Ranking John Cena's WrestleMania Matches
With John Cena on his way to headlining yet another WrestleMania, now is an appropriate time to look at his past nine appearances at WWE's showcase of the immortals.
Of Cena's nine WrestleMania matches, only one has not been for a championship, which was his bout with The Rock last year. Seven matches have been for a world championship and four hold the high distinction of being WrestleMania main events.
Love him or hate him, Cena is WWE's biggest star and has a WrestleMania record befitting that status.
9. WrestleMania XXVII: Cena vs. The Miz
The Miz won the WWE championship in November 2010 and surprisingly kept it long enough to main-event WrestleMania XXVII against John Cena.
However, there were a few problems with their feud and this match.
WWE did a remarkably bad job at building Miz to look like a credible champion, as he couldn't even beat Jerry Lawler without the help of Michael Cole. As a result, a John Cena vs. Miz match-up wasn't particularly inspiring, as the two were totally different calibers of superstar.
Perhaps more importantly, The Rock had returned to host WrestleMania XXVII, and the whole program felt more like Rock vs. Cena with Miz in the background rather than Miz vs. Cena with Rock in the background.
When this Mania rolled around, the build up for the main event hadn't been particularly compelling, and the match itself was bland.
It wasn't bad so much as it was just very, very average. It wouldn't have felt out of place on a regular episode of Raw. Put it on the grandest stage of them all, however, and it just felt completely underwhelming.
8. WrestleMania 21: The Champ Is Here
If this list were graded by significance to career rather than match quality, this would be a lot higher up the list. WrestleMania 21 saw John Cena dethrone JBL as WWE champion to win his first world championship.
It was by far the biggest win of his career up to that point, and one of the biggest in his career, period.
However, the match was bad. It was the beginning of the end of John Cena as a babyface that the whole crowd liked.
It was the "Super Cena" routine that we would go on to see too many times to count. Cena's opponent beats on him the whole match, Cena hits his five-move combination, and the champ is here.
This was one of the biggest matches on the card and, unlike his match with Miz, had an excellent build-up, so it was a very disappointing performance and a discouraging beginning to Cena's first WWE championship reign.
7. WrestleMania XXV: Cena vs. Edge vs. Big Show
In retrospect, it's somewhat surprising that John Cena didn't headline WrestleMania XXV, but he competed in and won the world heavyweight championship match at WrestleMania's silver anniversary.
He faced Big Show and Edge, two of his oldest rivals. The story going into the match was a little embarrassing, with WWE doing a weird love angle between Big Show, Edge and Vickie.
The match itself was passable but unmemorable. It did feature one memorable moment, though, when Cena lifted both Edge and Big Show into Attitude Adjustment position, but besides that not much really happened.
What hurt the match more is that it was seemingly built around the "WrestleMania moment" of Cena winning the world heavyweight championship.
He lost the belt to Edge a month earlier, won it back here, then lost it again the following pay-per-view and was placed in a feud with Big Show.
The moment, unfortunately, isn't so significant, since Cena has had so many better ones at the Showcase of the Immortals.
6. WrestleMania XX: Cena's First Championship
WrestleMania XX was the first one that Cena performed at, and it was also where he won his first championship, defeating Big Show for the United States title.
Cena and Show have had many rivalries since, but this was the culmination of their best one. Cena played the hungry young lion instead of the multiple-time world champion, and as strange as it sounds now, it was nice to see his hard work finally rewarded with a big win and a title.
At this point, Cena was a few months into his babyface run and the audience had not yet tired of him and really wanted him to win.
The match wasn't too long, the crowd was behind Cena and the two of them told a surprisingly good story in the ring.
5. WrestleMania XXVIII: Once in a Lifetime
John Cena vs. The Rock was billed as "Once in a Lifetime." The two implications of that tagline was that the match would only happen one time and it would feature the type of excitement that we only experienced once in a lifetime.
Well, it seems WWE were wrong on both counts.
