It seems to come with every generation, like them or love them a babyface will emerge in the WWE that thinks that they are untouchable. There was a time when Hulk Hogan was the top face and the wreslers in the locker room all had bad things to say about him and they way that Hogan treated them. In the modern era, that tradition has been revived by John Cena.
John Cena fancies himself the Michael Jordan of the WWE and whether you agree with him or not, it does seem to be a popular opinion. His catchphrase of "You Can't See Me" seems to refer more to the real man behind the character than it does any in-ring gimmicks. We see the whitewashed version of John Cena that the WWE wants to present to us, but backstage a portrait is painted of a very different man, provided only by those no longer with the company. You can take this as a lot of disgruntled ex-employees or the true confessions of people that are no longer afraid of the powers that be at the WWE and what they may do to them for talking.
The character that we see on television is widely hated by the audiences for his on-screen douchebaggery (yeah, that's a word...kind of!), but the man behind the brightly colored shirts and extremely limited "five moves of doom" in-ring work is said to be far worse backstage. Here we have collected stories of debauchery, cheating, bullying and burying, all to paint a full portrait of the man that once dubbed himself the Doctor of Thuganomics...and a thug he certainly is.
In an era before NXT was a developmental powerhouse for the WWE, successful in it's own right as a brand, there was a burgeoning developmental situation in the company. It was out of this that a ton of great talent came onto the main roster to "invade," dubbed The Nexus in 2010. Consisting of talent like Wade Barrett, Ryback, Heath Slater and Bray Wyatt (many under different ring names). The group was a popular heel stable that would path the way for groups like The Shield to emerge years later. Cena was involved in a long standing feud with the stable and instead of helping to build this group of new Superstars, Cena refused to let Barrett go over on him and at Summer Slam that year used his pull to change the result, leaving him the winner. Over the course of the next six months he would effectively bury both Nexus and Barrett himself, scattering the group back to developmental.
We often see images of John Cena playing the role of the good-hearted Superman that is always there for sick children and to spread his good moral code to the fans. There was one incident, relayed by Ryback on his podcast, that painted a very different portrait of the Doctor of Thuganomics. Reportedly an employee of an arena wanted to meet Cena, thanks to his involvement in the WWE anti-bullying campaign, "Be A Star." His life had been very affected by bullying and he just wanted to take a moment to thank Cena for all his work with the program. Ryback says that he took the idea to Cena, who quickly dismissed the man with a "F*@k Him!" Ryback expressed his disgust with Cena's attitude and if it's true.
It isn't just other wrestling talent that have had issues with Cena being a douche. Actor Freddie Prinze, Jr. (Friends, Scooby-Doo) told Chris Jericho about his experience with Cena in his podcast, Talk is Jericho. Prinze worked for a writer in the WWE awhile back and when he was there it was difficult to earn the respect of the roster. They all viewed him as a hollywood guy that was probably there on his name. In his efforts to work hard and prove himself, Prinze found the most resistance from John Cena. The guy that preaches "respect" gave none to Prinze, purposefully calling him Ashton Kutcher for months, before finally allowing him he dignity of a begrudging acknowledgement. It's not enough to be on several sucessful television shows and movies, Cena still felt the need to make Prinze earn his respect.
John Cena isn't just a douche, he's a big jacked-up horny douche. The superhero that preaches "loyalty" to his legions of fans in the Cenation was a married man having an affair with one of the female talents, Mickie James. The affair eventually came out and instead of Cena facing repercussions from the company, they instead decided to bury her then fiancé Kenny Dykstra for daring to speak up and have an issue with Cena sleeping with his soon to be wife, and Mickie James herself. They started the "Piggy James" angles on television, humiliating her week after week until eventually firing her. She then went on to make her name in other companies, but it would be six long years before she would be "allowed" to return to the company. Cena, as usual, used his influence and flex with Vinnie Mac to screw over another talent, this time to great detriment to her career.
On the subject of Cena being a cheating, cheaty cheaterson, we're going to touch his divorce. Cena had married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth Huberdeau, in 2009. He would file suddenly for divorce in 2012, catching his wife completely off-guard. The reasons that the master of public relations manipulation would give publicly for the split was a lame excuse about arguments during home improvements and the pressure of facing The Rock at WrestleMania (really Cena?!). Elizabeth had a different story to tell, citing multiple cheating incidents from Cena, including that Mickie James incident we listed above. Not exactly the wholesome cartoon character that we see the WWE market to children on television today...so much for the "loyalty" in Hustle, Loyalty and Respect that Cena is always pushing on the kids. Apparently, that only applies in kayfabe.
We've covered Cena having a sketchy past when it comes to commitment, so even though they tried to paint it in a sympathetic light on the Total Divas reality series showing Nikki as the poor injured girlfriend. Truly, you have to give it to Cena that he knows himself enough to not commit to marriage again, clearly he knows his limitations when it comes to monogamy. That little shred of respect you give him quickly faded his year when he proposed to Nikki at the grandest stage of them all. The two engaged in a mixed tag match with the Miz and his wife Maryse, which ended in their predictable victory and then a very scripted and stiff proposal from Cena. This negated everything he said about marriage, almost making years of Total Divas seem like a work. Apparently Cena will propose, as long as the cameras are running.
