AboutMe John Felix Anthony Cena (born April 23, 1977) is an American professional wrestler, hip hop musician and actor. Im signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), wrestling on its RAW brand, where Im the reigning WWE Champion. In WWE, Im also a three-time United States Champion and a one-time World Tag Team Champion.
Before being called up to the main WWE roster, I trained in and wrestled for Ultimate Pro Wrestling and Ohio Valley Wrestling, winning the top titles of both promotions.
Aside from professional wrestling, I have released the rap album You Can't See Me, which debuted at #15 on the US Billboard 200, and starred in the movie The Marine. I have also made appearances in television shows including Manhunt, Deal or No Deal, MADtv, and Punk'd. Most recently, I was a contestant on Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, where he made it to the final round before being eliminated, placing third in the overall competition.
Cena was born on April 23, 1977 in West Newbury, Massachusetts the second eldest of five brothers – Dan, Matt, Steve and Sean. He graduated from Cushing Academy before attending Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. In college he was a Division III All-American center on the football team, wearing the number 54, which is still used on some of his WWE merchandise. He graduated from Springfield in 1998 with a degree in exercise physiology pursuing a career as a bodybuilder, as well as working as a chauffeur for a limousine company before becoming involved in professional wrestling.
Cena first started training to become a wrestler in 2000 at the California-based "Ultimate University" operated by Ultimate Pro Wrestling. Once he was placed into an in-ring role, he began using a semi-robotic character known as the The Prototype. Some of this period of his career was documented in the Discovery Channel program Wrestling School. While in UPW, Cena held the Heavyweight Championship for just shy of a month in April 2000. In 2001, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) signed him away from UPW, placing him under a developmental contract and assigning him to their "farm territory" Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he continued his training. During his time there, he wrestled as both The Prototype and Mr. P, and he held the Heavyweight Championship for three months and the Tag Team Championships (with Rico Constantino) for two.
World Wrestling Entertainment
Cena's first televised WWE match was in answer to a (kayfabe) open challenge by Kurt Angle on June 27, 2002. Inspired by a speech given by WWE CEO Vince McMahon to the rising stars of the company, exhorting them to show "ruthless aggression" to earn a place among the legends, Cena took advantage of the opportunity and almost beat Angle by kicking out of his Angle Slam and enduring the ankle lock submission hold. However, he ultimately lost to a hard, amateur-style pin. Following the near-win, Cena became a face and was put into a program with Chris Jericho. In October, Cena and Billy Kidman joined forces to take part in a tag team tournament to crown the first WWE Tag Team Champions of the SmackDown! brand, but lost in the first round. The next week, Cena (kayfabe) turned on and attacked Kidman, blaming him for their loss.
Shortly after the Kidman attack, on a Halloween themed episode of SmackDown!, Cena dressed as Vanilla Ice and performed a freestyle rap for Stephanie McMahon during a backstage segment. The next week, Cena received a new gimmick: a rapper who cut promos in rhyme. As the gimmick grew, he adopted a variant of the 80s WWF logo—dropping the "F"—along with the slogan "Word Life" as his "signature symbol". Moreover, he was joined by an enforcer, Bull Buchanan, who was rechristened B-2 (also written as B² and pronounced "B-Squared"). Buchanan was later replaced by Rodney Mack under the moniker "Red Dogg," though he was sent to the RAW brand in February.
For the first half of 2003, Cena sought the WWE Championship and chased the reigning champion, Brock Lesnar, performing weekly "freestyles" challenging him to matches. During the program, Cena unveiled a new finishing maneuver: the FU, a Fireman's carry powerslam, so named to mock Lesnar's F5. He got a match against Lesnar at April's Backlash by winning a #1 contenders tournament, but did not win the title. He finished out the year by engaging in worked feuds with Brian "Spanky" Kendrick and Kurt Angle. However, he suddenly joined Angle on a winning Survivor Series team at the annual November pay-per-view.
2004–2005 In early 2004, Cena participated in the Royal Rumble match at the annual January pay-per-view event, making it to the final six participants before being eliminated by Big Show. After the Rumble, The Big Show and Cena began a program together where they feuded because of Show's elimination of Cena during the pay-per-view, during which Cena won the United States title from him at WrestleMania XX in March. During his reign, he came into contention with SmackDown! General Manager Kurt Angle over issues arising with René Duprée and Torrie Wilson. The reign ended just shy of four months when, on July 8, he was "stripped" of the belt by Angle after he (kayfabe) accidentally knocked him over. He won the title back by defeating Booker T in a "best of five" series that culminated at October's No Mercy, only to lose it to the debuting Carlito Caribbean Cool the next week. After the loss to Carlito, the duo began to "feud", during which Cena was (kayfabe) stabbed in the kidney while at a Boston area nightclub by Carlito's bodyguard, Jesús (this was only an angle or storyline). The "injury" kept Cena out of action for a month, during which Cena was legitimately (in reality) filming his feature film debut The Marine. Immediately on his return in November, he won the US title back from Carlito, then debuted a "custom made" spinner style title belt.
