John Cena first started training to become a wrestler in 2000
at the California-based Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW) where he
created the character, The Prototype. After UPW he was signed to
a World Wrestling Entertainment developmental contract and
assigned to "farm territory" Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW).
During his time in OVW, John Cena also appeared on the UPN reality show Manhunt under the pseudonym "Big Tim Kingman", the "lead hunter" in a team "hunting" contestant with paint ball guns. The show was produced in association with WWE. It was later revealed that many of the scenes in the show were re-shot or staged to enhance the drama, contests were rigged to eliminate contestants, and other contestants read from scripts. As a result of the controversy, WWE has never referenced the show or John Cena's part in it.
John Cena's first televised WWE match was in answer to an open challenge by Kurt Angle on June 27, 2002. Inspired by Vince McMahon's (kayfabe) speech to WWE's rising stars, exhorting them to show "ruthless aggression" to earn a place among the legends, John took advantage of the opportunity and almost beat Kurt Angle kicking out of the Angle Slam and enduring the Ankle Lock submission hold, but ultimately lost to a hard, amateur-style pin.
John Cena then played the role of a typical underdog face in each match. After losing, along side Billy Kidman, in a tournament match for the WWE Tag Team Championships, Cena turned heel, blaming Kidman for the loss. Shortly after his heel turn, on a Halloween episode of SmackDown!, he performed a freestyle rap for Stephanie McMahon while wearing a Vanilla Ice costume prompting a gimmick change to a white rapper. At first, this gimmick got Cena heel heat from the fans, but his frequent comical "freestyles" about other wrestlers helped to gain him a following. One of John Cena's signature symbols during this time was the classic WWF logo (without the "F") along with the slogan "Word Life".
John Cena eventually had a long running feud with Brock Lesnar over the WWE Championship. During the feud he unveiled a new signature finishing maneuver, the F-U, as a counterpart to Lesnar's similar F-5 (the name being derived from a combination of "F-5" and the shorthand for "F--- You"). The two eventually joined forces when Lesnar also turned heel and together feuded with Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero before Cena turned face by betraying Lesnar and feuding with him again. John Cena established his signature "you can't see me" catch phrase and hand gesture during this time.
During 2004 John's popularity began to increase. At the start of the year, he participated in the annual January Royal Rumble, lasting up to the final 6 before being eliminated by Big Show. After the elimination Cena and Big Show began a feud, leading to Cena winning the United States Championship from Show in a match at March's WrestleMania XX. Cena claimed the title, his first in WWE, by distracting the ref and using his signature brass knuckles on Big Show before hitting him with the F-U. In July he was stripped of the title by SmackDown! General Manager Kurt Angle, whom he had a contentious relationship with, after "attacking" him.
John Cena won the title back at October's No Mercy after winning the final match of a Best-of-5 series with Booker T. This second reign was short-lived, however, as he lost the title to the debuting Carlito in the very next weeks SmackDown!.
This started a feud with Carlito, during which Cena was (kayfabe) attacked in a Boston nightclub by Carlito's bodyguard, Jesús, who stabbed him in the kidney, keeping him out of action for a month. In truth, this event was set up to allow Cena time off to film The Marine. Upon his return, Cena exacted revenge on Carlito in a SmackDown! match, winning back the U.S. title. During this reign he debuted his custom made spinner style title belt.
At the 2005 Royal Rumble, John Cena and Batista went over the top rope at the same time to end the match, prompting Vince McMahon to demand the match be restarted and go into "sudden death".
With Batista choosing to vie for the (RAW exclusive) World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 21, SmackDown! held a tournament to determine #1 contendership for the their WWE Championship. In the finals Cena pinned Kurt Angle to win the WrestleMania title shot.
In the following weeks, John Cena feuded with champion John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) and his Cabinet, including losing his United States Championship to Cabinet member Orlando Jordan, who (with JBL) proceeded to "blow up" the custom spinner belt. It was during this feud that Cena first began referring to his fans as "Chain Gang Soldiers" (often shorted to just "Chain Gang").
On April 3, at WrestleMania 21, John Cena defeated JBL to win the WWE Championship. As part of the storyline, he then had a custom WWE Championship belt made similar to his custom U.S. title belt, featuring a spinner-type WWE logo plate. Meanwhile, JBL took the original belt and claimed he was still the WWE Champion.
