WWE: John Cena's 5 Best and Worst Matches on PPV
This is going to be my last article for a while as I'm going away for a short holiday at Reading Music Festival.
So with that in mind, let's talk about one of the most controversial figures in professional wrestling today.
John Cena is a nine time WWE Champion and an 11 time World Champion. So with that much success and being on top for over five years, how can anyone not like him?
Well Mick Foley, The Hardcore Legend, is someone who likes John Cena, recently saying that his pay-per-view matches are what prove John Cena can wrestle. So this is the reason for this article.
I'm not a Cena fan or hater, but I do feel frustrated with some of Cena's work at times. For example, there are specific times in matches where he can't work or sell moves or actions properly.
Anyway, that's enough talking. Let's get started!
Best Number 5: John Cena vs. Kurt Angle No Way out 2005
This is the match I believe turned John Cena into a serious main event player.
At No Way Out 2005, John Cena and Kurt Angle fought in a number one contenders match to face JBL at WrestleMania 21. The build to this match was excellent with John Cena even getting advice from the late Eddie Guerrero, warning him about the serious test that John Cena had before him.
The match itself was very hard hitting with Kurt Angle holding nothing back, displaying his vicious mean streak and a multitude of mat wrestling techniques. John Cena held his own against the Wrestling Machine and showed some of his own wrestling skills that he has buried away inside him somewhere still.
The match was given just under 20 minutes and was easily the best on the card. Cena and Angle ended the match with several exciting near falls, Angle locked in the Ankle Lock many times to show Cena had that never say die attitude he would later build his character around. Cena eventually won with the Attitude Adjustment, which was then called the F-U and went on to beat JBL at WrestleMania 21 for the WWE Championship.
The rest is history.
Best Number 4: John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels WrestleMania 23
At WrestleMania 23, John Cena was given the opportunity to steal the show at WrestleMania with 'Mr WrestleMania' Shawn Michaels. The match definitely didn't disappoint and was rightly placed last on the card as opposed to Batista vs. Undertaker.
The match itself went on for under 30 minutes and featured a very high tempo offense from both competitors, with highlights in the match including Michaels springboard moonsaulting John Cena onto the announcers table, Michaels pile-driving Cena on the ring steps, Cena hitting a number of F-U's on Michaels and Michaels even managed to superkick Cena but couldn't keep Cena down. Cena eventually made Michaels tap out to the STF in the middle of the ring.
Cena showed he could hang with one of the best in the business and the match was very entertaining for the 90,000 in attendance and the millions watching at home.
Although, the crowd seemed to favor HBK, who was never supposed to be in the match as Triple H tore his quad four months earlier, Cena walked out still WWE Champion.
This match is only ranked at four as HBK was shown to carry this match more than Cena and the two had a far better match on RAW in London that lasted an hour, which Cena worked far better on and Shawn Michaels won in a superb finish.
Best Number 3: John Cena vs. Edge Last Man Standing Backlash 2009
John Cena and Edge had a magnificent feud back in 2006 with Edge taking John Cena's WWE Title and turning it into the 'Rated R' Championship. The climax of their feud back in 2006 came in a TLC match at Unforgiven in Edge's hometown which Cena won after F-Uing Edge off a ladder through two tables. If this was a top 10 that match would've been on here.
For me though, this match was better than the TLC match. It was billed as the final confrontation between Cena and Edge and it definitely felt like a final battle between two giants.
The match went just under 30 minutes and main evented a really great PPV with some good matches on the card. The match was pretty brutal with some hard shots being given to both men. Cena went through the announcers table fairly early on in the match, Edge was given the Attitude Adjustment from the second rope and also into the crowd! Edge and Cena fought throughout the arena and Edge gave Cena a conchairto on the stage and Cena just made it up before the count of 10.
The finish to this match is what makes it truly great. Cena gets up from the conchairto and eventually goes to give Edge an Attitude Adjustment off the stage when the Big Show comes out and grabs Cena. He picks Cena up and chokeslams him through a spotlight. This is something which I had never seen before and was completely shocked when it happened. Cena is counted out and Edge wins the match and the World Heavyweight Championship.
A truly great hardcore match with an awesome finish.
Best Number 2: John Cena vs. CM Punk Money in the Bank 2010
I went back and forth on whether this match or the SummerSlam match was better. But I settled on this one, even though their match recently on RAW has to be up there as a match of the year candidate as well.
This match was built up very well and the story told throughout the match was played out excellently. CM Punk was dissatisfied with the WWE management and promised to leave the WWE with the WWE Championship, Vince McMahon didn't want this to happen so he fired Punk. Cena though wanted the match to happen so McMahon reinstated Punk on the basis that if Cena lost, he was fired.
The match was always going to be something special with that much at stake. Also, as it took place in Chicago, Punk's hometown, the environment was hostile towards Cena, something that he hadn't felt since the Hammerstein Ballroom at ECW One Night Stand against RVD.
