John Cena made his name a relevant one in the history of WWE thanks to a long run as the face of the company. The rise of Cena to the top status would make WWE find the dream wrestler to represent them in the ring and off screen. Cena truly embodied everything the company wanted from a top wrestler that is visibly showcasing what they believe the brand should be about.
The wrestling of Cena would see many ups and downs through the years. It became known that some wrestlers would rise to the next level as a superstar if they delivered a good performance against Cena. Others would fail drastically if the match disappointed. Regardless, Cena’s track record was a mixed bag, especially on the biggest stage. We will look at the five best WrestleMania matches of John Cena along with the five worst.
10 Best: Vs Triple H (WM 22)
The main event of WrestleMania 22 was a huge success for the John Cena era reaching another level. Fans in Chicago reacted with the strongest polarizing response yet with many fans booing him during the WWE Championship defense against Triple H.
WWE allowed the fan base to express their hatred against Cena, but they did not turn him heel or have him lose due to it. Cena scored the clean win over Triple H by having him submit to the STFU. The match was solid and still holds up as a decent match today.
9 Worst: Vs The Undertaker (WM 34)
The most recent WrestleMania match for John Cena at WrestleMania 34 was a glorified squash match against The Undertaker. It was a dream match for many years that WWE fans badly wanted to see on the biggest stage, especially when Undertaker’s undefeated streak was still going.
The match came way too late as Undertaker was too limited one year after a horrible WrestleMania performance against Roman Reigns. WWE booked it to protect him with an easy victory over Cena within a couple of minutes, but it is a negative in Cena’s history.
8 Best: Vs Big Show (WM 20)
John Cena’s first WrestleMania match at WrestleMania 20 vs Big Show is not a classic by any means, but it shows how effective simple booking can be. The match was for the United States Championship as Cena would defeat the big man to win his first title in WWE.
Fans at Madison Square Garden reacted positively to Cena scoring the win over Big Show by using his brass knuckles and delivering the FU finisher. It helped Cena start to gain more momentum on his path to becoming a legend in the industry.
7 Worst: Vs JBL (WM 21)
The first WWE Championship win for John Cena was saved for WrestleMania 21 in Los Angeles to end JBL’s lengthy reign as the champ. Cena had a cool moment jumping into the crowd to soak in the love for his elevation.
Unfortunately, the match itself was a huge disappointment. JBL’s reign had a few stinkers as his in-ring work left a lot to be desired. Cena’s win felt secondary to Batista defeating Triple H that same night given the match qualities of each. WWE would book a bloody “I Quit” Match between Cena and JBL on the next PPV to give Cena more momentum after the WM disappointment.
6 Best: Vs Batista (WM 26)
John Cena and Batista had an underrated chemistry that led to them delivering in a few big match scenarios. WWE saved their important matches to come at huge shows like Summerslam and this WrestleMania 26 stage.
Batista turned heel towards the end of his first run with the company and defeated Cena through shady tactics one month earlier to steal the WWE Championship. Cena scored his win back in an impressive WrestleMania match that added another great rivalry to his legacy and Batista was able to leave after a great program.
5 Worst: Vs Rusev (WM 31)
This WrestleMania 31 match between John Cena and Rusev felt like an important one for Rusev’s career. The push of Rusev was going strong for almost a full year with his dominant United States Championship reign.
Cena was transitioning into a smaller spot on the show with others in the main event picture. The mid-card WrestleMania match for him ended up being a disappointing one. Rusev took the loss and would never regain the same momentum he had heading into that match.
4 Best: Vs The Rock (WM 28)
The feud between John Cena and The Rock would use real-life tension between the two after Cena ripped Rock for leaving the company to go Hollywood. Rock would make his first singles match appearance in almost a decade in his hometown of Miami for WrestleMania 28.
Cena and Rock main evented the show to record box office results. They would have a rematch the following year at WrestleMania 29, but this one had a better quality of action. Cena proved he could hang with a legend even in defeat to The Rock.
3 Worst: W/ Nikki Bella Vs The Miz And Maryse (WM 33)
John Cena wasted one of the final WrestleMania matches of his prime by working in a mixed tag match teaming with his then girlfriend Nikki Bella against the couple of Maryse and The Miz at WrestleMania 33. The program leading up to the match was compelling, but the match itself was lackluster and dull.
Cena’s main rational for the match was wanting to propose to Nikki on the biggest stage after years of claiming he would not. The relationship ended shortly after which ruined the moment of the proposal, and the match itself failed to entertain which makes it an all-time dud for Cena.
2 Best: Vs Shawn Michaels (WM 23)
The best WrestleMania match of John Cena’s career was originally not even planned. Cena was reportedly booked to have a rematch from one year prior against Triple H at WrestleMania 23 for the WWE Championship until Triple H suffered an injury earlier in the year.
Michaels was selected as the replacement and it turned out to be for the best. Cena had his best WrestleMania match and one of the best matches of his career against the legend. Both men delivered a classic that was worthy of the main event.
1 Worst: Vs The Miz (WM 27)
The main event match between John Cena and The Miz at WrestleMania 27 was built around the return of The Rock as the official host of the event. Rock interfered to cost Cena the match and set up a big main event between them to come one full year later.
Miz was lost in the shuffle despite winning the main event of WrestleMania and retaining the WWE Championship. The match itself was quite dull with fans silent until The Rock came out. Miz had such a poor performance that WWE moved him out of the main event picture for many years at the end of this title reign. It gave Cena arguably the worst big match performance of his career.