Discussion: What is John Cena's legacy in professional wrestling?

What would you say is John Cena’s legacy in wrestling? I never understood the hate for him from the crowd for so many years. Yes, I know his character was so corny and cringe and paved the way for the lean kiddy years of the late 2000s but when paired up with fantastic in-ring workers like HBK or Punk, he’s magnificent in the ring. I would say underrated. I love that he’s finally getting the respect of the crowd in recent years especially overseas in London. I personally would consider him one of the biggest stars of all-time alongside Austin and Rock. And I’m biased because he was my first wrestling hero.

I think he is obviously seen now as one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time. Maybe not greatest “pro-wrestlers” ever because his entire career has only been in WWE.

I too never really understood the level of vitriol and hatred that Cena received from 2004 - 2014. Don’t get me wrong there were some boring periods in there. But I blame that more on WWE and Vince McMahon’s style of production than any one wrestler.

I enjoyed his early time as a heel in his “Doctor of Thuganomics” gimmick. It was so over the top but once he found that gimmick his talent and charisma shone bright. He was obviously much more quick witted than anyone had thought and could win any improv promo segment. And then in the PG era could take crappy lines from writers and still make them work.

He was a bit bland in the late 2000’s in the “Super Cena” era. The common critique is that he was a boring babyface character. But as we have gotten to know more of the real Cena it seems like that is just his normal personality turned up to 11 like the best pro-wrestlers can do. He is all heart as his incredible work with Make a Wish shows.

I really turned around on Cena and became a big fan in 2008 when he had the Iron Man match with Randy Orton. They wrestled for an hour and Orton looked like he had sweat five pounds of water while Cena had barely broken a sweat. No wonder he was Super Cena. The guy is literally built like a tank with unreal levels of endurance. It’s not unrealistic to then see how he should win every match.

A quick top five matches.

  1. Cena vs CM Punk - MITB
  2. Cena vs Daniel Bryan - Summer Slam
  3. Cena vs Orton - Iron Man match
  4. Cena vs AJ Styles - SummerSlam
  5. Cena vs Rock - WM28
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I watched very little WWE through these years but I have always struggled with these BIG wrestlers who were told to love but have some pretty terrible moves that don’t make sense.

Hulk with the leg drop, Cena with the 5 knuckle shuffle, rock with the peoples elbow. I know wrestlings silly at times but how these moves ever beat anyone I can never understand.

I did enjoy the Punk vs Cena match, but more for the character work and storytelling of Mr WWE vs the Alternative bad guy.

He’ll be remembered as a great character I’m sure but for those who watched him at the time may not all be so keen. I see Hogan I think of WWE in the 90’s but man his matches were terrible to watch and even as a 7 year old I loved seeing him get his comeuppance