Punk and Cena wrestled for over 30 minutes with many near falls and close finishes. Punk locked in many wrestling holds to show he was the best in the world in his opinion, Punk also suicide dived onto Cena in front of his friend, Colt Cabana (which I found funny), Cena hit Punk with a couple of Attitude Adjustments and broke out a few wrestling moves and holds of his own, albeit some of them didn't look right like the Abdominal Stretch.
The finish came when Vince McMahon tried to screw Punk by having the bell rung when Cena had the STF locked in like he did to Bret Hart in 1997. Cena stopped this from happening by punching John Laurinaitis then turning back into the ring, walking right into a GTS from Punk.
The match was very exciting and the finish was shocking, Punk and Cena showed they have excellent chemistry together. However, CM Punk wasn't the only one who had great chemistry with John Cena.
Best Number 1: John Cena vs. Umaga Last Man Standing Royal Rumble 2007
It's another Last Man Standing match which seems to be John Cena's best match as he has had great ones with Edge, Batista and of course, Umaga.
This match had a great story as only a week before Umaga attacked John Cena after he was eliminated from a Battle Royal and he put Cena through a table, injuring Cena's ribs and his spleen. This was evident in the beginning of the match where Umaga hit Cena in the ribs which sent Cena to the floor and at the mercy of the 10 count.
Both men traded hard hitting blows to each other throughout the match, a particular highlight was when Umaga ran across two tables and attempted a splash onto Cena through the third only for Cena to move and send Umaga crashing through the table.
The finish came after Armando Estrada, Umaga's manager/keeper/handler, unscrewed the top rope so Umaga could hit Cena with the turnbuckle, however, Cena ducked and F-Ued Umaga then wrapped the top rope around Umaga's neck and STFUed him simultaneously choking Umaga putting him down for the 10 count.
This match was truly epic and showcased the great chemistry John Cena had with Umaga at the time.
The match also serves as a testament to the talent and hard work of Eddie Fatu who portrayed Umaga in the WWE and unfortunately died in December 2009.
Worst Number 5: John Cena vs. Randy Orton SummerSlam 2009
John Cena and Randy Orton have faced at two SummerSlams. In 2007, the 'non viper' Randy Orton lost in a fairly unremarkable match that could be placed on this list for being boring. But this one is far worse.
Randy Orton at the time was on top of the world and had created his Legacy. This was Cena's first shot at Orton's title in 2009 which saw the two embark on a bitter feud. This match was a mess and just made no sense.
First, both men wrestled for around 15 minutes with both men hitting their signature moves but not their finishers when suddenly out of nowhere, Orton pushes the referee and gets disqualified. Lillian Garcia announced Randy Orton the champion but then said Vince McMahon ordered the match to be restarted and if Orton gets disqualified, he loses the title.
So, Orton goes back and knocks Cena down, grabs his belt and gets himself counted out. The match is restarted again with McMahon saying if Orton gets counted out he loses the title. So, Orton goes back and counters an Attitude Adjustment into a rollup and puts his feet on the ropes for leverage. Then, an official runs down and points out Orton cheated to the official, (Why don't all referees do this?) and the match is restarted a third time!
This time, a rogue fan (Brett Dibiase in disguise) attacks the referee and is taken away, the match is restarted again for the final time where Orton RKO's Cena thanks to the confusion and gets the pinfall.
Over booked, over hyped and over complicated.
Orton and Cena's match was overshadowed by the main event that featured CM Punk and Jeff Hardy in a terrific TLC match for the World Heavyweight Championship which quickly made the crowd forget the convoluted mess that was the WWE Title match. Thankfully, Cena and Orton redeemed themselves in their next three PPV matches including a 60-minute Anything Goes Iron Man match at Bragging Rights which could've made the best list if I were doing a top 10.
Worst Number 4: John Cena vs. R-Truth Capitol Punishment 2011
This match really annoyed me, as for about two years before nobody cared about R Truth, which was a shame as Ron Killings is a very talented performer.
R Truth turned heel just after WrestleMania and entertained us all with his nonsensical ramblings about conspiracies within the WWE and how even Zack Ryder had a T-shirt. Truth had taken out John Morrison and beat Rey Mysterio to make himself the No. 1 contender to John Cena's WWE Championship.
Then it was time for the match which capped off a very disappointing PPV. I do not blame Truth for this at all as this match just turned into a typical John Cena TV match which was five minutes longer.
The match saw Truth in control for the majority of the match. He had Cena on the ground for most of the match even hitting both of his finishing moves, the scissors kick and the paydirt/Shut up! which Cena of course kicked out of. Cena got his second wind all of a sudden and hit Truth with a few signature moves before Truth put him back down.
Then, Truth went to the outside to mock a Little Jimmy, who threw a cup of water in Truth's face. Cena then grabbed Truth and hit him with the Attitude Adjustment and got the pinfall.
