The WWE Youtube channel team came up with an interesting list looking at the 20 greatest wins in the extraordinary of John Cena, who started in WWE 20 years ago.
What I’ll do is go over the list of twenty while providing some insight along the way. Just a reminder that this is not my list. It is in order that WWE posted on the Youtube clip, which I’ll post at the bottom.
20. First Victory
John Cena teamed up with The Undertaker on an episode of Smackdown shortly after Cena’s debut. It was Cena/Undertaker vs. top heels Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho. Undertaker punched Jericho in the head to block a Lionsault attempt and Cena got an inside cradle on Jericho to win his first match. The match aired on the July 11, 2002 edition of Smackdown.
19. World Tag Team Titles With Batista
Batista & Cena were on a collision course for a big match at SummerSlam 2008, which was their first major match against eachother. They ended up teaming up on Raw two weeks earlier and beat Ted Dibiase & Cody Rhodes to win the World Tag Team Titles when Batista hit a Batista Bomb on Dibiase for the win. (They would end up losing the titles back to Cody & Ted one week later on Raw.)
18. First Title Win
It was WrestleMania 20 in 2004. Cena was in full babyface mode as he challenged for the US Title. Cena hit Big Show with the FU (later known as the Attitude Adjustment) for the pinfall win and Cena’s first title in WWE. It was a big celebration after that. You could tell by this point that Cena was going to be a huge babyface star for many years to come.
17. Superstar of the Year 2009
Cena faced Orton in a match on Raw. Cena beat him clean with the Attitude Adjustment and became the WWE Superstar of the Year as a result of the win. That’s because it was a Slammy Award edition of Raw.
16. Beats Booker T in a Best of 5 Series
This was during Cena’s rise as a babyface on Smackdown. Booker T became a rival, which led to the Best of 5 series for the US Title and Cena got the win. It was a big deal for Cena since Booker was a more established superstar.
15. Pins The Undertaker
A rare TV loss for The Undertaker. The Undertaker wanted the Tombstone, but Cena was able to counter it and hit the FU for the pinfall win. The date of this Smackdown was August 7, 2003 when Cena was still a heel. There was a referee bump and then A-Train attacked Undertaker while the referee was down. Undertaker kicked out initially, but Cena followed up with the FU for the pinfall win. Basically, it was a cheap win although WWE’s video showing it didn’t mention that.
14. Submits Triple H at WrestleMania 22
Cena went into the match as the WWE Champion and he beat Triple H to keep the title at WrestleMania 22 in 2006. Cena beat him with the STFU. The Chicago crowd was against Cena for most of the match and rooting for Triple H to win, but it was obvious the whole time that Cena was going to win.
13. 2013 Royal Rumble Match
This was one of the most obvious Royal Rumble wins ever because The Rock won the WWE Title same night and we all know that Cena was going to win this Rumble match in 2013 in order to earn that WrestleMania title shot against The Rock. Cena won by last eliminating Ryback. It was Cena’s second Royal Rumble win.
12. Makes Batista Say “I Quit”
Cena was in a lengthy with Batista that came to an end with an I Quit match at Over The Limit 2010. They ended up battling by the stage area where there was a car. Cena picked Batista up on his shoulders with a tease where he would throw Batista onto the ramp. Batista shouted “I Quit” repeatedly. Cena still gave Batista the Attitude Adjustment off the car and Batista took a big bump through the stage. I’m sure there was padding, but it looked cool anyway.
11. Wins Vacant WWE Title in Ladder Match
There was a Money in the Bank Ladder Match in 2014 for the vacant WWE Title. Instead of winning the Money in the Bank contract/briefcase in this match, the winner became WWE Champion. Cena prevented Randy Orton from climbing and gave Orton an FU onto Kane in the ring. Cena climbed up and brought down the two WWE Titles to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Cena would go on to get absolutely decimated by Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam 2014.
10. 5th United States Title
This was from Night of Champions 2015 when Cena won back the US Title from Seth Rollins. The only part they showed was Cena hitting the Attitude Adjusment for the win. It was the last time Cena won the US title. Five US Title reigns in his career is pretty impressive along with the 16 WWE/World Title reigns.
9. Submits Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 23
It was the second year in a row where Cena made a WWE legend tap out in the main event of WrestleMania. We already mentioned Triple H tapping out at WM22 in 2006 and here’s Shawn Michaels doing it at WM23 in 2007. Cena beat Michaels with the STF in the middle of the ring. It was a very dramatic finish. Did anybody think Michaels would win? Probably not, but it was a great match.
