Cena in the head with the mic to break the hold.

HHH caves Edge’s head in with a chair shot, knocking him into the crowd. He heads back inside and walks right into the STFU just like at Mania. There is blood everywhere. HHH keeps his arm up (there need to be more arm checks from the referees. I miss those) and finally makes the rope. FU is countered into a Pedigree but that’s countered back into the STFU. Edge breaks it up and there goes the referee.

Cena tries to FU Edge from the middle rope but HHH gets beneath Cena to make it a modified Tower of Doom. Everyone is down so Lita brings in a chair. She charges at HHH with it but walks into a spinebuster which got a big pop in the arena. HHH gets the chair but throws it down. Instead he pulls out the sledgehammer but Edge spears him down. Edge gets the hammer but Cena loads him into the FU. HHH breaks that up with a low blow but the Pedigree to Cena is countered into a rollup for the pin to retain.

Rating: B+. This was WAY better from this perspective as I wasn’t all that impressed when I saw it live. This was actually an awesome match with a great blade job from HHH and almost non-stop action. Cena getting another win over HHH was another big step in his push towards the top of the company as he wasn’t quite there yet. This was a great match and it really impressed me on a second viewing.

Cena defended the title the next year at Backlash as well.

Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton

One fall to a finish. This is coming off the one hour match between Shawn and Cena on Raw. Shawn talks trash to Cena to start and it turns into a four way argument. Rated RKO yells at the other two until the other two hammer Rated RKO to the floor. Shawn immediately chops Cena into the corner. John comes back with a release fisherman’s suplex for two.

The other two come in and have a staredown of their own. They slug it out with Orton dropkicking Edge to the floor. Cena throws him back in and this time it’s Orton going to the floor, only to be beaten up by Shawn on the other side of the ring. All four head outside now and it’s only Edge on his feet. Shawn slams him down and goes into the ring for a moonsault onto all three guys. That always looks great.

Shawn and Edge get back into the ring but they clothesline each other. Cena comes back in and hits a double top rope Fameasser to take both guys down, getting two on Edge out of it. He goes to cover Shawn but Orton takes his head off with a clothesline. Orton throws out the guys with long hair and hits the backbreaker on Cena for two. A knee drop gets the same and Orton sends Cena shoulder first into the post.

Cena goes to the floor and it’s Shawn taking his place. Forearm and nip up follow but Edge spin wheel kicks him down for two. Orton is mad at Edge now but they team up to put down both guys. Cena gets sent into the table and it’s 2-1 on Shawn in the ring. They both grab a leg and put on what I guess you would call a double half crab. With Shawn in trouble, Cena comes in to take out both guys and save Shawn.

Cena cleans house and hits various signature moves on various opponents. Edge takes the Protoplex and Shuffle after everyone else has been shouldered out. Shawn Orton pull Cena out to the floor and send him into the post, followed by Shawn putting Orton into the same post. Shawn loads up a piledriver onto the table to Orton but Edge cracks him with a chair to break up it. Orton gives him a thumbs up and takes a chair shot for his efforts.

Edge comes into the ring and tries to use the chair on Cena but gets caught in the STF instead. Edge makes the rope and Orton comes in to replace him in the same hold. Shawn comes back in and almost gets caught in the STF but instead it’s a small package on Cena for two. Shawn clears out the ring other than Cena who takes the top rope elbow for two. He loads up the superkick but has to dodge an Edge spear. Edge goes down and the top rope elbow hits him as well.

Orton comes in for the same move but Cena breaks it up before Shawn can jump. Cena tries an FU on Shawn off the top but gets caught in a double electric chair drop off the top with Shawn crashing even harder. Edge and John are the only ones left in the ring but all three of the FU attempts fail. Orton and Shawn come back and it’s an RKO for Michaels. That gets two as Cena saves, as does the Edgecution on Cena. Everyone but Shawn tries finishers on everyone but only Edge hits a spear on Orton. Cena FU’s Edge and gets superkicked onto Randy for the pin. That was a great finish!

