It's hard to believe that we've now been watching John Cena compete and do his thing for 15 years. Cena's truly had a long and respectable career. From the Doctor of Thuganomics to the WWE golden boy, we've seen Cena go through a lot of different phases. Some of them have been good, and some have been bad. But one thing we know for sure is this; WWE has a very selective memory when it comes to Mr. Cena.
Cena has had the opportunity to make a name for himself in two different eras of WWE programming. He debuted and became a Superstar during the Ruthless Aggression era, but matured and became a WWE legend during the PG Era. And while WWE would have you believe that Cena has always been the squeaky clean poster boy, we know better. So here are 15 Things WWE Wants You To Forget about the Non-PG John Cena.
15 Bull Buchanan
John Cena's first big break came in late 2002 when he debuted his first major character in WWE. One week after dressing as Vanilla Ice for a SmackDown Halloween party, Cena adopted a more aggressive, street tough attitude and began to cut freestyle raps on his opponents. The gimmick became huge and was widely popular, with Cena referring to himself as the 'Doctor of Thuganomics.' But if there's one aspect of the gimmick that WWE wants you to forget, it would undoubtedly be B-Squared.
B-Squared was a character played by Bull Buchanan, best known for his time with the Right to Censor. Buchanan portrayed Cena's hip hop sidekick, and even went as far as finishing all Cena's raps with a "BOO-YAH!" Cena getting over as a rapper was already a stretch, and Buchanan acting in that matter was just plain ridiculous. Unsurprisingly, Buchanan didn't last long next to Cena, as he was dropped from the act two months after he joined.
14 Botched Royal Rumble 2005 Finish
As 2005 rolled around, Cena had made it as the top baby face on SmackDown. Heading in to the Royal Rumble match, Cena was positioned as one of the favorites along with Batista from Monday Night Raw. The company was ready to pull the trigger on both men, but the question of who would win the Rumble still loomed. Batista and Cena ended up being the last two entrants in the Rumble match, and accidentally went over the top rope at the same time. While WWE has done the double elimination story before, it was clear that this was not one of those times.
The mistake led to a furious Vince McMahon basically sprinting to the ring in disgust to figure out what had happened. This is also where we get the image of Vince sitting in the ring due to his blown quads while trying to come to a conclusion. Basically, the finish was one confusing moment after another.
13 Stabbing Angle
WWE has a history of taking real life events and turning them into story lines, whether the events were wrestling related or not. So when John Cena needed time off in late 2004 to film the first Marine movie, WWE decided to play it off as him being stabbed in a Boston nightclub. And if that sounds familiar, it's because NBA player Paul Pierce, in real life, was stabbed in a Boston night club.
We later found out that Carlito, who had won the United States Championship from Cena, had a bodyguard named Jesus. Jesus was the storyline stabber and of course Cena would return later to exact his revenge and regain his United States Championship. If there's anything to be learned from this incident however, it's that WWE is willing to reach literally anywhere for an angle or story idea.
12 Freestyle Rap Content
Before the PG-Era of WWE programming came along, John Cena used to incite his opponents with vulgar, battle type freestyle raps. And although Cena was never allowed to rip into his opponents with the ferocity of a real life diss track, he did frequently assault his adversaries with vulgar and suggestive lyrics. Fans who remember this time are often irritated when the modern day Cena calls someone 'poopy' , or lays out any of his watered down insults.
Most of his early raps involved putting himself over and insulting his opponent. But Cena always managed to do so in a clever way. His arsenal included sexually suggestive innuendos, homosexual insinuations toward male opponents, and the occasional swear word to really get his point across. Cena never went too far with his raps, but it's no secret that WWE prefers you didn't remember this time period.
11 Fan Backlash Started With Chris Jericho
During the summer of 2005, after John Cena had successfully elevated himself as the top guy in WWE, he was traded to Monday Night Raw. As the WWE Champion, his first feud was with Chris Jericho. At this point, although Jericho was booked as the heel, he got the cheers in their matches while Cena got the boos. It was the first time in the 'Super Cena' era that he really got booed while playing baby face. The theory behind this is that not only were fans already tired of Cena always coming out on top, but also the fact that Jericho was incredibly popular with the fans before this.
The trend intensified the next month when Cena began to feud with Kurt Angle. The fans simply weren't buying into the fact that Cena could defeat the greatest wrestler in the world at that point. If we look back over the last decade or so, we'll notice that Cena is most loudly booed when facing a wrestler who is more talented and doesn't deserve to lose to Cena. CM Punk, A.J. Styles, Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, etc. And this all started back in 2005 with the G.O.A.T.
