Tracing American Heartthrob John Cena’s incredible WWE career

11 months ago By Sports Desk

John Cena embarked on his journey to become a wrestler in 1999 when he started training at the “Ultimate University” operated by Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW) in California. Initially, he portrayed a semi-robotic character named The Prototype. His early career was featured in the Discovery Channel program called Inside Pro Wrestling School. Cena held the UPW Heavyweight Championship for almost a month in April 2000. 

The World Wrestling Federation (WWF) signed him from UPW in 2001, placing him under a developmental contract and sending him to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), their developmental territory, to continue his training. In OVW, Cena wrestled under the names The Prototype and Mr. P, winning the Heavyweight Championship and Tag Team Championship (with Rico Constantino).

Cena’s Rise in the WWE

Cena’s first televised match in WWE took place on June 27, 2002, in response to an open challenge by Kurt Angle. Inspired by a speech from WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, where he encouraged young talents to display “ruthless aggression,” Cena impressed by almost defeating Angle but ultimately lost. Following this, he became a fan favorite (face) and engaged in a rivalry with Chris Jericho, defeating him in an upset at Vengeance. Cena later formed a tag team with Billy Kidman but turned heel (villainous) and attacked Kidman after a loss. He then adopted a rapper gimmick and began cutting promos in rhyme. Cena’s popularity grew as he showcased his rapping skills, and he was joined by enforcer Bull Buchanan, later replaced by Rodney Mack.

In early 2004, Cena participated in the Royal Rumble match, making it to the final six before being eliminated by Big Show. This led to a feud between Cena and Big Show, resulting in Cena winning the WWE United States Championship from him at WrestleMania XX. During his reign, Cena clashed with SmackDown! General Manager Kurt Angle and was involved in issues with René Duprée and Torrie Wilson. Cena lost the title due to an incident with Angle and later regained it by defeating Booker T in a “best of five” series. However, he lost it to Carlito Caribbean Cool and feuded with him. Cena suffered a kayfabe injury, keeping him out of action while he filmed his debut movie, The Marine. Upon his return, he regained the US title from Carlito and introduced a custom-made spinner-style title belt.

Cena continued his rise in 2005, participating in the Royal Rumble and making it to the final two with Batista. The match ended controversially, leading to a rematch that Batista ultimately won. Cena then faced Kurt Angle and earned a spot in the WrestleMania 21 main event, initiating a feud with WWE Champion John “Bradshaw” Layfield (JBL). Cena defeated JBL at WrestleMania, capturing his first world title in WWE. Their rivalry continued, and Cena reclaimed the original WWE Championship belt in an “I Quit” match at Judgment Day.

Cena’s impact off the ring

Beyond his wrestling career, Cena has been involved in various endeavors outside the ring. He has showcased his musical talents as a rapper, releasing his debut album “You Can’t See Me” in 2005. The album succeeded commercially and featured his entrance theme song, “The Time Is Now,” which became his signature tune.

Cena has pursued an acting career and has appeared in several films. His debut came in 2006 with the action film “The Marine,” followed by roles in movies such as “Trainwreck,” “Daddy’s Home 2,” and “Bumblebee.”

Cena’s list of championships and accomplishments in WWE is extensive. He has won the WWE Championship a record 13 times, the World Heavyweight Championship three times, and has held numerous other titles, including the United States Championship, Tag Team Championship, and Money in the Bank contract.

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