There are a few wrestlers that have a pretty universal level of popularity, guys like Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock, to name a few. John Cena is maybe the only person in the world to have issues with Dwayne Johnson. People love The Rock and he's such a cool headed guy that no one has real heat with him, except Cena. During their two year WrestleMania feud, it came out that Cena really did reflect the feelings that he expressed about The Rock leaving for Hollywood. Ironically, he would take the comments back years later, when he himself left for Hollywood and took on a more part time role with the company. Cena isn't just a douche bag, he's also a huge hypocrite. What's that you say? You think that Cena is better than the Rock? It doesn't matter what you think!
The world of professional wrestling is somewhat of an elite club at times. The backstage is full of relationships, politics and friendships that can last a lifetime. The industry can be a time consuming and taxing job, especially if you work in the confines of the WWE touring schedule. A wrestler will spend more time with other talent than their own families and for this reason they become a tightly knit group. There are famous tales of wrestlers like Hogan and Flair that get too famous and too big for their britches, and isolate themselves from the other talent backstage, especially the less popular players. This is said to be the case with Cena, as well. He is well known not to associate with any of the lower card guys or the enhancement talent that comes through the company.
We know Winham Lawrence Rotunda best by his current in-ring name, "The Eater of Worlds," Bray Wyatt. He was once a member of the ill-fated Nexus stable, known by the rather condescending name Husky Harris. During the feud that Nexus had with Cena, there was a moment when Cena and Harris were in the same ring and apparently Harris poked Cena in the eye, fulfilling all of our hopes and dreams in the process. The word is that he wasn't apologetic enough to Cena about the incident backstage, so Cena used his most prolific superpower, which is burying other talent, and had him kicked back down to NXT. It turned out to be a good move for Harris, since he's know the main event player Bray Wyatt, but that is thanks to his hard work, no thanks to Cena's politicking.
When a talent like Cena elevates to such a high position in the WWE they gain a certain amount of pull with Vinnie Mac. The leader of the Cenation has used that pull to bury talent time and time again. Ironically, another man infamous for his burying of talent, Triple H, is the mind behind the NXT brand and the rise of the developmental homegrown talent. When one guy at a time would come up from developmental, guys like Cena could bury and hold them down, retaining their super babyface spot, but when a legion of guys comes up, Cena can't combat them all. Look at the main roster right now and count how many came up from the NXT, under the protection of Trips. Thanks to Hunter, the Cena problem has been neutralized.
The conflict between Alex Riley and John Cena has become the thing of wrestling lore. We know that it's real, because Alex Riley has confirmed it and Ryback has hinted at it being a big deal. We do know that Cena could be seen backstage mocking Riley while he was in the ring, defacing him to the other talent. A few negative words from a big name like Cena are all it takes to ruin your momentum in the WWE. According to Riley, whatever transpired between him and Cena changed the course of his career, a statement that he doesn't say with a positive connotation. Riley has promised that he will one day reveal the details of their conflict and no doubt Cena will come out looking like he always does...terrible.
One of the moves that defines every wrestler is their finisher. These signature moves are crowd ticklers that become a tried and true part of any pro-wrestler's arsenal. Understandably, you have to respect the finisher of other talent and they can't generally overlap, although some legends will pass them on once they get on in age (ie: the Figure Four, Sharpshooter, etc.). John Cena got protective of his finisher years back and showed what a jerk he can be. Tyler Reks accidentally used the finisher at a house show and then again at a pay-per-view, after which Cena dressed Reks down backstage in front of the roster, telling him to find a new finisher or he would be fired. Reks apologized, but Cena kept on trashing him.
Not only is John Cena a big ol' cheaty cheat, but he takes a special pride in landing women that are already married, as well. There are several wrestlers that have confirmed that Cena has a fetish for the married ladies, including the understandably disgruntled Kenny Dykstra. One such example was the WWE Diva Victoria. John Cena would refer to her as his "road wife." Victoria had been married at the time since 1999 and she herself confirmed their involvement. It's bad enough to unabashedly cheat on your own spouse, but to pride yourself on destroying the relationships of others goes beyond douchebag and into the realm of absolute monster. The power that Cena carries backstage at the WWE has not only gone to his head, it's completely corrupted any sense of decency.
The Bella Twins came into the WWE as a novelty act that capitalized on their identical twin gimmick as a fetish during the WWE Diva days. The two would return to the company in 2012, this time around Nikki had a secret weapon, she was dating top babyface John Cena. Cena is said to have pressured the powers that be into pushing the Bella twins, particularly Nikki. This fact was quickly apparent to the fans watching at home, as we saw Nikki Bella get push after push over other talent that was far better in the ring and on the microphone. Nikki began winning far more often than she should and became the Cena of the Divas division. She would eventually get the honor of being the longest reigning Divas Champion of all-time.
Ryback has been a very angry man since leaving the WWE and the focus of most of his issues seem to stem from working with John Cena. Ryback and Cena worked what could have been a very good program together, but it ended up like every other Cena program..with the other guy getting absolutely buried. In Ryback's case his momentum was stopped so abruptly by Cena that he would soon find himself working the dreaded pre-shows at the pay-per-views. Ryback often recalls Cena incidents on his podcast, one of which was when Ryback finally managed to top Cena is merchandise sales. Cena allegedly told Ryback to enjoy it while it lasted, because it would be short-lived. Although he was smug as always, Cena sadly wasn't wrong.