This made Truth look like an idiot and he hasn't recovered since.
Worst Number 3: John Cena vs. Great Khali Falls Count Anywhere Extreme Rules 2007
Do I really need to explain why this was bad?
1. It featured The Great Khali.
2. It only went 10 minutes.
3. The performers did little to no moves and the ones they did do looked bad or were sold bad.
4. It featured The Great Khali.
5. It was a sad attempt by WWE to make John Cena look invincible.
6. It ended after a stupid 'extreme' spot where Cena F-Ued Khali off a crane which was there for no reason and Khai only fell six feet onto a crash mat.
7. It featured the Great Khali.
8. It was the last match on a PPV that was neither good or extreme.
9. It showed how many worthy challengers WWE didn't have at the time and hence why Cena had such a long title reign
10. It featured The Great Khali! What were they thinking?!!
There we are. Ten reasons why this match was terrible and one reason why it isn't the worst. I can think of two worse than this!
Worst Number 2: John Cena vs. Wade Barrett Chairs Match TLC 2010
Why was this worse than John Cena vs. The Great Khali?
Well first off, I know what a Falls Count Anywhere match is...But what the heck is a Chairs match?
In a Tables match, it's the first competitor to put his opponent through a table, in a Ladder match, it's the first competitor to climb the ladder and retrieve whatever is hanging above the ring. In a Chairs match, its the first competitor who pins his opponent or makes them submit....after hitting them with chairs.
Isn't that called a Street Fight?
Also, the match was a very boring and generic end to the most promising and therefore disappointing story lines of last year which was, of course, the Nexus story line. This match was the main event to a card which featured an exciting four-way TLC match between Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, Kane and Edge.
Cena and Barrett wrestled for 20 minutes and did nothing particularly interesting except for the finish where Cena set up six chairs lined up and did an Attitude Adjustment on Barrett onto the chairs and then pinned him.
What then followed in a moment where Cena finally got his revenge on the man who had tormented him for so many months and even got him fired from the job he loves. Cena hits Barrett with the chair as Barrett goes up the ramp, he then lays him down on the stage, pulls a loading cart over Barrett's prone, defenseless body and he pulls a line of chairs off the set onto the loading cart...which somehow Barrett was able to feel.
You know I defend the PG era but this is an example of WWE being too PG. Cena should have kicked Barrett's ass.
Worst Number 1: John Cena vs. the Miz Both Times in 2011
I really didn't know whether to go for the I Quit match or the WrestleMania 27 main event and rather than deciding to go with one or the other, I decided to make it a tie and say they're both equally terrible.
I'll start with the WrestleMania main event. I didn't have high hopes for the match from the start other than wanting to see what The Rock was going to do in the finish. The match was bad as neither Cena or The Miz were on that night and the match was slow and boring.
Cena may have gotten a concussion during the match which affected his performance and The Miz definitely had a concussion after being clotheslined off the guardrail. Both men were counted out and The Rock restarted the match with no disqualifications and no countouts.
It was at this point I thought to myself, 'Ah, that explains the slow start both men were saving some in the tank for this part here.' I started to imagine The Rock skulking around the arena as Cena and The Miz battled around the Georgia Dome. However, as I was thinking that The Rock hit Cena with The Rock Bottom and The Miz got the pin...and that was our WrestleMania main event!
I thought that it couldn't get worse than that and Cena and Miz had a pretty good Triple Threat Cage match with John Morrison which renewed my hope that their next match, an I Quit match at Over the Limit, would be pretty decent.
What I saw that night was not a match. What I saw was John Cena basically get tortured for 20 minutes by The Miz and Alex Riley with everything from TV monitors to kendo sticks to leather belts and steel chairs. It was ridiculous how much John Cena was shown to go through as he fought not to give up and fight for all the little kids.
One thing I did like was how great The Miz was on the mic, especially when he was yelling at a young John Cena fan at the front about how the fan was making Miz do this to Cena. But that all changed as soon as the tape recording of Cena saying he quits was played and the referee found out, Riley was disposed of.
Cena powers up using the mighty strength he gets from every young John Cena fan wearing his merchandise, he grabbed his belt and chased The Miz up the ramp whipping him. He locked Miz into the STF and as quick as you like The Miz says he quits and Cena wins....and whatever I was holding at the time I threw at the wall.
Well that's the end of the article. Feel free to leave your comments and opinions in the comments section. Let me know of any other Cena PPV matches you can remember that were good or bad.
Like I said at the beginning of the article, I'm not a Cena fan or hater. I think he can be a great performer when he makes the effort and is placed with someone who compliments his style.
Following on with my list of Obscure Intercontinental Champions, it's time for everybody to get on board the Ho train!
The Godfather, Charles Wright.
He beat Goldust on RAW April 12, 1999.
Held the title for 43 days.
He lost the title to Jeff Jarrett on RAW.
Charles Wright actually owns a gentleman's club in Las Vegas called Cheetah's.