Rating: B+. I was really getting into this at the end and Cena getting superkicked down into the pin was a great way to keep everyone looking strong. The ending was so fast that I gave up trying to keep up with everything that was happening. It didn’t come off as a huge main event but at the same time it wasn’t supposed to. Very good stuff here though and everyone came off looking great.

It wouldn’t be Cena without a Wrestlemania main event. Here’s one from Wrestlemania XXIII.

Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels

Remember that they’re tag champions here but neither guy wears the belt. I can’t say I blame them of course. Cena’s special entrance this year is driving a muscle car from “the parking lot” into the arena due to being in Detroit. They circle each other to start before Shawn slaps him in the face. A quick headlock doesn’t do much for Shawn so he uses his speed advantage to pop John with some right hands. Back to the headlock and it works a bit better this time as Shawn takes Cena down to the mat.

Cena has had enough of this defense thing and rings Shawn’s bell with a clothesline. Shawn is sent to the apron but he tosses Cena from the ring and out to the floor. A BIG chop staggers Cena but Shawn’s Asai Moonsault hits mostly table and Shawn is hurt. Luckily for him though Cena is even more hurt as they head back inside. Shawn chops away in the corner before going after Cena’s knee. The leg is wrapped around the post and Cena is in trouble. The referee asks Cena if he can continue and of course Cena says yes.

Shawn keeps kicking at the leg before wrapping it around the ring rope. With Cena down in the corner, Shawn stares straight at him to play even more mind games. Back up and John hits a big right hand to send Shawn flying across the ring. Shawn charges straight back at him with a shoulder into the ribs in the corner to keep control. Michaels charges again but Cena’s leg gives out and Shawn goes head first into the post, busting him open.

Cena has had enough of getting beaten up so he punches Shawn down before firing off some mounted right hands. The ProtoBomb and Shuffle hit but Shawn punches his way out of the FU. Cena is sent into the corner but manages to duck Sweet Chin Music. The referee isn’t so lucky though and is knocked senseless. Cena tries the FU but is countered into a DDT to put both guys down.

With no referee in sight, Shawn rolls to the floor and hits a sick piledriver onto the steps. The THUD when Cena’s head hit was a little scary. The back of Cena’s head is cut open BAD on top of that. Back in and here’s a second referee but the count only gets two. There are the forearm and nip-up as the blood flows down Shawn’s face. The top rope elbow connects but Cena blocks Chin Music with a big clothesline to put both guys down again.

They slug it out in the middle of the ring but the FU is countered again into a sunset flip for two. Shawn’s leap frog is caught in the FU but Cena is too banged up to cover. The very delayed cover gets two and the champ is getting frustrated. With nothing else to do he tries an FU off the top, only to be shoved off by Shawn. Michaels dives at Cena but gets caught in the FU position. He counters that as well though by landing on his feet, only to miss the superkick and have Cena try for the STFU. Cena keeps trying for it but gets small packaged down for two instead.

Shawn misses an enziguri attempt and now the STFU is on. Cena cranks back on it but Shawn is only a few inches away from the rope. As Shawn starts to black out he grabs the rope and Cena has to break. He takes a bit too long though and gets in an argument with the referee, allowing Shawn to kick Cena’s head off. Another delayed cover gets two and both guys are down. In a cool spot, both guys have to lean on the other to get up. The FU is countered again but Shawn can’t avoid the STFU again. Cena cranks back on it and Shawn has no choice but to tap out.

Rating: A-. This was a much better match than the HHH match from the year before for a few reasons. First of all, there was a story behind the match. As simple as it was, Shawn being Cena’s partner gave them a bond and seeing them fight was something interesting to see. Second, the drama was better here. Cena felt like he was in real trouble and that the title was in danger, which I never felt last year. It’s a better match overall and they would have even better ones in the future.

Let’s try another Angle match, this time from No Mercy 2003.