Cena vs. Rock II looms at the end of the Road to WrestleMania XXIX which wouldn't be so much of a problem if the match itself wasn't nearly good enough to warrant a rematch.
This was The Rock's first singles match in nearly 10 years and anticipation was high, but it didn't live up to expectations.
It was too long and had too many rest periods where the pace was far too slow, with many citing The Rock's questionable ring condition as the reason for for these issues.
No doubt, the match had a special feel; it was Rock vs. Cena, after all. But once the novelty of The Rock wrestling wore off, the long-awaited face-off was a lackluster anticlimax.
4. WrestleMania XXVI: Cena vs. Batista
WrestleMania XXVI saw the collision of two stars who had a very similar rise to prominence in the WWE.
Both won their first world championships back at WrestleMania 21 and never left the main event, and now they were in one of WrestleMania XXVI's biggest matches.
Batista turned heel several months prior to this match and was consistently cutting the best promos of his career, making the build-up to the match surprisingly captivating.
Unfortunately, it was plagued by the fact that we all knew that Cena was going to win.
As Cole mentioned as Batista made his entrance, the build up to the match was incredibly lopsided, with Batista getting the better of Cena at every corner.
A Cena win was inevitable, which took away from the match, but it was still a solid performance by both superstars, with fluid action and some well-done false finishes.
3. WrestleMania XXIV: The Age of Orton Continues
WrestleMania XXIV was a very rare event in the sense that it wasn't Cena's night. This was Randy Orton's night: the continuation of the Age of Orton.
Despite that, Cena was an important part of this underrated WWE championship match.
At a little over 14 minutes, it wasn't a particularly long match, but Triple H, Cena and Orton told a terrific story in the time they had.
Orton, several months into his title reign, was going into WrestleMania to face John Cena and Triple H, two of WWE's favorites.
Many thought him losing the title was a sure thing, but in a perfectly executed surprise finish, he retained the title.
The entire match was very smooth and featured multiple high spots, and at its conclusion Triple H pedigreed Cena and went for the cover. Orton came out of nowhere with a punt to Triple H's head and pinned Cena to retain his gold.
It was a smart way to embody the story of their match within the match itself, and although he didn't win, it was one of Cena's best WrestleMania performances.
2. WrestleMania 23: Cena vs. Michaels
According to rumor, if Triple H had not gone down with an injury in 2007, we would have gotten Cena vs HHH II at WrestleMania 23 (Pro Wrestling Torch via wrestleview.com). After the injury, however, it was Shawn Michaels who got the main-event spot against Cena.
At 28 minutes long, this is the longest WrestleMania match Cena has ever had, and in many ways it's also his best.
Shawn Michaels, in typical fashion, got the best out of the Cenation Leader, and the two put on an outstanding match, even if, like Cena's match at WrestleMania XXVI, it was hard to buy the idea of Cena losing.
From a technical standpoint, this is John Cena's best WrestleMania match. He had evolved into a stronger performer than he was a year prior and he was given an incredible opponent and a lot of time.
That's a recipe for a fantastic match, and the two icons delivered.
1. WrestleMania 22: WWE Champion Faces King of Kings
John Cena won his first WWE championship at WrestleMania 21. Fast forward one year, and a lot had changed.
Cena was still a top babyface and was again the WWE champion, but there was a large, vocal part of the crowd that despised him. He was being booed out of arenas all over the country.
These fans criticized him for not being able to wrestle and for using the same "five moves of doom" formula for all of his matches.
At WrestleMania 22, John Cena did the best thing he could do to silence these critics; he had a great match.
Triple H and John Cena put on an excellent performance that benefited a lot from the crowd. Nowadays it's become typical to see Cena heavily booed, but it was much more novel seven years ago at WrestleMania 22.
Fans were legitimately unsure as to what the outcome of the match would be. Cena was "SuperCena" but Triple H rarely loses, and the crowd was extremely hot throughout the contest.
Cena vs. HBK may have been technically better in some ways, but Cena vs. HHH was the Mr. Hustle, Loyalty and Respect's most exciting WrestleMania match yet.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!