Despite recently losing the accolade of "longest reigning WWE Champion of the modern era" to CM Punk, an even greater achievement looms on John Cena's horizon.
Only two professional wrestlers (ignoring those who have never held a world title in WWE) have been recognized as world champion on more occasions than the 35-year-old from West Newbury. For now, Cena is tied third with Hulk Hogan on the all-time list, yet it seems all but certain that the Hulkster's position will be surpassed within this calendar year, leaving just Ric Flair and Triple H in The Champ's wake.
At 63 years of age and his WWE in-ring retirement courtesy of Shawn Michaels, it seems unlikely that Flair will wrestle another match for the company, never mind win another world championship. Although the Nature Boy himself may proclaim to have won more, WWE recognizes him as a 16-time champion, a total which could feasibly be passed by Cena.
Triple H may not be quite done in terms of in-ring competition, but to picture him in a title match at this stage in his career seems highly unlikely, especially when considering his backstage responsibilities. Hunter has won 13 world championships, just one more than Cena.
While there are those who are skeptical about Cena's ability to continue to perform as a regular main-eventer for another half-decade, it can be recalled that he won three WWE Championships in just five and a half months in 2011, showing that he could comfortably pass Flair's record in the next two or three years.
Perhaps the most important issues for debate is what being the most decorated world champion means in professional wrestling and subsequently: Does John Cena deserve such an accolade and the accompanying recognition?
Wrestling purists may feel sick to their stomachs at such a possibility, but at no point has being a world champion been necessarily synonymous with having superb technical wrestling abilities. Of course the two can go hand in hand, as in the case of Kurt Angle or Daniel Bryan, but it should be acknowledged that a world champion is most often "The Man" in respective wrestling companies.
John Cena, while not the best wrestler, the best talker or the best all-around performer (to borrow from CM Punk), has built up a reputation as the face of WWE, its workhorse and a company man through and through.
Does holding this particular record make you the greatest of all-time? In my eyes no, it simply highlights a wrestler's status as top-dog in the company/ies for the longest period of time.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!