John Cena has been slowly beginning to lose his title as the Face That Runs The Place over the last few months, instead choosing to prioritise his activities and commitments outside of professional wrestling. It’s a move that hasn’t surprised many, especially given that the former Doctor of Thuganomics has now entered his 40s.
Despite the many criticisms that he’s faced over the years, Cena has always able to keep a smile on his face whilst producing great work for WWE both in and outside of the squared circle. So then, it’s hardly a shock that someone with so many years in the business has so many fascinating facts and figures surrounding him.
A few of these facts don’t exactly paint John in the best of lights, but others will certainly help you to appreciate the impact that the guy has had on the business. As we all know the man isn’t an angel by any means, but when you’ve been wrestling week in and week out for more than 15 years you can understand why.
So buckle up, as we delve into the mysterious past of Mr Hustle, Loyalty & Respect.
15 He Has A Rap Album
Something that many people will probably know about John is that he’s got a past when it comes to the wonderful world of rap. The multi-time world champion first started off his career under that kind of gimmick, and to go alongside his growing popularity, the soon-to-be franchise player of WWE released his own rap album.
But the most interesting part about this is the title of one of the songs – “Don’t F*** With Us.” Even prior to the company going down the PG route, it seems baffling to us that they’d allow John to use a curse word in any sense, but then again, after all of the stunts they allowed the likes of DX and Austin to pull back in the day, it only seems fair.
14 His Relationship With Victoria
Cena’s past relationships have been well-documented by the media. First there was his marriage, then the alleged affair with Mickie James, and obviously his current relationship with fiancé Nikki Bella. However, a lot of fans may not realise that he also had a lengthy fling with none other than former WWE Diva Victoria.
The two superstars had an intimate relationship that lasted for several years, with some people claiming that both parties cheated on their significant others in the process. Apparently the whole thing was called off after the draft separated the two, but it’s certainly a bizarre story that fans will likely always be questioning.
13 Gold’s Gym Advert
Everyone knows that Cena has always been a big guy, with his days in professional wrestling being preceded by a bodybuilding career. Many pictures around the web will show you just how big the now 40-year-old got, and it seems as if a few people were taking notice of his progress as he landed himself quite a big coup.
Cena appeared in a rather amusing Gold’s Gym advert, during which he was working out before falling over in front of some attractive women. Sure, it’s cheap humour, but it gave us a small insight into just how multi-talented this guy could be. Obviously most of us didn’t see it until he was already a huge star, but still.
12 He's Good Friends With Samoa Joe
Making friends in this business can be hard, with a lot of legends previously stating that you’re either in the pro wrestling industry to make friends or make money. It turns out that whilst Cena seems to fall into the latter category from an outsider’s perspective, the guy actually has quite a lot of friendship-based stories from over the years.
One such example includes none other than Samoa Joe, as the two actually trained together way back in 2001 and beyond. The fresh-faced superstars worked out with one another and probably even got in the ring a few times, with Cena actually going over to Joe’s house for dinner on a number of occasions. That, my friends, is a storyline waiting to happen.
11 His Drinking Buddy
If you’ve heard the stories from guys in and outside of WWE, you’ll know by now that John Cena can drink – a lot. Mr Hustle, Loyalty & Respect has engaged in several boozing sessions over the years, as has been confirmed by a variety of superstars. However, one time in particular that stands out would be his debut alongside new drinking buddy Chris Jericho.
Y2J, who prides himself on being able to drink a lot, told the story of how he passed out during a session with Cena and awoke to found something that caught him a little bit off guard. Not only had his new partner in crime tucked him into bed, but John had carried on drinking and was listening to Jericho’s iPod in the corner whilst pounding a few more cans. What a dude.
10 Good Guy John
The feud between John Cena and Kevin Owens was one of the highlights of 2015, even if many fans felt as if the Prizefighter shouldn’t have lost a single match in the rivalry. Still, it gave Owens a platform to showcase what he can do on the main roster – and it was also quite important on a personal note for the former ROH champion.
It’s been well publicised that KO’s son is a huge John Cena fan, with Kevin telling the story of how he pitched an idea to John regarding the time when he didn’t go over to the section Owen (his son) was in to meet him at a live event. Cena was so horrified by this that when the father and son duo met Cena, he gave Owen a two-sided letter apologising for the incident. Outstanding.
9 How Much Is He Worth?
There aren’t going to be too many specifics involved here, but the figures alone should be enough to make you scream "what?!" We all know that John is the poster boy for WWE and it’s been that way for well over a decade now, but when you work out the numbers the end total is absolutely staggering.
