Is John Cena the Worst WWE Tag Team Champion of All Time?
John Cena, one of the most decorated WWE superstars of all time and a record-breaking 10-time WWE champion, is arguably the worst multi-time tag team champion in history.
Cena, always regarded as a singles competitor, has held both the WWE Tag Team Championship and the now retired World Tag Team Championship twice.
Throughout his four total Tag Team Championship reigns, "The Champ" has only managed to accumulate a total of 71 days at the top of the tag team division, an average of just under 18 days per reign: hardly what you'd expect of a 12-time world champion.
So where did it all go wrong for Cena in tag team competition? Why did he never see eye to eye with any of his tag team partners?
Let's take a look at The Cenation Leader's four title reigns with four different partners and 71 miserable days atop WWE's tag team division.
Shawn Michaels: 63 Days
January 29, 2007 - April 2, 2007
By far John Cena's most lengthy reign as a tag champion in WWE, he won his first piece of team gold, whilst WWE Champion, with Shawn Michaels. The unlikely pairing won the titles from Rated RKO (Edge and Randy Orton), despite the Heartbreak Kid being the number one contender to Cena's WWE title.
Although the reign lasted a couple of months, relations between the impromptu tag champions finally soured on the final Raw before WrestleMania 23, when Michaels superkicked The Champ, allowing their opponents Batista and Undertaker to pick up the victory.
The reign came to an end on the night after WrestleMania, when The Hardys picked up the victory in a 10-team battle royal.
Batista: 7 Days
August 4, 2008 - August 11, 2008
While only seven short days, Cena's second-longest reign as tag champion was with another then-rival, "The Animal," Batista. The two were set to face off for the very first time at SummerSlam 2008, and the old "can the rivals coexist" storyline was initiated once again, this time by then-Raw general manager Mike Adamle.
Despite going over The Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase) to win the titles, the pair would lose out in a rematch the following week on Raw.
Batista would go on to defeat Cena at SummerSlam before returning his focus to the World Heavyweight Championship at Unforgiven.
David Otunga: 1 Day
October 24, 2010 - October 25, 2010
Yes, for those of you who don't remember, one of David Otunga's biggest claims to professional wrestling fame is that he once held the WWE Tag Team championships alongside John Cena.
Performing, admittedly by force, for the Nexus, Cena picked up his third tag team title by partnering with Otunga to defeat Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes at the 2010 Bragging Rights pay-per-view.
The reign did not last long, however, as Otunga was forced to take a pinfall from fellow Nexus members Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel in order to secure the belts within the faction.
The Miz: 0 Days
February 21, 2011
John Cena's fourth, and so far final, reign as WWE Tag Team Champion left the most to be desired, not even lasting an episode of Raw after The Miz turned on him during an immediate rematch with The Corre, marking the shortest reign in the championship's storied history.
Once again, the tag titles were used to further a singles feud involving John Cena for the fourth time in as many years.
In many ways, John Cena can be considered one of the, if not the, least successful tag wrestlers to be multiple-time WWE or World Tag Team Champion, but there is certainly a bigger picture to be seen here.
For four consecutive years (2008 to 2011), John Cena was involved in singles feuds that ended up embroiling the tag team division and, most importantly, the tag team championships.
The main issue with this is that it has become a cheap way of garnering heat for singles world title feuds: Have a rival join, only to betray, John Cena and thus make him lose a title, giving fans all the more reason to hate the heel and cheer for The Champ come the big blow-off match at WrestleMania (in the case of The Miz and Shawn Michaels).
I am not wholeheartedly criticising this type of storyline; it would seem fair to suggest that it has now been done to death, and let's just hope we don't see it again in the near future. With all the effort WWE is putting into revamping its tag team division, a move from Creative like putting the belts on, for instance, Cena and Punk to add steam to their rivalry would be disastrous, although not unexpected.
The first time this kind of thing was done with Cena, with The Showstopper, it was unique, interesting and played out well. The pale imitations that followed (seven-, one- and zero-day title reigns) surely were not necessary and only served to damage the tag team division in the long run in favor of a short-term gain in the singles world-title scene.
A final thought: Perhaps it was the kind of tag team title reigns John Cena has had that is in part responsible for the death of the division, and we can only hope that this frequently used angle isn't used for a fifth straight year.