8. 2012 Money in the Bank
John Cena was battling Big Show at the top of a giant gold ladder to accommodate the massive weight of Show. Cena grabbed the red briefcase that was above the ring, hit Big Show in the head with it and the briefcase broke free, so Cena won Money in the Bank 2012. What they don’t mention is that when Cena cashed in against CM Punk at Raw 1000, Big Show interfered for the DQ finish. It was one of the worst MITB cash-ins ever.
7. Pins Brock Lesnar
It seems like Lesnar beat Cena in most of the matches they had in their careers when they started together in 2002, but in this match. It was Extreme Rules 2012. Lesnar’s first match in WWE in over eight years. You would think Brock would win his first match in eight years, right? Nope. Cena gave Lesnar the Attitude Adjustment on the steel steps in the ring for the pinfall win.
6. Beats Edge in a TLC Match
This is one of my favorite match finishes ever. Edge was defending the WWE Title in a TLC Match in Edge’s hometown of Toronto at Unforgiven 2006, so the crowd was strongly against Cena in this match. They were fighting on the ladder while two referees were holding the ladder for balance. Why would two refs be in there for a ladder climb? It’s because there was a big spot coming. Cena picked up Edge on his shoulders and gave Edge the FU/Attitude Adjustment through two stacked tables in the ring! Edge took the bump mainly on his ass, but it sure looked painful. Cena had this “you made me do it” kind of look on his face and pulled down the WWE Title for the win.
5. 1st WWE Championship
You never forget your first, right? It was WrestleMania 21 in 2005 with Cena challenging John Bradshaw Layfield for the WWE Title. JBL went for a Clothesline from Hell, Cena ducked it and Cena hit the FU for the pinfall win. It was Cena’s first time winning the WWE Title. Cena had a great reaction when he bit the title and celebrated with the fans. It’s not an amazing match, but since it was Cena’s first WWE Title win, it was a very important moment in his career.
4. Beats Randy Orton in a WWE Iron Man Match
The longest match in Cena’s career makes this significant. Cena and Randy Orton battled for one hour with the WWE Title on the line in an Iron Man Match meaning the most falls wins. The event was Bragging Rights 2009 if you’re wondering. Cena avoided The Punt from Orton, Cen tripped up Orton and applied the STF. Orton would tap out leading to Cena winning 6-5 to leave the match as the WWE Champion.
3. 2008 Royal Rumble Match
This could be number one on the list, but I get why it’s not since it’s a Rumble match rather than a title match. Whoever edited this video did a poor job because you have to show the countdown for #30 and the fan reaction when Cena makes his entrance at Royal Rumble 2008. Cena was out of action for about four months and his return was unannounced, so he received a thunderous ovation. That fan reaction is the best part of this moment. Anyway, after the massive pop, Cena went into the ring and cleaned house. He eliminated Triple H to win the Rumble with Cena giving him the AA over the top rope to the floor.
2. Beats The Rock at WrestleMania 29
I thought this would be first, but they put it at number two. It was the rematch from one year earlier at WrestleMania 28 when they had a non-title match in the main event. This time at WrestleMania 29 in New Jersey, The Rock was WWE Champion and Cena was the Royal Rumble winner that earned the title shot. The Rock went for a Rock Bottom, Cena slipped out of it and Cena gave Rock the Attitude Adjustment for the pinfall win. Rock put over Cena clean, then they did the point on the stage afterward and that was Rock’s last real match of his career (the 2016 “quick match” with Rowan notwithstanding) over nine years ago.
1. 16th World Title
It was John Cena beating AJ Styles at Royal Rumble 2017 to win the WWE Title for the last time (for now). These guys were kicking out of everything, so Cena hit the AA, then rolled through and hit another AA for the pinfall win. This is my favorite Cena match ever and I think it’s the best match of his career. The reason why they put it number one is not only because it’s a great match, but the historical significance of number 16 is that it tied Cena with the recognized record held by Ric Flair with 16 World Title reigns. Flair’s title reigns were in NWA/WCW/WWE while all of Cena’s were in WWE. I think it was an amazing match and having Cena tie Flair while having a match like that was very impressive on Cena’s part.
Here’s the full list counting down from 20 to 1.
I liked the choices they had and don’t really have any major complaints. Maybe they could have included Cena beating CM Punk on Raw in February 2013 as a big win, but they probably didn’t think that was worth mentioning and would rather avoid mentioning Punk. Plus, I think they really did a nice job of capturing the big title wins.
Congratulations to John Cena on 20 years in WWE. I have written so much about him and I’ve always been a big fan from the “Word Life” days to the present day. I hope there are more Cena memories to come in the future as well.
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