John Cena vs. Kurt Angle

Cena does a quick rap implying that Kurt is stupid and has a small penis. Oh and he’s gay. Cena as a totally disrespectful young punk is an interesting character for him. Angle is here as the old veteran that’s going to beat respect into Cena. Kurt takes him to the mat and runs him all over the place. Cena gets to the corner and looks terrified. The fans chant for Cena as the fans are still starting to like him here.

John runs him over a few times but Kurt easily takes him to the mat and works on the arm again. Angle ducks under a right hand and flips Cena a double bird. Cena comes back with a HARD clothesline and gets to the ground and pound. Angle comes back with a shoulder to the ribs in the corner but a second one hits post. Neckbreaker gets two for Cena. Protobomb gets the same and it’s off to the front facelock.

The dueling chants begin and Angle fires off some punches but he walks into a spinebuster for two. Cena goes up but Angle runs the corner. He gets knocked off so Cena jumps off with a double ax, but Angle dropkicks the knee on the way down. I can’t believe it: Angle actually hurting the leg before the ankle lock. Kurt wins a slugout and hits a Russian legsweep for two. He grabs the ankle lock but Cena grabs the rope immediately.

Out to the floor but they’re back in before I finish typing that sentence. They slug it out on the apron and Angle tries to German him off to the floor. Cena counters and DDTs him (landing on the shoulder) onto the apron to put Kurt down. Angle staggers back in but Cena dives off the top with the Fameasser for two. Kurt comes back with a German but Cena dropkicks Kurt’s knee out. Throwback gets two.

Cena misses a charge and it’s time for the the Rolling Germans which get two. Kurt can’t follow up so Cena hits a Buckle Bomb for two. The FU hits but Angle gets out at 2.9. I know the finish to the match already and even I thought that was going to be three. Another FU is countered into the Angle Slam but Cena gets out at two as well. Cena gets the chain but has them taken away. Gold medals to the head get two. Another FU attempt is countered into a backslide for two. FU is countered into the ankle lock and Cena taps. There’s something you don’t see everyday.

Rating: B+. It’s Cena vs. Angle for 18 minutes. What were you expecting here? Cena was nowhere near as good as he’d get but you could see the abilities here that were about to shine through. The near falls in this were great and it was clear that they had something special with Cena. He would turn face by Mania and would win the US Title there and the world title the next year.

Now for what might be my favorite Cena match ever. From Judgment Day 2005.

Smackdown World Title: John Bradshaw Layfield vs. John Cena

This is I Quit. Cena comes out on the back of a flatbed truck and with a DJ playing his theme song with turntables. Cena walks on top of JBL’s limo to tick Bradshaw off even more. Loud Cena chant to start us off which you rarely hear anymore. JBL makes the referee hold up both belts and now we’re ready to go.

We start with some technical stuff but there’s a ton of time to go so this is going to have time to get brutal. Arm drag by Cena and he works on the arm. JBL hits the floor which is enough to give him the advantage. Back in some clubbing forearms and a DDT put Cena down. JBL covers for no count because there are no pins in this. Cena fights back and gets a clothesline to send him to the floor.

Out to the floor and Cena rams his head into the steps. JBL manages to send him into the railing and we go out into the crowd. DDT on the floor and Cena is down. I keep thinking this is last man standing for some reason. Back into the ringside area and JBL sets up the announce table. Cena fights back so JBL returns the favor and sends him into the steps.

Bradshaw steals the belt, as in what you hold your pants up with and not the championship version, from the timekeeper. Cena is choked around the post by the belt, which I think is exactly what would happen in the match at Breaking Point with Orton. Bradshaw takes him onto the table and yells at him to quit. The powerbomb doesn’t work as Cena backdrops him through the other table.

Monitor to the head of JBL has him in trouble. It’s so weird to hear Cena cheered this loudly and universally. And then the fans are silenced by a huge chair to the head. Steps to the side of the head and Cena needs to be asked already. Brutal stuff so far. OH MAN Cena is busted wide open. JBL has a mic and they head back into the ring. Three extra special super finisher clotheslines from JBL and Cena is reeling.