Cena took part in the Royal Rumble in January 2005, this time making it to the final two. He and RAW brand wrestler Batista went over the top rope at the same time, ostensibly ending the match (in what is called a worked finish). However, Vince McMahon appeared on stage and continued the match in "sudden death", and Batista eventually won. The next month, Cena defeated Kurt Angle to earn a spot in SmackDown!'s WrestleMania 21 main event, beginning a "feud" with WWE Champion John Bradshaw (JBL) Layfield and his Cabinet in the process. In the opening stages of the feud he lost his US belt to Cabinet member Orlando Jordan, who proceeded to "blow up" the spinner version with JBL and return a more traditional style belt. When Cena and JBL met at WrestleMania, the title switched hands, giving Cena his first top title in the company. As part of the storyline, he then had a spinner WWE Championship belt made, while JBL took the original belt and claimed to still be WWE Champion. Cena reclaimed that belt following an "I Quit" match at Judgment Day in May, putting a stop to JBL's claims for good.
Cena's SmackDown! tenure came to a close on the June 6, 2005 RAW, when he became the first wrestler selected by General Manager Eric Bischoff in the annual draft lottery. On arriving on the RAW brand, Cena entered a program against Bischoff when he refused to participate in his "war" against the upcoming Extreme Championship Wrestling reunion show. With Bischoff vowing to make Cena's stint on RAW difficult, he "hand chose" Jericho to take Cena's title from him. During their feud, even though Cena was portrayed as the face and Jericho as the heel by working for Bischoff, a vocal section of live crowds nonetheless chose to boo Cena during their matches. More crowds followed suit during Cena's next feud with Kurt Angle, who took over as Bischoff's hand picked #1 contender after Cena beat Jericho in a (kayfabe) "You're Fired" match on the August 22 RAW, sending him off the show. As the feud continued and the dissenters grew more vocal, sometimes seeming to outnumber fans by wide margins, the WWE announce team was forced to acknowledge the boos on television and began calling Cena a "controversial champion", claiming some people disliked him on account of his "in-ring style" and his chosen fashion. Despite the mixed and negative reactions, Cena held on to his Championship through his feud with Angle, losing to him by disqualification—for which titles do not change hands in WWE—at Unforgiven in September and pinning him at Survivor Series in November. The feud with Angle also saw Cena add a secondary, submission based, finishing maneuver to his repertoire – the STFU (a Stepover Toehold Sleeper, though named for a Stepover Toehold Facelock) – when he was "forced" into a (Triple Threat) Submissions Only match on the November 28 RAW.
Cena lost the WWE Championship at the first WWE pay-per-view of 2006, New Years Revolution, but not in the Elimination Chamber match that he had been advertised to participate in beforehand. Instead, immediately after winning the Elimination Chamber, he was (kayfabe) thrust into a match against Edge, who cashed in his Money in the Bank contract — a "guaranteed title match at the WWE Champion of the owners choosing" — and after two quick spears pinned Cena for the title. Cena's championship reign ended at 280 days, matching the length of previous champion JBL. Just three weeks later, Cena won the title back at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. After winning the Championship back Cena was put in to a program with Triple H, during which the crowd again seemed to boo the intended face — Cena — and cheer the intended heel — Triple H. The negative reaction only intensified when he faced Rob Van Dam (also cashing in a Money in the Bank contract, his won at WrestleMania 22) at ECW One Night Stand in June. Broadcast from the Hammerstein Ballroom — one of the former mainstays of Extreme Championship Wrestling, the crowd of mostly "old school" ECW fans, greeted Cena with raucous jeering and chants of "******** you, Cena", "You can't wrestle", and "Same old s**t" — the latter two references to his supposed "five moves of doom". When he began peppering different moves into the match the fans responded with a chant of "You still suck". Cena lost the WWE Championship for the second time in 2006 at One Night Stand, being pinned by Van Dam after interference from Edge.
In July, after Edge won the title from Van Dam in a Triple Threat match that also involved Cena, it re-ignited the feud between he 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" belt, this one with his logo placed on the spinner. Cena eventually won the Championship back in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at September's Unforgiven pay-per-view, in a match that had an added stipulation that had Cena lost he would leave the RAW brand and go to SmackDown!. He returned his version of the spinner belt on the very next night's RAW. On the heels of the Edge program, Cena was placed in an inter-brand angle to determine the so-called "Champion of Champions" — or which was the most dominate champion in WWE's three brands.Cena, King Booker (SmackDown!'s World Heavyweight Champion), and Big Show (ECW's World Champion) engaged in a mini-feud leading to a Triple Threat match at Cyber Sunday in November, 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 Perez. After getting into a (worked) physical altercation with Federline on RAW, Federline appeared at Cyber Sunday to hit Cena with the World Heavyweight Title belt during the main event Triple Threat match, helping King Booker retain his title. 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. In 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 to FU him. During their feud Cena ended Umaga's "undefeated" streak at New Year's Revolution before Umaga caused a (worked) injury to Cena's spleen, putting a scheduled Last Man Standing rematch at Royal Rumble in (kayfabe) jeopardy. The match did, however, take place and Cena retained his title.
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 the team the Championship in the second of two 10 team battles royals by throwing Cena over the top rope and eliminating the team, clearing the way for The Hardys (Matt and Jeff) to take the title. 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 title by attacking and "laying out" all three of the top contenders before assaulting Cena himself and stealing the physical 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 May's Judgment Day and then by pinfall at June's One Night Stand.