- OVW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- You Can't See Me (Album)
- Released: May 10, 2005
- Bad Bad Man 2005 (Album)
- The Marine (Movie)
Cena's first televised WWE match was in answer to an open challenge by Kurt Angle on June 27, 2002. Inspired by Vince McMahon's speech to WWE's rising stars, exhorting them to show "ruthless aggression" to earn a place among the legends, Cena took advantage of the opportunity and almost beat Kurt Angle kicking out of the Angle Slam and enduring the ankle Lock submission hold, but ultimately lost to a hard, amateur-style pin.
Cena then played the role of a typical underdog face in each match. After losing alongside Billy Kidman in a tournament match for the WWE Tag Team Championships, Cena turned heel, blaming Kidman for the loss. Shortly after his heel turn, on a Halloween episode of SmackDown!, he performed a freestyle rap for Stephanie McMahon while wearing a Vanilla Ice costume prompting a gimmick change to a white rapper. At first, this gimmick got Cena heel heat from the fans, but his frequent comical "freestyles" about other wrestlers helped to gain him a following. During this time Cena adopted the classic WWF logo (without the "F") along with the slogan "Word Life" as his "signature symbol". He was joined by an enforcer, first B-2 (also written as B˛, pronounced "B-Squared"), who was later replaced by Rodney Mack under the moniker "Red Dogg".
Cena eventually feuded with Brock Lesnar over the WWE Championship. During the feud he unveiled a new signature finishing maneuver, the F-U, as a counterpart to Lesnar's similar F-5 (the name being derived from a combination of "F-5" and the shorthand for "Fuck You"). The two eventually joined forces when Lesnar also turned heel and together feuded with Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero before Cena turned face by betraying Lesnar and feuding with him again, establishing his signature "you can't see me" catch phrase and hand gesture in the process.
2004 : During 2004 Cena's popularity began to increase. At the start of the year, he participated in the annual January Royal Rumble, lasting up to the final 6 before being eliminated by Big Show. After the elimination Cena and Big Show began a feud, leading to Cena winning the United States Championship from Big Show in a match at March's WrestleMania XX. Cena claimed the title, his first in WWE, by distracting the ref and using his signature brass knuckles on Big Show before hitting him with the F-U. In July he was stripped of the title by SmackDown! General Manager Kurt Angle, whom he had a contentious relationship with, after "attacking" him.
He won the title back at October's No Mercy after winning the final match of a Best-of-5 series with Booker T. This second reign was short-lived, however, as he lost the title to the debuting Carlito in the very next weeks SmackDown!.
This started a feud with Carlito. The storyline said Cena was attacked in a Boston nightclub by Carlito's bodyguard, Jesús, who stabbed him in the kidney, keeping him out of action for a month. In truth, this event was set up to allow Cena time off to film The Marine. Upon his return, Cena exacted revenge on Carlito in a SmackDown! match, winning back the U.S. title. During this reign he debuted a "custom made" spinner style title belt.
At the 2005 Royal Rumble, Cena and Batista went over the top rope at the same time to end the match, prompting Vince McMahon to demand the match be restarted and go into "sudden death".With Batista winning, and choosing to vie for the (RAW exclusive) World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 21, SmackDown! held a tournament to determine #1 contendership for the their top title, the WWE Championship. In the tournament finals Cena pinned Kurt Angle to win the WrestleMania title shot.
In the following weeks, Cena feuded with champion John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL) and his Cabinet, including losing his United States Championship to Cabinet member Orlando Jordan, who (with JBL) proceeded to "blow up" the custom spinner belt. It was during this feud that Cena first began referring to his fans as "Chain Gang Soldiers" (often shorted to just "Chain Gang").
John Cena after winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21.On April 3, at WrestleMania 21, Cena defeated JBL to win the WWE Championship. As part of the storyline, he then had a custom WWE Championship belt made similar to his custom U.S. title belt, featuring a spinner-type WWE logo plate. This belt also featured a 'winged eagle' at the top, which is a staple of the WWE Championship belts. Meanwhile, JBL took the original belt and claimed he was still the WWE Champion until Cena reclaimed that belt following an "I Quit" match at Judgment Day in May.
On the June 6th episode of RAW, John Cena became the first wrestler selected in the annual draft lottery, when Eric Bischoff drafted him from SmackDown! over to RAW. Upon arriving on RAW, Cena immediately entered a program with Chris Jericho and Christian, two wrestlers with strong cult followings. Taking on these two began a trend of "fan backlash" against Cena.
During this feud Cena made (kayfabe) enemies with RAW General Manager Eric Bischoff, because he didn't wish to play Bischoff's political games. Bischoff vowed to make Cena's stint on RAW difficult and chose Chris Jericho to take Cena's title from him.