Cena is reportedly worth between $35 million and $55 million, and he still earns around $10 million a year to this day. That figure will probably increase as time goes on which is absolutely frightening, and given the size of his house in Tampa, we’re not entirely sure what else he can possibly spend it on. A huge Cenaland theme park, perhaps?
8 His Job As A Limo Driver
Everyone has to pay the bills somehow in their youth, and John Cena was no different in that regard. In fact the multi-time WrestleMania headliner has quite an interesting past in terms of former jobs, with one particular career path that stands out above the rest being his tenure as a limo driver. Yup, this happened.
Nowadays you’re much more likely to find him in the back seat of a limo as opposed to the front, but we can see how this line of work would be a success for John. After all, he has the intimidating presence of a man who would make you feel incredibly safe, and given his love of cars, you just know that the guy can drive circles around you.
7 The Addiction Battles
For those of you who don’t know, The Addiction are an independent tag team made up of Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian. The duo, who were first paired together in 2011, have quickly become one of the most notable partnerships on the indies despite not being around for nearly as long as other legendary tag teams.
Also, it turns out that they've actually had some wars with Cena dating all the way back to the early 2000s. In a promotion called UPW, both men stepped into the squared circle and went one on one with the Face that Runs the Place, with Cena actually losing to Kazarian by disqualification. Everyone loves a dusty finish, right?
6 Grandson Of A Star
John Cena is a star by nature, and something tells us that he was born into greatness. As it turns out that couldn’t be any more true, with Cena’s grandfather Tony Lupien being a former baseball player within Major League Baseball. Oh, and their birthday isn’t the only thing they shared – they’re both incredibly talented.
Throughout the course of his career Lupien played for the Red Sox, Phillies and White Sox, turning in a number of impressive performances during that time. Whilst Cena’s father may not have had much athletic prowess, it turns out that there is a degree of ability that runs through the Cena family, which will likely surprise precisely nobody.
5 His WrestleMania Legacy
Establishing a legacy for yourself on a stage like WrestleMania is important, because every single person gets into this business wanting a spot on the card at that show. If anyone denies that, then we’re 98% sure it’s a lie, because who wouldn’t want to be at the Showcase of the Immortals competing in front of over 75,000 people.
Cena has had particular success at the Show of Shows, being the only man in history to win four World Titles throughout his career. These triumphs came against JBL at WrestleMania 21, Big Show & Edge at WrestleMania XXV, Batista at WrestleMania XXVI and The Rock at WrestleMania 29. That’s not the worst track record we’ve ever seen.
4 Accidental Debut
Everyone knows the story of John Cena’s "ruthless aggression" debut. He came out to challenge the legendary Kurt Angle on an episode of SmackDown, with John putting on a much better display than anyone could’ve anticipated. He lost, but he earned the respect of many that night, including the Deadman himself, The Undertaker.
Ironically enough, Cena wasn’t meant to be the man who faced Angle that night, and Taker himself was supposed to step into the ring with the Olympic Gold Medallist. The story goes that the Phenom fell ill during the day, meaning that John was thrust into a spot that many probably thought he wasn’t ready for – oh, how wrong they were.
3 His Dream Match
When you think of dream matches for John Cena there really aren’t many left on the table. If we’re going back through the annals of history, though, the likes of Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin certainly stick out above the rest. Despite this, when Cena himself was asked the question of who his dream opponent would be, he gave an answer that not many would’ve anticipated: Andre The Giant.
Yup. The larger-than-life personality that was Andre captured the imaginations of many young fans back in the day, and it turns out Cena was one of them. John has stated that he’d love to find out how the match would go given their sizes, and you just know that he’d deliver a monstrous Attitude Adjustment at some point.
2 Foreign Roots
A lot of people were surprised to learn that Cena can speak a number of different languages, including Mandarin. As it turns out, it’s really not all too shocking, with the former Doctor of Thuganomics actually having quite an interesting family history. Honestly, you may think he’s your everyday American, but that really isn’t the case.
Not only does Cena’s father have an Italian background, but his mother also has traces of English and French Canadian. So then, the next time you see a video of John speaking in the native tongue of whatever country he’s in you’ll know that it’s legit.
1 The Story Behind #54
54 is just a number to some people, but to John Cena it symbolises just how far he’s come in his journey to the top of professional wrestling. Now we know that this entry is going to seem a bit cheesy because we’re going to end up praising the guy, but come on, you’ve got to give him some plaudits every now and then or else it just gets boring.
The number 54 was used on the back of his college football jersey, and when he carried over into the WWE, Cena used it on several pieces of his merchandise. A shining example of this would be his WrestleMania 24 attire, where he donned the famous number just prior to a WWE Championship match.
The cycle from failed bodybuilder to successful superstar was complete.