John Cena’s reputation is as polarizing among wrestlers as it is among wrestling fans. We hear the sounds of “Let’s Go Cena” and “Cena Sucks“ chants from the WWE Universe every time he steps foot inside of a ring. Splitting fan reaction has helped the career of Cena as someone the fans both love to cheer and boo causing an emotional investment from both parties. The same can be said for the locker room. Stories to leak through the years have provided proof to both sides of Cena being a great guy helping out certain wrestlers and as a jerk hurting the careers of some others.
Wrestlers to benefit from Cena’s help have gone on to achieve great success for the most part. Many of today’s top stars have been endorsed by Cena through matches together or through public word. Some at the bottom of the food chain or outside of the WWE have witnessed it all go up in smokes following the wrath of Cena. We’ll look at both perceptions surrounding the biggest WWE star in recent history. These are eight wrestlers that John Cena has gone out of his way to help and seven that he has tried to sabotage.
15. Helped: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens’ debut on the WWE main roster was the best introduction any wrestler could only dream of. Owens cleanly defeated John Cena in his first match to make a statement that he was there to be a major player. Keep in mind that the number of wrestlers to get a clean win over Cena during his reign as a top star could be counted on one hand. Cena saw something special in Owens to allow him such a victory.
Owens revealed on the Talk is Jericho podcast that Cena actually went out of his way to write a letter expressing gratitude before meeting Kevin’s young son and huge Cena fan, Owen. Cena has publicly praised Owens and definitely views him a special performer. The feud between the two set the tone for Owens becoming a huge star in the WWE.
14. Sabotaged: Ryback
A shocking rant recently saw Ryback put John Cena on blast for their past relationship in the company. It was obvious that Vince McMahon wanted Ryback to become a future main event star. However, his momentum started to flounder during his feud with both Cena and CM Punk. Ryback claimed Cena sabotaged him behind the scenes and tried to diminish his chances of creating competition for the top spot.
The complaints of Ryback saw him go far enough to refer to Cena as “a cancer to professional wrestling.” Ryback believes Cena attempts to hold down the majority of rising stars with a chance to make it to the top of the mountain. There is definitely a personal hatred on Ryback’s end due to the fact he holds Cena partly responsible for his career falling apart.
13. Helped: Big E
John Cena tried to help get Big E a noteworthy role on television when he made his move from NXT to the main roster. Fans may recall Big E having a singles push following his split from Dolph Ziggler that didn’t last very long. The high point saw Big E team with mega stars Cena and CM Punk in a six-man tag on Raw once. Big E also managed to win the Intercontinental Championship for a short period of time.
This was definitely helped from Cena’s influence, as he and Big E are good friends and Cena believes in him. There were rumors in 2014 that Cena wanted to enter a long term feud with Big E and eventually put him over. Unfortunately, Big E’s momentum stalled and the WWE abandoned his singles career aspirations. The New Day proved everything worked out for the best, but Cena did his best to help Big E from day one.
12. Sabotaged: Ken Doane
Ken Doane’s potential made it obvious that he could have been a huge star if he improved enough and the WWE pushed him, as Doane was the standout star of The Spirit Squad group. Following the breakup, Doane was the only member to remain on the main roster and continued working with names like Ric Flair, D-Generation X and Rated RKO.
It appeared WWE just randomly gave up on him. His singles push just ended out of the blue. Doane claimed John Cena was the reason why. Mickie James broke up with Doane to enter a romantic relationship with Cena after cheating on Ken behind his back. As the biggest star in the company, Cena allegedly used his power to hold down Doane until the WWE released him.
11. Helped: Nikki Bella
Nikki Bella’s career has definitely been helped by her romantic relationship with John Cena outside of the ring. Both of The Bella Twins returned to the WWE after some time away to be the stars of Total Divas. WWE initially wanted the show to revolve around the relationship of Nikki and Cena in real life. It also merged over to the television product with a huge push for Nikki.
WWE booked Nikki into the top role for quite some time. Many fans are still upset about the fact that Nikki broke AJ Lee’s record to become the longest reigning Divas Champion of all-time. Rumors circulated that Nikki used Cena’s power backstage to ensure she held the title long enough to reach the moment. Cena has also helped Nikki with wrestling training, proving he can do more than politic backstage.