10 Kevin Federline Pins Cena
One area where Vince McMahon doesn't get enough credit is his connection to mainstream media, and his connections with Hollywood celebrities. Vince has always managed to put WWE into mainstream news, and make it look good. So no one was really surprised when Kevin Federline, ex husband of Britney Spears, began to appear on Raw in late 2006. K-Fed aligned himself with the duo of Johnny Nitro and Melina, who were playing Hollywood socialite characters. Federline immediately picked a fight with Cena, and they were even physical a few times.
After a few weeks of physical contact, K-Fed got involved in the Cyber Sunday Triple Title Match between Cena, World Champion King Booker, and ECW Champion the Big Show. Federline cost Cena the match with his interference which prompted Cena to challenge him to a match on the New Year's edition of Raw. So on the first Raw of 2007, Cena and Federline squared off, and of course K-Fed got the win. After this, no one can say that Cena isn't willing to do business. However, a pinfall loss to Federline is pretty embarrassing.
9 Original Finisher Name
When John Cena debuted his rapper gimmick, it took some time for it to really pick up steam and be taken seriously. During the first part of 2003, Cena picked a fight with the WWE Champion at the time, Brock Lesnar. The roots of the feud came from a match a few months prior in which Lesnar injured Cena's leg. Cena became obsessed with beating Lesnar, and the two were set for a championship match at Backlash 2003 for Brock's WWE title.
Aside from the multiple freestyle rap promos Cena cut on Lesnar, Cena also began to mock Lesnar leading up to their match. That's why Cena originally named his finisher the 'F-U', because it was a play on Lesnar's 'F-5.' A few years later when Cena began using the STF, he rechristened it as the 'STF-U.' Unfortunately, as we all know, the PG Era called for Cena to change the names of both moves to be in accordance with the PG guidelines. So the 'FU' is now the 'Attitude Adjustment,' and the 'STFU' has been shortened back to just 'STF.'
8 He Was Married
Usually marriage, in any aspect, wouldn't be looked at in a negative light. But this situation is a little different. The PG version of John Cena's career can be boiled down to a few bullet points. His feud with The Rock, his budding show business career, his 16th World title, and his relationship with Nikki Bella. John and Nikki have been dating since 2012, and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. But their fairy tale romance is exactly why WWE doesn't want you to remember that John Cena has already been married, and divorced.
Before Nikki Bella came along, John was married to a woman named Elizabeth Huberdeau. The two were high school sweethearts and officially tied the knot in July of 2009. Sadly, their divorce was settled exactly three years later in July of 2012. The details of the marriage and divorce have been described as messy, but Cena picked his life back up and started dating Nikki shortly after. And although John has refused to get married again, he does seem much happier than he was before.
7 He Was a Heel
If there's one thing that frustrates WWE fans more than anything, it's when the writers and creative teams don't do what we want them to do. How dare they not listen to our demands and comply with our ideas of how story lines should go? This is especially true when it comes to John Cena's character. For years, fans have been clamoring for a John Cena heel turn, and have been scorned every time it doesn't happen. It's almost as if Cena continues to 'Rise Above Hate.'
Although WWE has refused to turn Cena due to his charity successes and outstanding merchandise sales, fans can think fondly of a time when Cena actually was on the other side of the fence. The good guy/bad guy fence to be specific. Cena played a heel character during his first couple of years in WWE and played it very well. And although we've seen glimpses of the grit and ruggedness of his heel days, it'll be a true shocker if we ever see Cena play a bad guy again. I mean, if WWE wouldn't even turn Cena in his feud against The Rock, who else could make him into a believable heel?
6 Judgement Day 2005
The PG Era has brought about a lot of changes to the programming that most of grew up watching. And one of the main changes is the allowance of blood in matches. Very rarely since 2008 have we seen blood allowed in a match. In fact, we've seen a very high volume of matches interrupted, or stopped completely due to a wrestler bleeding. Blood is a big no-no. So when WWE presents John Cena as the golden boy of WWE and the PG Era, there's no way they want you to remember Judgment Day 2005.
Two months after winning his first WWE Championship from JBL at WrestleMania 21, Cena was challenged to a rematch at Judgement Day 2005. The match was scheduled to be an I Quit match, and we all knew it would be a hardcore affair. However, what we didn't predict, is that it would end up being one of the bloodiest matches in WWE history. JBL and Cena battled for over 20 minutes. And even though Cena picked up the victory, his face and most of his upper body was a crimson mask afterwards. If you thought Randy Orton at SummerSlam last year was bad, go check out this match on the WWE network.
