The Evolution of John Cena
You either love him or hate him, but the truth is he has evolved into becoming the next Hulk Hogan. Eating his vegetables, taking his vitamins and saying his prayers, he is the poster boy for the company for a reason.
Anyone remember this guy? Prototype, a jacked up wrestler who moved somewhat like a robot and had a Universal Soldier type of gimmick.
He was a champion in 2000 in UPW which was a small promotion up until he was put on a WWE trial basis with its farm team OVW. He was mostly a heel who really played on his terminator look of clean cut, military hair, and body builder physique.
Tag Team Champion with who?
Everyone remember Rico? Big sideburns, and stole his clothes from The Kat.
Did you also know he used to be a paramedic and a SWAT officer in Las Vegas?
Well I'm sure Mr. Cena does, as he was tag team partner and tag team champion with him in 2001 while in OVW together.
Today, Cena is leader of the pack, and Rico... well as of 2006, Rico is an Airport Control Officer for the Nevada Taxi Cab Authority.
First Match - A Call to a Challenge
His first match on WWE television was June 27th, 2002.
He answered the challenge from Olympian Kurt Angle who said that anyone in back can come down and have a match with him.
It was a back and forth type match with the rookie unknown causing a huge pop when he kicked out of the angle slam.
In the end Cena tapped out to the ankle lock but his presence was suddenly known in the WWE.
Who Better to Make You a Star
If your going to be big, if you need someone to make you look like a star no matter what your skill set, ring ability, or mic work is, Chris Jericho will make you look like you were born in that squared circle.
That is probably why the WWE made Cena's first feud with the Ayotollah of Rock and Rollah. They wanted to build him up, get him to earn his chops, and learn from one of the best in the industry. This was also the start of his turn to the dark side when we saw Cena tag up with Billy Kidman, eventually back stabbing Kidman.
Halloween Brings on a New Era
On a Halloween episode of Smackdown, Cena dressed up as Vanilla Ice and did a little rap, a style of music behind the scenes he was heavily into.
And like that, Thug-a-nomics was born. We get the spinner necklaces, the sports jerseys, and we loose the trunks and switch to baggy jean shorts.
He'd rap about the town he was in, or his opponent and the crowd would laugh and cheer until he turned it on them. You wanted to hate him, but you looked forward to hearing what he was going to say.
His attitude and mic skills kept growing, he mastered sarcastic humor and being just enough of a smart ass to find it funny and hate him at the same time.
He had become a bit of an anti hero which led to the rapper becoming more and more face each time.
2003 Birth of a Finisher
Word Life, the chain gang and the adoration of all the little kids watching the WWE were John Cena in 2003.
So while he wasn't doing anything other than merchandising, he some how became the baby face of the show and took on the evil Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar's devastating signature finisher was the F-5, named after the hurricane that it looked like. So Cena came up with a response to this, a similar move of putting your opponent up on your shoulders and giving them the F-U.
Picking Up a Giant
Say what you want about him. Call him over rated, call him the poster child, or the Tiger Beat Champion, but you cannot take away the man's ridiculous strength.
When he delivered the F-U to the giant, The Big Show, it was the new 'slam heard around the world.'
In a behind the scenes interview when Cena came back from his neck injury, Triple H said that Cena's strength was phenomenal, where he gets it from he didn't know, but he's been in the ring with few people who are as strong or stronger than John Cena.
Cena won the US title from Big Show in 2004, was stripped of it, won it back again, only to loose it to a debuting Carlito on his first night.
Why Does Everyone Hate Him?
2005 saw Cena in a tie with Batista as the Royal Rumble winner. The match restarted and John was tossed out.
A feud with JBL and his 'cabinet' led to him loosing a US title to Orlando Jordan. But he had won the World Title from JBL.
While this looked like a good year for Cena on paper, the fans started to boo him, mostly the older male demographic, despite whatever action he took.
It was sadly also the year he had the "Your Fired" match with Chris Jericho. This lead to Jericho leaving and starting some weird reality shows.
2006: It Really Gets Bad!
He lost his world title right after defending it in the elimination chamber. This give birth to the new nickname for Edge: "The Ever Opportunistic."
This brought on their rivalry and a fantastic feud.
He did win the title back three weeks later, but this was also the year of the famous ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view where the fans at the Hammerstein ballroom held signs saying "If Cena Wins We Riot."
John was famous for throwing his shirt into the crowd, and when he did it this night a fan caught it, wiped his back side with it, and threw it back into the ring!
Chants of "You Can't Wrestle" filled the air. When he tried to add a couple more moves, the chant turned to "You Still Suck".
His spinner belt became the "Rated R" belt. Even after winning at a brutal TLC match with Edge he was still booed and hated by the fans.
Lets Not Forget...
Actually, lets just forget this part...
Injuries and Triumphs
Cena had torn his pectoral muscle right off of the bone and continued the match to the end. Including the beating he took after the match was over.
He herniates his neck, takes time off, and comes back to win the Royal Rumble.
He returns to the Survivor Series to beat Jericho for the World Title.
He Feuds with Orton and Batista in a battle for the gold.
The Merchandise Champion
The man changed his logo and merchandise shirts to what seemed like every week.
We had old school video games
A nod to the AWA
A John Deere logo
A military theme after The Marine hit theaters
Hustle Loyalty and Respect
And we have been steady with the You Can't See Me logo for a bit now
Outside the Ring
The Marine, 12 Rounds, the upcoming Legendary have put Mr. Cena on the silver screen.
He played Juliet's brother on the USA TV show Psych and has hosted the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. He's heavily involved with Make A Wish foundation, and has granted over 100 wishes.
The Dream Team
Now he's established the dream team to take on Nexus.
Edge, Jericho, Morrison, Kahli, R-Truth, and Brett the Hitman Hart.
It was like watching a superhero team up. The best of the best joining up to take on the Masters of Evil known as Nexus.
The crowd seems to have changed towards Cena.
We still get the occasional booing, but he seems to have earned a bit more respect. With the beatings he's taken from Nexus and Batista you have to say the man is dedicated to his job and is constantly trying to do one thing—put on a good show.