Cena still won’t quit so JBL grabs Cena’s chain. The champ tries to fight up but a low blow puts him down again. Bradshaw asks him some more but the champ fights back and stands up with the blood dripping down his face. Five Knuckle Shuffle to JBL is followed by the FU. Bradshaw gets up and tries to leave. They head towards the limo and Cena gets a Protoplex onto the hood.

They both head on top of the car and JBL gets a weak swinging neckbreaker on the hood also. They head over to the production area but Cena won’t give up. He manages to send JBL into a TV head first. I have never seen Cena bleed like this in his career. Now JBL goes into the window of the limo. To the top of the car and Cena gets a suplex before ramming him into the door of the car.

Now he breaks the door of the car off and lifts it over his head. JBL is just trying to run now. They head over to the flatbed truck and Bradshaw gets rammed into an air canister or something like that. DDT on the truck by JBL out of nowhere but he still won’t quit. They go over to a speaker and JBL tries to choke him again. Cena finds a microphone somewhere and drills JBL in the head with it to save himself and put JBL through a table.

The champ goes over to the flatbed and rips the smokestack off and comes at JBL with it with a look that scares me to death in his eyes. JBL sees him coming and gives up out of fear. Cena hits him with it anyway, which I would have gone with as the ending but the other one worked too. Cena poses in the ring with the title to end the show, still covered in blood.

Rating: A. THIS is what you call a star making performance. This was an absolute war with Cena standing there covered in blood for the majority of the match and having it cover his upper body. He looked like a warrior out there that wouldn’t give in no matter what. The look of fear on JBL’s face was excellent as well and Cena was absolutely terrifying at the end of the match coming at JBL with that big pipe. If you want to see Cena go nuts and have his version of the street fight at the 2000 Rumble, find this match. Find it anyway as it’s pretty easily JBL’s best ever and probably in Cena’s top 10 if not higher.

Now for one of the big ones. From Raw on April 23, 2007, John Cena’s 30th birthday. This is a rematch from Wrestlemania 23, less than a month earlier.

Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena

There’s almost an hour to go in the show so you know this is going to be something good. Shawn works on the shoulder to start but Cena counters with a headscissors into a stalemate. They do the exact same sequence and then try it again, but Cena goes for a drop toehold which Shawn escapes. Another STFU attempt sends Shawn running to the ropes. Cena is very pleased that he got that close.

Cena tries to grab the leg this time but Shawn makes the rope. They get in each others’ faces and it’s a slugout. Back from a break and the fans are getting way into this. Cena takes him down with a headlock instead which lasts for a good while. A big clothesline takes Shawn down and it’s chinlock time. Shawn pops back up and is immediately clotheslined back down.

Sweet Chin Music is avoided and the FU is countered by Shawn heading to the floor. We take another break and come back to Shawn getting in a shot in the corner. He’s mostly the heel in this but it’s not full fledged. They speed things up and Cena hits a World’s Strongest Slam for two. Release fisherman’s suplex gets two. Throwback gets two. They slug it out and Shawn counters a suplex into a neckbreaker for two.

Another slugout results in the flying forearm by Shawn. He nips up and hammers Cena down and goes to the corner for the elbow. It hits but instead of covering Shawn stomps the mat for the Chin Music. Cena ducks and Shawn grabs a quick backslide for two. The shoulder block misses and Cena may have hurt his shoulder on the crash to the floor. Shawn dives over the floor but Cena catches him in mid-air and slams him into the steps.

Back from break #3 and they’re both in the ring again. It should be noted that we’re probably half an hour into this and Cena looks FINE. He doesn’t look tired, he doesn’t look winded, he doesn’t even look sweaty. That’s almost scary. Cena charges into the post and Shawn has a target. He hooks a combination hammerlock/abdominal stretch on the mat before driving in some knees on the arm.

