Monday, March 5, 2012

Wrestlemania: John Cena

John Cena (WWE)
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter

Yesterday we kicked off the Wrestlemania record series with The Rock. Today we take a look at The Rock’s opponent at Wrestlemania 28, John Cena. John has had an interesting career path. He debuted as a generic nobody who would color coordinate his ring gear to whatever city he was competing in that night. After a throwaway gimmick of dressing as Vanilla Ice during a Halloween episode of Smackdown, Cena evolved into the thug life rapper who would free flow insults towards his opponents. As WWE transitioned to more of a PG kid friendly product, Cena became the king of the poop jokes and the modern day Superman. This character change led to the majority of male fans over the age of 18 to turn on Cena and a rise in “Cena Sucks” chants. Instead of discussing the evolution (or devolution) of John Cena, lets take a look at what Cena has accomplished during his nine Wrestlemania appearances.

While he was in Seattle for Wrestlemania 19, John Cena didn’t appear on the actual pay per view. Cena came out during Sunday Night Heat to do a battle rap on cardboard cut outs of Jay Z and Fabolous. I don’t remember how this came about and for some reason I want to say the original plan was to have a rap battle between Cena and Ludacris, but I can’t find anything to back that up so maybe I’m just making it up. Here’s video of Cena’s rap. It’s interesting to see how much edge Cena has lost since becoming the dominant face of WWE.

John Cena Wrestlemania 19 rap by PWF

Cena vs. Big Show
Much like The Rock, John Cena’s first Wrestlemania match was for a secondary title. Only instead of defending the title, Cena challenged the Big Show for the United States title at Wrestlemania 20 in the opening match of the night. Cena captured the US title after finishing the Big Show with two FU’s, (Attitude Adjustments). This was eight years ago but yet whenever Cena gives Big Show, or Mark Henry or Kane an AA, the announcers are still amazed. That’s just one of my little pet peeves with WWE announcing.

Cena beats JBL
After a year of defending the US title and almost winning the Royal Rumble, John Cena was ready to take the next step on the ladder. In the co-main event, Cena challenged JBL for the WWE title at Wrestlemania 21. This was the first of seven straight title matches at Wrestlemania. Cena prevailed, capturing his first of 12 World championships.

By the time Wrestlemania 22 rolled around the Cena backlash had kicked in something fierce. Cena defended the WWE title against Triple H and I have to admit I was surprised at how anti-Cena and how pro-Trips the crowd was during the match. The ending to the match was pretty shocking as I don’t think anyone expected Triple H to tap out. Two trivial points from the match, Cena came to the ring mimicking 1920’s era Chicago gangsters. One of the gangsters was CM Punk. This was the first Wrestlemania, Kevin and I attended. If you have the DVD during the opening shots of the crowd look close and you can see us dressed as the Spirit Squad.

Defeating one member of Degeneration X was enough for Cena. Wrestlemania 23 saw Triple H’s teammate Shawn Michaels step up and challenge Cena. Shawn put up a fight, but at the end of the night, Cena walked out of Detroit with the title still around his waist.

Triple Threat WM 24
John Cena’s streak of defending the WWE title came to an end at Wrestlemania 24. Instead of going in as the champion, Cena found himself in the role of challenger along with Triple H as they fought Randy Orton in a triple threat match. Not only did Cena’s streak of defending the title come to an end, his four year winning streak also ended as Orton pinned Cena to retain the title.

John Cena faced a mild case of Déjà vu at Wrestlemania 25. Once again he entered a triple threat match as challenger. This time his opponents were World Champion Edge and Cena’s first Wrestlemania casualty, The Big Show. Remember my announcing pet peeve from earlier? The ending to the match saw Cena give a double Attitude Adjustment to Big Show and Edge. This was impressive and unique.

Cena vs. Batista (WWE)
John Cena and Batista both won their first WWE and World titles at Wrestlemania 21. Wrestlemania 26 saw Batista defending the WWE title against Cena. This would have been better as a first time meeting, unfortunately WWE ruined that by having the two fight in a quickly thrown together match at the previous year’s SummerSlam. After a grueling back and forth match, history repeated itself as Cena walked out of the Phoenix desert as WWE champion.

Another year, another WWE title match with John Cena as challenger. Wrestlemania 27 saw The Miz surprise everyone first by still being WWE champion when Wrestlemania rolled around and then by walking out of the show still champion after beating John Cena. The record book may say The Miz won but there will be an asterisk next to the result. The match technically ended with a double count out. The Rock, who was the Wrestlemania host, came out and demanded the match be restarted. Before any action could be taken, Rock delivered a Rock Bottom to John Cena allowing The Miz to eek out a victory.

The Rock interferes (WWE)
The interference of The Rock led to Cena coming out on Raw the next night and challenging the Rock to the “biggest match in Wrestlemania history” in the Rock’s hometown of Miami at Wrestlemania 28. For the first time in eight years, John Cena will not be in a title match at Wrestlemania. I do have a feeling though the match with the Rock will be the main event.

John Cena is 6 and 2 at Wrestlemania. Not a bad record. Especially considering every match has been a title match. I don’t know if any other wrestler has a streak that long in Wrestlemania history. Unless the rumors are true of a possible Rock/Cena rematch at Wrestlemania 29, I would not be surprised to see Cena back in a title match next year.

Do you have a favorite John Cena Wrestlemania match? Do you want to see him back in the title hunt after Wrestlemania? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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