Cena successfully defended his title against JBL in a bloody
"I Quit" Match at Judgment Day in May when he forced JBL to quit
by cornering him against a glass pane, and threatening to hit
him with a tractor trailer's exhaust pipe. In the process Cena
was able to reclaim the original title belt, though he continued
to carry his version.
On the June 6th episode of RAW, John Cena became the first wrestler drafted in the annual draft lottery, when Eric Bischoff drafted him from SmackDown! over to RAW. Upon arriving on RAW, Cena immediately entered a program with Chris Jericho and Christian, two wrestlers with strong cult followings. Taking on these two seemingly began a trend of fan backlash against Cena. He went on to defeat Christian and Jericho in a Triple Threat match at the June Vengeance event by knocking Jericho out of the ring and pinning Christian.
During this feud John Cena made (kayfabe) enemies with RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff with Bischoff vowing to make Cena's stint on RAW difficult and choosing Chris Jericho to take Cena's title from him.
On August 22, John Cena beat Jericho again, this time in a "You're Fired" match for the WWE Championship - despite General Manager Bischoff giving Cena a low-blow and handing Jericho a pair of brass knuckles. After the match, with Jericho now off of RAW due to his loss, Kurt Angle came to the ring and attacked John, with Bischoff revealing that Angle was his new "hand picked" number one contender for Cena's world title. Despite Angle's best attempts to attain heel heat, the fans continued to cheer him and boo Cena.
After several weeks of feuding, Angle and John Cena main event September's Unforgiven, where John lost to Angle by disqualification after hitting him with the WWE title belt, meaning John Cena would still be champion (titles don't change hands on a disqualification or count out). They met again at November's Survivor Series, with Cena picking up the win this time.
When Vince McMahon returned to RAW to (kayfabe) put Bischoff on trial in December, John Cena made his opinion of Bischoff known and eventually helped Vince McMahon remove Bischoff from the show by delivering the F-U to the former RAW GM, effectively ending the hostilities he had with Bischoff.
John Cena successfully defended his WWE Championship in an Elimination Chamber at the January New Years Revolution to kick off 2006, to the dismay of many in attendance. However, after the match, Vince McMahon announced that Cena was going to have to defend the WWE Championship again, this time against Edge, who was cashing in his previously earned Money in the Bank title shot. Edge delivered two spears to a tired Cena, pinning him in short order to win the WWE Championship. Cena's championship reign ended at 280 days, matching that of previous champion JBL.
Three weeks, to the day, after losing the title Cena defeated Edge at the Royal Rumble to regain the WWE Championship. During this time WWE announcers, most notably Jim Ross, were forced to acknowledge the negative reactions John Cena was getting and began to refer to him as a "controversial champion" saying that he was alienating some fans with his "unorthodox style".
Jerry Lawler would often suggest that Cena was too young, edgy and original for the older audience to appreciate. John continued to polarize crowds leading up to WrestleMania 22, during which he was soundly jeered during his main event win over Triple H. Despite Triple H's best attempts to get heat, the crowd continued to favor him over Cena. Vince McMahon was reportedly upset by fans' negativity, though Cena stated that the fans "obviously had a choice in deciding whom they wanted to root for".
The crowd began to cheer John Cena once again after April's Backlash, most notably when he began to side with the popular Shawn Michaels in matches against the Spirit Squad. After Cena stopped taking part in this angle and moved on to working against Rob Van Dam there was once again a notable mixture of cheers and boos in most arena's he visited, with some being more pro-Cena and some more against him.
On the May 22 edition of RAW, Rob Van Dam informed John Cena that he intended to cash in the Money in the Bank title match contract he won at WrestleMania at the upcoming Extreme Championship Wrestling One Night Stand pay-per-view event. The event saw Cena get his most negative reaction yet from the very pro-ECW crowd, including profanity-laced chants and anti-Cena signs (most memorably one reading, "If Cena wins, we riot," which has been used since then, with different names in place of Cena's). Cena lost the title at the event when Edge appeared from under the ring and speared Cena through a table, setting him up for Van Dam's Five Star Frog Splash. With two referees "knocked out" (the first by Cena, the second by Edge) Paul Heyman ran down the entrance aisle and counted the three count, giving Van Dam the win and his first World Title. On the next nights RAW Paul Heyman announced that the title change was official, as the match was under "Extreme rules". Ironically for John Cena, both of his WWE Championship losses in 2006 were as a result of the Money in the Bank title contract.
