Very recently we in the WWE Universe were treated to what was correctly described as a dream match. John Cena, the man who has been the face of the company for over a decade, went one-on-one with a man who has flown a similar flag but in his native Japan, Shinsuke Nakamura. It was a match many thought they would never see, and it happened on SmackDown Live no less! What was even more shocking is that Nakamura won, setting up a WWE Championship match with Jinder Mahal. Shortly after Shinsuke’s win a list of how many times Cena has lost cleanly in the past decade started doing the rounds. Surprise surprise, it was not a very long list.
The list revealed that over the course of ten years there have only been fourteen occasions when Big Match John has lost a wrestling match without any shenanigans going on. The list confirmed many fans’ suspicions that Cena rarely loses, and is reluctant to let Superstars go over in his matches. Who are those lucky few that have had the honor of doing so though? You must be pretty special to beat John Cena it would seem, and this list will outline eight of those lucky few whose careers Cena has helped boost. On the flip side however it will also pick out seven not so lucky stars that were sent down the card with the help of Big Match John.
15. Put Over: Alberto Del Rio
Alberto Del Rio and John Cena clashed many times during the Mexican’s first stint with WWE, and most of those battles were over the WWE Championship. Well when Del Rio returned for a second run with the company his old rival Cena was his first port of call. Alberto made a surprise return to answer Big Match John’s US Title Open Challenge at Hell in a Cell in 2015. What was even more surprising than Del Rio’s return was his impressive win over Cena. A super kick to the then United States champ won the GFW star the match in pretty short order. That was really the highlight for Del Rio during his second WWE run, and less than a year later he would once again part ways with Vince McMahon.
14. Bury: Damien Sandow
At the time of typing this only two people have ever cashed in a Money in the Bank contract and not been successful in winning the championship, John Cena and Damien Sandow. Funnily enough Sandow’s cash-in came against the man he shares that not so sought after label with. Sandow winning the briefcase made it seem like WWE were finally going to give him the push the WWE Universe had been clamoring for. The cash-in came during an episode of Raw and alas, it was not to be. Despite Cena having a broken arm he defeated the now former WWE Superstar and it was that match which began Sandow’s descent down the roster. He became a comedy act and despite Damien revitalizing his career through his work with The Miz, he would eventually part ways with the company.
13. Put Over: Shinsuke Nakamura
The most recent occurrence of John Cena putting over a fellow Superstar clean happened just a few weeks ago, and is really the match that inspired this list. On an August episode of SmackDown Live we were treated to an undeniable dream match. John Cena, the face of WWE for over ten years, and Shinsuke Nakamura, a household name in Japan for a similar amount of time, one-on-one for the first time ever. It was a short, hard-hitting match and The King of Strong Style emerged victorious. The win means that Nakmura will go on to face Jinder Mahal at this year’s SummerSlam. Although the match was a hard one to call, it was still a pleasant surprise to see Shinsuke’s arm raised following the bout’s conclusion.
12. Bury: R-Truth
R-Truth has been a part of the WWE roster on and off for an awful long time. The man once known as K-Kwik has remained in the same position on that roster for the majority of that time, and that position is probably slightly below the mid-card. In 2011 however Truth came from nowhere to challenge Cena for the WWE Championship. It seemed inconceivable back then that Truth was going to win the title match, but in 2017 we have Jinder Mahal as a champion so maybe it wasn’t so improbable. Truth did lose though, and he lost heavily. A loss against Cena isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is when you lose as convincingly as R-Truth did at Capitol Punishment. A suspension followed soon after and he has never come close to reaching those lofty heights since.
11. Put Over: The Rock
In back-to-back WrestleManias we witnessed a match that we never thought we would see. Two generations of wrestling clashing as The Rock stepped into the ring with John Cena. The first time the match took place at WrestleMania XXVIII it was billed as once in a lifetime, and I’m sure the majority of us believed that would indeed be the case. I’m sure a lot of us also thought that John Cena was much more likely to win than The Rock. Rocky was returning for a one match deal, Cena was very much full time at that point. It was a similar situation to Rock beating Hulk Hogan ten years earlier. That didn’t happen though and The People’s Champ left Cena defeated and dejected. One year later of course Cena would get that win back, but at that moment in time he put over a returning Rock and it’s exactly what most of the fans wanted to see.
10. Bury: Mickie James
This entry has a slightly different flavor to all the others on this list. As you might have guessed, Cena’s aid in burying Mickie James did not take place in the ring. During Mickie’s first run with the company her and John apparently got a little too close to one another, as at the time both of them were involved with other people. In fact John was married and Mickie was engaged. When the truth inevitably came out, things got messy. I can only imagine that it must have been pretty awkward for both parties to have to work in the same place each and every week. So allegedly John set about changing that. He used his sway back stage and James was slowly but surely pushed out. It must all be water under the bridge now since Mickie is once again under the employ of WWE.
9. Put Over: Daniel Bryan
One of the most famous and feel good moments in recent WWE history came at the end of WrestleMania XXX. Daniel Bryan defeating Batista and Randy Orton to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion. It was a long time coming though, and the last leg of Bryan’s journey began in July the year before. John Cena hand picked Bryan to be his SummerSlam opponent and challenger to his WWE Championship. It started the saga of Triple H and the McMahons not wanting Daniel as the face of the company. The Leader of the Yes Movement would go on to beat John Cena, but special guest referee Triple H would pedigree him straight after before calling Randy Orton to the ring to cash in his Money in the Bank, taking the title back from Bryan.