On August 22, Cena beat Jericho in a "You're Fired" match for the WWE Championship - despite interference from Bischoff which included giving Cena a low-blow and handing Jericho a pair of brass knuckles. After the match, with Jericho now off of RAW due to his loss, Kurt Angle came to the ring and attacked Cena, with Bischoff revealing that Angle was his new "hand picked" number one contender for Cena's world title. Despite Angle's best attempts to attain heel heat through their feud, the fans continued to cheer him and boo Cena.
After several weeks, Angle and Cena main evented September's Unforgiven, where Cena hit Angle with the WWE title belt, losing by disqualification but remaining champion (titles don't change hands on a disqualification). They met again at November's Survivor Series, with Cena picking up a clean win this time.The night after, Bischoff put Cena in the ring against Kurt Angle and Chris Masters in a triple threat submission match for the title, which Cena won by making Masters tap out for the first time to his new submission maneuver, the STFU (name derived from a combination of the STF name [although Cena's submission is actually an STS], his other move - the F-U - and the shorthand for "Shut The Fuck Up").
When Vince McMahon returned to RAW to put Bischoff "on trial" in December, Cena made his opinion of Bischoff known and eventually helped Vince McMahon remove Bischoff from the show by delivering the F-U to the former RAW GM, effectively ending the hostilities he had with Bischoff.
Cena successfully defended his WWE Championship in an Elimination Chamber at the January New Years Revolution to kick off 2006. After the match, however, Vince McMahon appeared on the stage and announced that Cena was going to have to defend the title again, this time against Edge, who was cashing in his previously earned Money in the Bank title shot. Edge delivered two spears to a battered, bloody, and exausted Cena, pinning him in short order to win the WWE Championship. Cena's championship reign ended at 280 days, matching that of previous champion JBL.
Three weeks, to the day, after losing the title Cena defeated Edge at the Royal Rumble to regain the WWE Championship. During this time WWE announcers, most notably Jim Ross, were forced to acknowledge the negative reactions Cena was getting and began to refer to him as a "controversial champion" saying that he was alienating some fans with his "unorthodox style".
Jerry Lawler would often suggest that Cena was too young, "edgy" and original for the older audience to appreciate. Cena continued to polarize crowds leading up to WrestleMania 22, during which he was soundly jeered during his main event win over Triple H. Despite Triple H's best attempts to get heat, the crowd continued to favor him over Cena. Vince McMahon was reportedly upset by fans' negativity, though Cena stated that the fans "obviously had a choice in deciding whom they wanted to root for".
The crowd began to cheer Cena once again after April's Backlash, most notably when he began to side with the popular Shawn Michaels in matches against the Spirit Squad. After Cena stopped taking part in this angle and moved on to working against Rob Van Dam there was once again a notable mixture of cheers and boos in most arena's he visited, with some being more pro-Cena and some more against him.
On the May 22nd edition of RAW, Rob Van Dam informed Cena that he intended to cash in the Money in the Bank title match contract he won at WrestleMania at the upcoming Extreme Championship Wrestling One Night Stand pay-per-view event. The event saw Cena get his most negative reaction yet from the very pro-ECW crowd, including profanity-laced chants and anti-Cena signs (most memorably one reading, "If Cena wins, we riot," which has been used since then, with different names in place of Cena's). Although Cena was affected, it also motivated him to use moves outside of his usual moveset in order to play to the crowd. Cena lost the title at the event when Edge appeared from under the ring and speared Cena through a table, setting him up for Van Dam's Five Star Frog Splash. With two referees "knocked out" (the first by Cena, the second by Edge) Paul Heyman ran down the entrance aisle and counted the three count, giving Van Dam the win and his first World Title.
On the next nights RAW Paul Heyman announced that the title change was official, as the match was under "Extreme rules". Coincidently, both of his WWE Championship losses in 2006 were as a result of the Money in the Bank title contract.When Edge won the title from Van Dam in a Triple Threat match (also involving Cena) it re-ignited the feud between Edge and Cena. The opening stages of the feud saw Edge taking constant shortcuts in order to keep his title (losing by disqualification) while still seemingly getting positive reactions from most crowds. This lead to a Cena and Edge match at SummerSlam in a match where, if Edge was disqualified, he would not only lose the match but his title. Edge ultimately defeated Cena by pinfall after hitting him with a pair of brass knuckles while the referee was distracted to retain the title.
Having beaten Cena, Edge debuted a new "Rated R" version of the spinner belt, having Lita toss Cena's version into the Long Island Sound and declaring "the end of the era of Cena in [his] life". The "Rated R" belt looked almost exactly like the "Spinner" belt that came before it, only with a spinning 'Rated R Superstar' logo in the center. Cena would not go quietly however, convincing Edge to give him one more match for the title with an added stipulation -- if Cena lost, he would leave RAW for SmackDown!. Edge accepted, on the grounds that the match also be a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at Unforgiven in his hometown of Toronto. In their match Cena defeated Edge, retrieving the title after hitting an F-U on Edge from the top of a ladder and through two stacked tables. He brought back his original spinner belt on the following night's RAW.
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