When Edge won the title from Van Dam in a Triple Threat match (also involving Cena) it re-ignited the feud between Edge and Cena. The opening stages of the feud saw Edge taking constant shortcuts in order to keep his title (losing by disqualification) while still seemingly getting positive reactions from most crowds. This lead to a Cena and Edge match at SummerSlam in a match where, if Edge was disqualified, he would not only lose the match but his title. Edge ultimately defeated John Cena by pinfall after hitting him with a pair of brass knuckles while the referee was distracted to retain the title.
Championships and accomplishments for John Cena
John Cena's Wrestling Finishing and signature moves
In addition to his time in the ring, John Cena is a rap music
artist. He performed his fifth WWE entrance song, "Basic
Thugonomics," which was featured on the WWE soundtrack album WWE
Originals. His track "Untouchables" was featured on Theme
Addict, another WWE soundtrack album. His debut album, which he
recorded alongside his cousin Tha Trademarc, You Can't See Me
features his current entrance theme "My Time is Now". The first
single from the You Can't See Me album was "Bad, Bad Man", a
music video of which featured a parody of 1980s culture and the
television show The A-Team. A second video was later made for
the second single, "Right Now", and premiered on the August 8
edition of RAW.
John Cena has worked with several personalities in the Hip-Hop industry, such as Freddie Foxx (Bumpy Knuckles), 7L, Esoteric, Murs (including a music video), E-40 and Chingo Bling. He and Method Man were also featured in SmackDown! magazine and MTV.com. Most recently, Cena and Tha Trademarc are featured on a track by The Perceptionists, "Champion Scratch." Cena has also performed on BBC Two's long running Top of the Pops, becoming the first professional wrestler to do so.
WWE Films, a division of World Wrestling Entertainment which produces and finances motion pictures, produced Cena's first movie - The Marine. In The Marine Cena plays John Triton, a discharged marine whose wife gets kidnapped, on a mission to retrieve her. The Marine was directed by John Bonito, and stars John Cena in the main role along with co-stars Robert Patrick and Kelly Carlson. WWE films has completed a deal with 20th Century Fox to distribute The Marine theatrically on October 13, 2006.
John Cena's attire in and out of the ring reflects the old school hip-hop culture that his character represents. He previously wore throwback jerseys, though now he generally wears WWE produced "Chain Gang" related merchandise. He has also worn a chain with a lock on it to the ring which was at times utilized as a weapon. This chain has now been replaced by a chromed and diamond studded "Chain Gang" spinner medallion which is very reminiscent of the ones worn by members of G-Unit.
When John Cena was part of the SmackDown! brand, his apparel bearing the suggestive spoonerism "Ruck Fules" was censored when he wore it on camera. They were not censored by UPN, but by WWE to sell more shirts under the premise that it was "too hot for TV".
Prior to his WWE debut, John made a guest appearance on the Internet stream show Go Sick in 2001 as Bruebaker, an angry, cursing wrestler.
During his WWE career, John has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live numerous times.
John Cena first appeared on the July 23, 2005 episode in order to promote his CD, SummerSlam 2005, and WWE in general. He appeared again on March 14, 2006 to promote Saturday Night's Main Event and WrestleMania 22. Other appearances have included Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Fuse's Daily Download, Fox Sports Net's Best Damn Sports Show Period, G4's Training Camp (with Shelton Benjamin) and an August 2006 appearance on MTV's Punk'd, where he was the victim of a practical joke. He's also served as a co-presenter, with Hulk Hogan, at the 2005 Teen Choice Awards, and as a guest judge on Nashville Star.
John Cena's father, John Cena Sr., works in the professional wrestling business as "Johnny Fabulous", an announcer for New England based Chaotic Wrestling, as well as acting as "commissioner" for East Coast Championship Wrestling.
John Cena graduated Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts with a degree in exercise physiology.
After playing college football, where he achieved All-American status as a center, Cena persued a career as a bodybuilder. When that didn't pan out, he followed in his father's footsteps and went into the the wrestling profession.
John Cena is second eldest of five brothers - Dan, Matt, Steve and Sean.
John Cena is known to be a fan of cartoons and has mentioned on "5 Questions" that his favorite animated movie is Fist of the North Star.
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