8. Bury: Wade Barrett
The United Kingdom is patiently waiting for its first ever WWE Champion. It seems crazy to think that it was an honor never bestowed upon British Bulldog, and at one point it seemed to be nailed on that Wade Barrett would eventually become the first. Alas it was not to be, and like a few others on this list the beginning of his downfall came during a feud with John Cena. Come to think of it Cena didn’t do any favors to the whole of the Nexus group that Barrett headed up at the time. It began when Barrett was the final man to be pinned by Cena in a SummerSlam elimination match, and slowly got worse between then and his loss at TLC of the same year to Big Match John. It’s the only entry on this list that saw Cena literally bury someone as he piled chairs on top of Wade.
7. Put Over: AJ Styles
One of the biggest feuds of the past two years in WWE has been the epic battle between John Cena and AJ Styles. A dream match that many hardcore wrestling fans never thought they would get to see. Much to the shock of those same fans, Styles defeated Cena the first time that the pair clashed. However The Phenomenal One’s long time friends Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson helped him pick up the W. A few months later Styles and Cena clashed again at SummerSlam 2016, but this time AJ wouldn’t have the help of The Club as they had been drafted to Raw. No matter though! Styles and Cena put on a match of the year candidate and the former was victorious. It elevated AJ and shortly after he became WWE Champion.
6. Bury: Ryback
Ryback is currently the butt of a lot of pro wrestling jokes in 2017. Many fans may have forgotten how successful he initially was when he arrived on the scene in WWE. The Big Guy went on a Golberg-esque winning streak following his debut, one that came to an end against CM Punk at Hell in a Cell in a WWE Championship match. Even after that loss Ryback remained popular. Then the following year the now former WWE employee was forced to turn heel in order to feud with John Cena. It wasn’t a turn that suited Ryback and despite being protected against John at first, he eventually succumbed to what so many others have on this list. Four years on and he is no longer an employee of WWE.
5. Put Over: CM Punk
One of the greatest feuds in modern wrestling history, and perhaps of all time, was the rivalry between John Cena and CM Punk. The pinnacle of their battles with each other came at Money in the Bank 2011 when the pair clashed for the WWE Championship. Not only was the bout in Punk’s home town of Chicago, but The Second City Saint had vowed to leave WWE with the title if he were to win it. It was one of the biggest angles ever and is one of the main reasons fans would love to see Punk back in WWE. Not only did Punk defeat Cena and escape the All State Arena with the WWE Championship, but Cena stopped Vince McMahon and his cronies from executing a Montreal Screwjob type scenario.
4. Bury: Bray Wyatt
One of the first marquee programs Bray Wyatt had when he arrived on the main roster in WWE was against the one and only John Cena. Their feud culminated at WrestleMania XXX following on from The Eater of World’s constant attempts to goad Cena into joining him on the dark side. While few would’ve believed that John would have switched his allegiance to join Bray, many would have hoped that Wyatt would at least pick up the win. No such luck for the former WWE Champion, and let’s be honest aside from a few glimmers of hope it’s been pretty mundane for Bray ever since. Wyatt seems to lose every major feud he partakes in, and you can trace that pattern all the way back to WrestleMania XXX.
3. Put Over: Brock Lesnar
Since Brock Lesnar returned for his second stint with WWE it has felt like SummerSlam has been all about The Beast. The current Universal Champion has main evented the biggest event of the summer for the past few years and one of those main events came against none other than John Cena. It wasn’t the first time the two had met in the ring, but still a pretty big match nonetheless. Any of you that witnessed the bout will have likely not forgotten it. It will forever be known as the most one-sided match that Cena ever lost. Lesnar took John to Suplex City and man handled the sixteen time champ as if he was a local enhancement talent. No one had ever beaten Big Match John so easily, and no one ever will again.
2. Bury: Rusev
Rusev and John Cena met in a flag match very recently you’ll likely recall. To no one’s surprise Cena won that one, but it came a long time after The Champ originally stunted Rusev’s ascent up the card in WWE. Much like Ryback, Rusev was portrayed as an extremely dominant force upon arrival on WWE’s main roster. He first appeared in early 2014 and didn’t lose in singles competition for over a year. Who was that first loss to? John Cena of course. The pair battled it out at WrestleMania 31 for the United States Championship. Despite The Bulgarian Brute’s impressive entrance – he arrived to the ring in a full sized tank – he couldn’t overcome the face that runs the place and has struggled to make a real impact on the roster ever since.
1. Put Over: Kevin Owens
As you can likely imagine if you weren’t around to see it in person, Kevin Owens made sure he went about making a pretty big impact when he first arrived on WWE’s main roster. While KO was still NXT Champion he arrived on Raw and set his sights on the company’s top prize, John Cena. After attacking Big Match John on his first night with WWE, just two weeks later The Prizefighter found himself one-on-one with his new foe at Elimination Chamber. It may have been a non title match, Cena was United States Champion at the time, but it was still a welcome shock when Owens picked up the win against his opponent. You could argue that Owens is still riding that momentum to this day.
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