John Cena has explained what he was trying to accomplish during his memorable reign as the WWE US Champion who faced different opponents in open challenges.
While John Cena is the most decorated World Champion in WWE history with 16 title reigns (tied with Ric Flair), Cena was also a five-time United States Champion.
In 2015, Cena was arguably the biggest star on the WWE Raw brand, yet he was holding the US Title for 147 days and a second reign for 35 days.
During those two title reigns, Cena oftentimes would go to the ring where he would defend the US Title in what was called the US Title Open Challenge. Those matches often featured midcard wrestlers who weren’t always in the title hunt, but they proved they belonged by pushing Cena to his limits.
John Cena spoke on a WWE Break It Down video about his goals for the US Title Open Challenge matches while speaking about his memorable rivalry with Kevin Owens.
“So the theme of the US Open challenge for me was for the performers to showcase what they could do. And I wanted to make it a little commercial for the person challenging me because if you were to answer an open challenge, that’s kind of how I got my start. So I wanted to give the same opportunity The back. And I think this was no different.”
“This was although Kevin (Owens) had great success in NXT. This was a chance for him to show what he could do as a performer. And on a high-level stage. He can do great things. He has such a library of athletic things that he can do. He very much brought the best out of me in that respect. And I thought this was a really cool moment. The audience was kind of wanting something new.”
“And even me with the United States Championship is still ‘Oh, they’re they’re still investing in this guy. Will someone new knock him off?’ You kind of don’t know what to expect on your first impression. I think all of those things together. It was the right person to do it at the right moment in time to do it.”
Who Beat John Cena For The US Title?
It was at WWE SummerSlam 2015 when John Cena lost the US Title to Seth Rollins, who was the WWE Champion at the time.
They had a Winner Take All match for the WWE & US Titles when SummerSlam host Jon Stewart hit Cena in the ribs with a steel chair. Rollins hit a Pedigree onto the chair (the referee never saw it) and Cena lost because of that.