Evolution: John Cena
In Evolution, there are things that need to happen to make yourself stand out above the crowd. For some, this is a hard task...but for others, this can prove to be beneficial to their survival in the world they know. Some embrace Evolution to the fullest...
John Cena took the ball and ran with it.
For almost 10 years, the man known as The Chain Gang Commander has been either embraced or rejected by the WWE Universe.
From his early beginnings as a brash and cocky newbie to the man that stands before us today, John Cena has never backed down from the challenge that was presented to him during his WWE career.
With that being said, it's time to view the Evolution of the WWE's most prolific and controversial superstar...But you can call him John Cena.
John Cena: The Beginning of a Revolution
John Cena made his official debut to the WWE when he arrived to SmackDown on June 27, 2002.
He answered an open challenge from Kurt Angle to help usher in the era of "Ruthless Aggression." Though he lost the match, Cena quickly got the support of the SmackDown crowd in the process.
After a brief stint with Chris Jericho and Billy Kidman, the world was introduced to a new side of John Cena.
Thanks to his Halloween costume that saw him as Vanilla Ice, the WWE was ushered into the Word Life Era of SmackDown. Cena was originally paired with Bull Buchanan to continue the gimmick, but Bull was replaced by Rodney Mack.
After dispatching of the two, he focused his attention on then-WWE Champion Brock Lesnar due to an injury that Cena suffered after taking an F5 to a steel post that put him on the sidelines.
When Cena returned, he also introduced a modified version of the F5/Fireman's Carry...better known as the FU.
Though he lost the title match at Backlash, Cena put up one hell of a fight against Lesnar. This apparently impressed Kurt Angle enough to offer him a spot on Team Angle at the Annual Survivor Series Elimination Match...which he along with Chris Benoit won decisively.
Was this the start of something big for Mr. Word Life? You bet.
John Cena: Customs and Brute Strength
From freestyle hip hops to throwing his signature gesture in the air, John Cena started making noise. So much noise in fact that SmackDown GM Paul Heyman did everything in his power to keep him from reaching the top of the mountain.
Between Cena and Chris Benoit, Heyman had his hands full ensuring that only Brock Lesnar would be WWE Champion.
But at The Royal Rumble, Cena looked poised to become the next man to challenge Lesnar for the gold. In the end, though, it was the Big Show that eliminated him from the final six participants.
Though Cena lost his chance to win the WWE Championship, he started a war with Big Show due to mainly what Show had on his shoulder: The United States Championship.
The Battle Royal following the Rumble saw Cena get eliminated by Show once again...only to return a short time later and help the superstars eliminate Show. Over the next few weeks, Show and Cena played a set of mind games and battle raps to build hype for their upcoming title match at WrestleMania XX.
Cena went into WrestleMania, showed his impressive feat of strength when he lifted the 500-pounder and delivered not one but two FUs to win the match and the United States Championship.
After a few rivalries with Rene Dupree, new GM Kurt Angle and Booker T, Cena found himself in unfamiliar territory when he lost the United States Championship to a debuting Carlito Caribbean Cool.
The reason: The Marine.
Upon his return, he defeated Carlito, but got attacked once again by Carlito's bodyguard Jesus. When he returned at Armageddon, he not only returned with fire but also unveiled a new version of the US Title: The Spinner Belt.
After defeating and leaving Jesus a bloody mess, he dropped Carlito with an FU before celebrating the victory and showing off the United States Championship.
But in Evolution...you have to lose something to gain something bigger.
John Cena: From Ruler of the US to Ruler of the World...Wrestling Entertainment
At the 2005 WWE Royal Rumble, John Cena was the lone representative of SmackDown left in the Royal Rumble match. His problem? He was eye to eye with Evolution's Animal, Batista. Cena and Batista both eliminated themselves at the same time. So what would happen now?
Vince McMahon comes out and puts the match in Sudden Death overtime.
Though Cena lost the match, his efforts were enough to convince Teddy Long to give him a spot in SmackDown's No. 1 Contender Tournament at No Way Out, where he staved off a vicious Ankle Lock from Kurt Angle to win the tournament and earn a spot in the main event at WrestleMania 21.
Unfortunately, before he could take his place in history, someone wanted to make sure he didn't make it that far.
His opponent for WrestleMania 21, JBL, not only convinced Teddy Long to put Cena in a match with his Cabinet member Orlando Jordan, he nailed Cena in the head with the gold to allow Jordan to defeat him and become the new United States Champion.
The following week, Cena went on a rampage and looked for revenge on everyone involved.
After one last week of Basic Thuganomics, Cena arrived with a tougher look and a new theme that best suited his future match with JBL: "My Time Is Now." Cena spent the next few weeks provoking JBL, going as far as to decimate the self-proclaimed Wrestling God's prized limosine.