Cena shrugs off most of it and starts his finishing sequence, taking Shawn’s head off with a clothesline. The Shuffle hits but the FU is countered into Chin Music attempt into the FU for a VERY close two. We take another break and come back with Cena throwing Shawn to the floor. Cena rams his back into the post and we head back inside. Delayed vertical suplex gets two.

Bearhug time which is proof we’re in a big match as you almost never see a face use one of those. Shawn fights out of it but gets thrown over the corner and out to the floor. Back in Cena hits the top rope Fameasser which seems to be a new move for him. They go to the corner for a superplex but Cena instead tries an FU off the top, which Shawn counters into a powerbomb off the top to put both guys down.

Out to the apron and Shawn knocks him face first into the announce table. The look on his face says THAT REALLY HURT! Out to the floor and Shawn loads up a piledriver on the steps but Cena backdrops him onto the floor as we take I think break number five. Back with them on the announce table and Cena is all fired up. Back inside Cena hooks the STFU but it’s not cranked on perfectly.

Shawn makes the rope and we cut to some cheering girl in the crowd. Shawn looks a bit dead but Cena is waiting for the FU. Shawn pops up with the Chin Music but Cena tries the FU again. That gets reversed and Chin Music hits for a very delayed two. They slowly get up and Cena tries the FU again but Shawn slips down the back and hits the second Sweet Chin Music for the pin at 55:49. Unless there’s some house show match that I don’t know of, that’s the longest regular one on one match in the WWE/F since 1981.

Rating: A-. It’s certainly not a masterpiece or even anything close to one, but considering they just went an hour, you have to give them bonus points. Cena looked fresh as a daisy 40 minutes into this which is more proof that he isn’t human. This is also a loss that doesn’t hurt Cena because it wasn’t like he got beat but rather that he got caught. Very good match and the time aspect of it is remarkable. This match is on the Heartbreak and Triumph DVD.

Is there anything else that could close this out? This is Cena’s moment, from Wrestlemania XXVIII. I’ll throw in the pre-match stuff as a bonus.

And now, it is time.

We recap Rock vs. Cena which is at least a year in the making. Something like seven years ago Cena insulted Rock in an interview, so when Rock came back to be guest host last year, he insulted Cena in his return promo. The night after Wrestlemania, Cena had challenged Rock to a one on one match at THIS Wrestlemania. This led to a year of build (minus six months for Rock to make a movie of course) which got me to the point where I HAD to see this match. I didn’t know if it was going to be great, if it was going to suck, or somewhere in between, but I needed to see it. That’s never happened to me as a fan before.

Diddy comes out to bring out MGK (a rapper) to perform some song called Invincible. He does this stupid monologue about how Cena is a huge underdog in this, despite Cena being active having more experience overall than Rock. Cena is booed out of the building but gives something to an old lady who apparently is related to some Hall of Famer. We should be ready for Rock’s entrance, but first we need Flo-Rida to perform two songs. I remember SCREAMING to get to it at this point. Oh and Flo has a bunch of dancers with him, presumably the same girls who were in the Bridge Club ten minutes ago.

John Cena vs. The Rock

Rock’s ovation is thunderous. There’s really no other way to put it as it’s very clear who the fans are for here. During the big match intros, Cena is booed even further out of the stadium. They stare each other down and FINALLY the bell rings. Cena shoves him away to start and the dueling chants begin. They lock up again and this time Cena goes flying. Rock grabs a headlock before they fight over arm control.

A few armdrags put Cena down and a cradle gets a quick two for Cena. Cena has to make sure it wasn’t three as he looks a bit shaken. Back up and John leapfrogs over Rock before taking him down with a headlock takeover. They get up again and Rock tries a quick Sharpshooter but Cena bails to the floor. Rock decks him as he gets back in but Cena charges at him in the corner with a hard shoulder to the ribs. Cena gets a quick one count off a clothesline before putting on a bearhug on the mat.

Back up and Rock punches away but gets low bridged out to the floor. Cena drops him ribs first onto the barricade and announce table before going to the ring for a seat. When Rock won’t quit Cena throws him back inside and gets a two count. We’re definitely in another gear now. Off to a bearhug on Rock’s bad ribs but he won’t quit. Rock finally comes back with right hands to escape and a DDT for two.

