It’s been said over and over again but John Cena really is the most polarizing figure in the WWE right now. In the old days, maybe you’d see majority of fans cheering for a face while only a handful of fans would be cheering the heel. Or just maybe, if it’s a heel who the crowd can’t help but love, you’ll see majority of fans cheering for them while only a handful of fans would be cheering the face.
But in Cena’s unique case, you have one half of the arena (mostly kids, let’s face it) strongly cheering for him and the other half (mostly adults) strongly booing him. On one hand, you see fans sporting his merchandise, wearing his colorful range of t-shirts and holding up Cena signs. On the other, you have “Cena sucks” signs, “Let’s go Cena/Cena sucks” chants.
Let’s not even forget the recent development of the Kurt Angle-like “John Cena sucks” remix from the crowd for his theme song. It’s actually remarkable how hated and loved Cena is at the same time.
Let's give credit where credit is due, Cena is genuinely a hard worker and has carried the company for ages now. However, the main reason he - or rather his gimmick - is hated and despised, is the fact that he’s been a good guy for over 10 years.
The whole repetitive superhero gimmick has become stale and along with the fact that Cena usually always overcomes the odds, barely loses cleanly and actually was a great heel when he first arrived, fans have had enough.
But it’s not only fans who have problems with Cena. There are wrestlers as well who, in the past, have had problems with Cena and some who still probably do. We take a look at 10 of these wrestlers.
10 The Rock
When The Rock made his long awaited return to the WWE in 2011 and announced that he would be hosting WrestleMania 27, that wasn't the only reason he came back. The Great One had a bone to pick with Cena who was talking smack about him only caring about Hollywood and not about wrestling.
And so, the build up began to WrestleMania 28 where the two superstars would face off, delivering promo after promo each week. But this feud had a certain realness to it, and that’s because it was real. There was a genuine tension between the two superstars as The Rock explains:
“It got really uncomfortable for a lot of people. And it gets uncomfortable for the fans–that they sense something. But then when it gets uncomfortable for the wrestlers and to the executives and the company, then it’s something special. … I’d say ‘John, here’s what I’m going to say tonight: Go f— yourself.’ He’d say, ‘Well, here’s going to be my response: F— you too.’ I mean, it was like that. And it was palpable for the fans, and it was palpable backstage.”
And it was special indeed as their rivalry led to two successful WrestleMania main events. And to top it all off, they’re now buds.
9 Dave Batista
The Animal became a main eventer the same time as Cena back in 2005 but as the company changed its direction to a more child-friendly product, Batista was soon out as he simply couldn’t continue in that sort of environment.
In an interview following his departure, he particularly placed blame on Cena:
“I think, you know, they did the whole PG direction thing, I think that works for Cena; the little kids love him, cause he’s a great character, he’s someone they can look up to. The girls love him, good looking guy, says all the right things, does all the right things, but the hardcore fans can’t stand him. He is Mr. Hokey, Mr. PG… to me; he killed hardcore, edgy wrestling.”
While Batista is right with regards to the fact that Cena is more than likely Mr. PG, it’s very harsh to say that he killed hardcore, edgy wrestling. After all, Cena’s not booking the matches or the segments.
I’m sure even Cena somewhere deep down has gotten tired of the monotony of his superhero gimmick. But I doubt that’s going to change Batista’s opinion.
8 CM Punk
CM Punk is one of the most controversial wrestlers (and now fighters) around so you’ll know if he has an opinion on someone and Cena is definitely one wrestler he has a problem with.
But rather than the problem being Cena himself, like Batista, Punk resents the way he’s booked and how he’s seen as a superhero and the face of the company.
Even in his infamous Pipe Bomb promo, Punk said he never hated Cena the person; he liked him more than others, but he hated the idea that Cena was viewed as the best and the only thing he did better than Punk was kiss Vince McMahon’s ass.
Punk would talk more about Cena in future interviews on podcasts, stating that while he did everything Cena did, whatever Punk did was barely shown to the public because Vince wanted his poster boy to get all the attention.
It’s pretty hard not bearing a grudge against Cena even if he’s not the one asking for all this.
7 Alex Riley
Alex Riley, once Miz’s manager, soon became a promising singles midcarder destined for bigger things. However, all of a sudden, he just stopped getting screen time and even stopped showing up on WWE Superstars altogether.
Sources claim the reason for this was Cena was ribbing Riley backstage in front of the other wrestlers and while it’s all in good spirit and Riley’s not the first to get it, he didn’t take it so well.
He reportedly overreacted which goes against the supposed code of the locker room and with that, his promising push ended.
Kenny Dykstra - who is also on this list as you'll see - decided to weigh in with the issue for no reason whatsoever with this tweet:
"Cena acts stupid to riley, riley calls him on it, loses push. This must be a lie! Lmao #ibelieve."