At WrestleMania 21, Cena delivered on his promise to leave champion as he defeated JBL to become the new WWE Champion. That same night, Batista completed the new change in the wind when he defeated Triple H to win his first of many World Heavyweight Championships.
Following the victory, Cena was informed that he would have a rematch with JBL at Judgment Day in an "I Quit" Match. After JBL denied the WM loss, he walked around with the original WWE Championship and claimed himself to still be the WWE Champion.
It was at this moment that Cena introduced the world to his newest creation.
In other words...the WWE Championship went from what you see here...
John Cena: The Unstoppable Force
On a night where WrestleMania went Hollywood, Cena and JBL participated in a mock clip from "A Few Good Men." But when it came time for the main event, Cena outlasted JBL and walked out champion. Upon his first defense, he unveiled the new WWE Spinner Championship.
After arriving on a semi, Cena proceeded to beat JBL senseless upon winning his final match as SmackDown's WWE Champion.
On the June 6, 2005 episode of RAW, Cena became the first pick in the year's WWE Draft. Sporting a Spirit of St. Louis jersey to honor the Gateway crowd, Cena made noise right off the bat when he was thrown into a storyline with Chris Jericho.
After defeating Jericho several times, he was reunited in a rivalry with Kurt Angle.
Following a successful 2005 campaign, Cena was split between fan favorite and fan hated as the crowd began to jeer him during his last two rivalries. But it got worse for him at WrestleMania 22 and 23 when he defeated DX in WWE Championship matches.
But his biggest defeats came at the hands of Edge when he lost the gold to him following the Elimination Chamber match at New Year's Revolution at the beginning of 2006.
He won it back from Edge a few weeks later at The Royal Rumble.
Thanks to Edge, Cena lost the strap again, this time at One Night Stand to Rob Van Dam in the ECW's original battleground, the Hammerstein Ballroom. Cena didn't regain the gold until he defeated Edge in a TLC match in Edge's hometown of Toronto at Unforgiven.
But little did anyone know, this would be the last time that Cena would hold his custom Spinner Championship above his head.
John Cena: The Pride of Beantown
John Cena was set to face Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at the end of 2007, but a torn pectoral muscle sent him to the injured list. After a rigorous rehab, Cena made an unexpected return a few months later as the 30th entrant into the Royal Rumble. He eliminated Triple H and won the Rumble, but he lost his match with Orton via DQ.
He was given another chance thanks to Triple H, but came up short at WrestleMania 24. He lost again after getting punted by Orton in a Fatal Four Way Elimination Match at Backlash. Following the Draft, Cena would face SmackDown's newest champion, Triple H, for the chance to bring one of the championships back to RAW.
Unfortunately, Cena again fell short of the gold again.
During a match with Batista at Summerslam, Cena suffered a back injury that would sideline him once again. After another few months of serious rehabilitation, Cena returned to his hometown of Boston to defeat Chris Jericho at Survivor Series to become the World Heavyweight Champion.
After losing the gold at No Way Out, Cena fought tooth and nail against SmackDown's La Familia. After getting into the match, Cena regained the World Heavyweight Championship at the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania.
He now has a match set against Edge for Backlash in which it will be a Last Man Standing Match (as well as Edge's last chance at the gold).
The Future of John Cena
Everyone has been talking about for a good while now, but unfortunately, it is still not a guaranteed showdown. People have compared Cena's popularity status to that of another controversial individual: The Rock.
Since then, everyone has been eyeing a possible WrestleMania showdown between The Doctor of Thuganomics and The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment. Translation: The Rock vs. John Cena.
Though The Rock has expressed zero interest in a return to the ring, there have been those that believe that he will return to answer the challenge of John Cena.
A match of this magnitude has to happen at the Grandest Stage in Sports Entertainment: WrestleMania.
If it doesn't happen at WrestleMania XXVI in Glendale, it could happen as early as the following year's WrestleMania.
Either way, this is a match that the world could, should and will see.
The Legacy of John Cena
Three-Time WWE United States Champion.
Two-Time World Tag Team Champion.
2008 Royal Rumble Champion.
Three-Time WWE Champion.
Two-Time World Heavyweight Champion.
And the biggest accomplishment in his career was at the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. Following his HOF Acceptance Speech, Stone Cold Steve Austin grabbed a pair of beers, handed one to Cena and toasted to an illustrious career.
In wrestling terms, this is a way of a WWE Legend to "Pass The Torch" to the next big name in line.
When Cena does retire, he will most likely be inducted into the Hall of Fame a few years afterwards. To better sum it up, the photo I have chosen represents possibly the future Hall of Fame ceremony in which Stone Cold Steve Austin inducts Cena.
For Cena, the sky's the limit considering he's still got the goods to have a long career in the WWE.