Rock wins a quick slugout and hits the spinebuster but Cena picks the leg to break up the Elbow. Cena comes back with his finishing sequence but the AA is escaped. A double clothesline puts both guys down as they take a breather. After a few moments on the mat they slug it out with Cena punching Rock down to his knees. Rock fires off more punches and does You Can’t See Me before trying the spit punch, only to get caught in the AA for a close two.

Cena goes to pick Rock up but takes the Rock Bottom for two for the Brahma Bull. Rock stomps away in the corner but walks into a side slam for two. John goes up top for a very delayed top rope Fameasser for another near fall. Rock comes back with a spinebuster into the Sharpshooter but he doesn’t have it on well. Cena crawls to the rope so Rock lets go and pounds away. Back to the Sharpshooter (why don’t more people do that? Even if Cena won’t quit you can still do more damage) but Cena makes the rope immediately again. Gee maybe if he had pulled Cena from the rope it would have been harder to escape.

Rock fires off some elbows to the chest and sends Cena into the steps for good measure. Back inside and Cena tries a sunset flip of all things but immediately shifts into the STF in the middle of the ring. Cena drags him back to the middle of the ring and Rock is starting to fade. We get an old school arm check and Rock holds it up on the third drop. I love stuff like that. Rock makes it to the ropes and as they get back up, Cena walks into a Samoan drop to put both guys down.

Another slugout goes to Rock and the spinebuster sets up the Elbow……for TWO. The place is losing their minds on these kickouts and can you blame them a bit? Both guys are spent here but Cena hits a catapult into the corner for two. With nothing left to try, Cena loads up the middle rope AA but Rock shoves him off and tries a top rope cross body but Cena rolls through into the BIG AA for an even closer two. Cena begs the referee to call it three. That gets him nowhere so Cena loads up a People’s Elbow. As he hits the second rope, Rock nips up and hits the Rock Bottom for the shocking pin.

Rating: A+. What else do you want from this? This is one of those matches which could have gone either way as they beat the tar out of each other. They had the big fight atmosphere down to perfection here and while the ending is still questionable (yet not completely wrong), it’s exactly what you want a Wrestlemania main event to be. This somehow surpassed the hype and was excellent in every sense of the word.

I don’t think I need to explain John Cena to you.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of on the History of Clash of the Champions at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J58H5CY

And check out my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6

14 comments

  1. Killjoy says:

    He’s the Jesus Christ of wrestling. Period.

    ted Reply:

    What does that mean exactly?

    Killjoy Reply:

    Worshiped by some, hated by others. He sacrifices himself for what he loves (wrestling) no matter what.

    Jerichoholic94 Reply:

    Interesting reference but after hearing your explanation you’re totally right..

    ted Reply:

    So he’s a guy who’s worshiped for being a false idol?

  2. M.R. says:

    Easily going to be the most decorated wrestler of all time.

    ted Reply:

    No matter what he accomplishes he will never have complete universal acceptance. It’s actually a shame he should be in the top 10.

    Killjoy Reply:

    Wait until he retires. He will be an all time great. If not THE greatest. He’s already outlasted Stone Cold and is more decorated than Hogan.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Not the greatest of all time. Top 5 though.

    ted Reply:

    That might be true but will he really go down as the greatest? Will fans say he was the best there ever was? it’s opinion so it’s doubtful.

    ted Reply:

    Killjoy can think that Cena is the greatest. Personally I think Savage is. But to each their own:)

    Cockadoodledoo Reply:

    no wrestler has had complete universal acceptance. some are just more liked than others.

    cena is one of the greats despite what internet fans say

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Fans that haven’t seen Austin or Hogan might say he’s the greatest. He’s certainly one of them.

  3. M.R. says:

    He’s undoubtedly on the Mount Rushmore of wrestling already and still has probably a decade left in his career.