Maybe there is a truth to Cena burying potential superstars?
6 Tyler Reks
When former WWE superstar, Tyler Reks was asked on a podcast what he thought about Cena, he replied:
“He’s a workhorse. He does incredible things for the company and he busts his butt. Outside the ring, I can’t stand the guy. He’s not a nice guy, he holds talent down. He steals ideas. He’s a prick.”
And this doesn’t stem from jealousy either. Reks claims Cena aggressively pulled him aside and told him to find a new finisher since Reks’ Burning Hammer was similar to Cena’s Attitude Adjustment. Cena went on to belittle him, call him an idiot and implied that if he didn’t find a new finisher - one which Reks had been using for months with no problem - he’d be fired.
Then again, this is only one side of the tale but assuming Reks’ story is true, no wonder he thinks Cena’s a prick.
5 Kenny Dykstra
Former Spirit Squad member, Kenny Dykstra probably has the most reason to hate Cena more than most. After all, the Cenanation leader was in a relationship with WWE Diva Mickie James, who was engaged to Kenny at the time.
As a result of speaking out about it, Kenny’s promising WWE career went down the drain as while Mickie and Cena were hooking up, Kenny got transferred to Smackdown until he was eventually dismissed in 2008.
Dykstra still airs their dirty laundry even today on his Twitter account and he doesn’t care about the consequences either:
"I'm ruining any chance of a WWE return by doing this I'm sure. But it doesn't matter to me."
Oddly, Dykstra also stated that he likes Cena. We totally believe that.
4 Mickie James
That leads us to Mickie James. As you read earlier, she wasn’t being faithful and was hooking up with Cena, being his ‘road girlfriend’ according to Dykstra.
She ended up wanting to date the Doctor of Thuganomics only to get rejected in favor of Cena’s childhood sweetheart whom he ended up marrying.
The end result? She ‘flipped out backstage’ which eventually led to her demise as well.
From potentially being one of the top mainstay Divas, James ended up returning to TNA. It was mostly her fault, but you can imagine her harboring some resentment towards Cena.
3 Mr. Kennedy
When Mr. Kennedy burst into the scene, he was genuinely an exciting, charismatic star destined for success. He had the gimmick, the theme song and the entrance.
However, he was reckless and botched many moves which didn’t go so well with the rest of the locker room, particularly Randy Orton and Cena.
Along with himself being deemed ‘injury prone’, by the time he was fit again, he was already so low in the card that he just had no WWE future anymore. This led to his firing and he soon enough, ended up at TNA.
Speaking on his departure, Kennedy touched upon Cena:
“Besides some personal burials that have taken place…I’m just not a huge fan."
He then transitioned his point to say that if someone did something wrong in the WWE, they’d never tell them and just smile. It was a game and Kennedy was getting constantly mindf*****.
We assume Cena did this and complained to the management about Kennedy which could have very well been a factor in the wrestler’s demise who is bound to hold a grudge.
2 Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett’s big push came when he was leading Nexus against Cena. Unfortunately, we all know what happens when Cena has his back against the wall and somehow wins against all odds.
Since then, Barrett has undergone several new gimmicks and pursued various titles but hasn’t been a main eventer since while Cena continues to be the face of the company, even with the United States Championship.
And in a very revealing interview, Barrett claimed that he and Cena just aren’t friends:
“He has been the face for 10 years, and he’s really good at what he does. But everyone knows that I don’t like John Cena, and he doesn’t like me either. You’re right, he does get booed by a lot of fans, lot of people don’t like him. But he sells a lot more t-shirts and other merchandise than anyone else. So there are a lot of people out there who like him too. Either way everyone has an opinion about him, I respect that. Personally I don’t like him and he doesn’t like me, we are not friends.”
This one’s different from Batista and Punk, folks. Barrett’s openly admitted that he and Cena don’t like each other. We wonder what the reason could possibly be?
1 Chavo Guerrero
It’s fair to say that out of all the wrestlers on this list, Chavo Guerrero has the biggest problem with Cena.
It’s certainly random but Chavo went on a huge Twitter rant about Cena a few years ago, potentially burning his bridges with the WWE in the process.
His main points were that he’d stop watching wrestling if Cena - now a 15 time champion - broke Ric Flair’s legendary 16 time championship reign and that he was just simply tired of Cena.
He also went on to say that Cena only has better mic skills than him and that he could out wrestle Cena with his eyes closed and one hand tied behind his back.
Bold words but like Batista, Chavo needs to realize that Cena is being booked in a way that is making fans get tired of him. And while Chavo is undoubtedly a better wrestler, it’s very harsh and shortsighted to say that Cena isn’t a good wrestler.
This is especially true when other prominent superstars say otherwise while Cena has been delivering some of his best matches in recent years too.
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