5 One Night Stand 2006
I've always enjoyed the work of John Cena and the effort he puts into his craft, but I gained a true amount of respect for the man on this night. At ECW One Night Stand 2006, Cena was set to defend his WWE Championship against Money in the Bank Winner, Rob Van Dam. Everyone knew that Cena would be in for a rough night, but no one could've expected what was to come. Not only was RVD the more popular Superstar, but the event was being held in the heart of New York City. Home of the true ECW fans. The ECW crowd was going to cheer RVD, and boo Cena, who they saw as a soft, cookie cutter wrestler when compared to ECW originals. This event also marks the first time we saw a "If Cena Wins, We Riot" sign.
The match started with Cena attempting to throw his t-shirt in the crowd, hopefully to find one fan that would keep it. Didn't happen. The fans threw his shirt back at him several times, with the idea being that there wasn't even ONE Cena fan in the audience. And throughout the match, things got worse for John. The crowd cascaded him with several offensive chants, including, "You can't wrestle," "Same old Sh**," "F**k You Cena," and "You Suck D***." Not to sound like a Cena lover, but it blows my mind how he was able to ignore all of this, and have the ability to put on a decent match.
4 Tapped to Kurt Angle Twice
WWE likes to push the idea of certain Superstars never tapping out because they're just so tough. Tapping out means you gave up, and these wrestlers never give up, supposedly. Think about when was the last time you saw The Undertaker lose a match by submission. Or Shawn Michaels? Or John Cena? The truth is, all of these Superstars have tapped out in their careers, but WWE doesn't want you to remember that.
John Cena started his baby face run in late 2003/early 2004. Since then, he has been the epitome of toughness and the 'Never Give Up' attitude. However, slightly before this heroic phase, Cena lost to Kurt Angle twice by submission. It's hard to imagine Cena losing cleanly at all. So it's almost impossible to picture him tapping out. But it did happen. The first instance came at No Mercy 2003 in a one-on-one match. And the second time was at No Way Out 2004, in a Triple Threat match with the Big Show involved. Now I could be wrong, but I don't think Cena has lost a match by submission since then.
3 Losing Record vs. Brock Lesnar
If we're truly being honest here, we have to admit that Brock Lesnar has basically dominated John Cena throughout their entire careers. Even in the matches Cena has won (Extreme Rules 2012), Brock has been dominant. And who could forget SummerSlam 2014? Although WWE likes to portray them as equals, there's no doubt that Brock has had the upper hand. And that's why WWE definitely wants you to forget that pre-PG John Cena had a losing record against Brock Lesnar.
Overall, in one on one matches, Cena is 2-4 against Brock. However, pre-PG Cena was 0-3 against The Beast. During Brock's initial main event run in 2002-2003, he faced Cena three times. And all three times Lesnar dominated Cena for a victory. Cena came the closest to defeating Brock in their WWE Championship match at Backlash 2003, but it wasn't close enough. WWE would prefer you forget this because since then, Cena has eviscerated everyone in his path, or last drew even with them.
2 Party Days
This one doesn't require much of an explanation because it's pretty obvious why WWE would want you to forget this. When John Cena turned babyface, his image was that of a tough solider like wrestler who always took the high road and never did wrong. And since the dawn of the PG Era, Cena's image changed into that of a squeaky clean, poster child for the company. He's in a stable relationship, does plenty of charity work and gives back to the community. But as legend has it, before he was put on the hypothetical leash, Cena was a party animal in his younger days.
It makes sense too. A young, good looking guy, who is making plenty of money and on the top of his profession deserves to celebrate. And Cena did just that. There have been several stories and pictures that show a wilder Cena. And almost every wrestler who hung out with him is guaranteed to have a wild Cena party story. This includes him going shot for shot with Ric Flair, and the countless women he's admitted to sleeping with. Cena was truly a party animal, but seems to have calmed down in his older age.
1 Stephanie Slap
If WWE could have seen where their respective careers were headed, I'm positive that this moment would've never happened. But it did. On the July 24, 2003 edition of SmackDown, John Cena interrupted a promo by then General Manager Stephanie McMahon. Cena expressed his excitement for the upcoming Stephanie vs Sable match at Vengeance. Then, an emboldened Cena, asked Stephanie if he could smack her....you know what. Surprisingly, The Billion Dollar Princess obliged and let Cena fulfill his wish. It was a moment that seemed harmless at the time, but definitely not one that WWE wants us to remember.
Currently, not only is Steph the ruthless Commissioner of Monday Night Raw, but she is also the Chief Brand Officer for WWE. She's worth at least 25 million dollars. This isn't to say that the Cena moment has tarnished her legacy or image in any way, but when they do a career retrospective for her, you can bet this won't be included. The whole segment only lasted about three minutes, but it surely doesn't fit the image of Steph's current position. Or John's for that matter.