From The Ring To The Big Screen: The Life Of WWE Superstar John Cena
The true story of John Cena is one of dedication and hardship. Cena has spent nearly two decades in the spotlight as a face of the WWE, even making it onto the big screen after his debut role in the movie Blockers. This is the story of the surprising journey of WWE wrestler turned actor John Cena.
John Cena Was A Football Star In College
Transitioning from WWE superstar to major movie star isn’t the only thing John Cena has in common with The Rock. Cena, like Dwayne Johnson, played college football. He wore the number 54 as the center for NCAA Division III Springfield College. Earning all-American honors, Cena still identifies with his college number, selling it on official merchandise.
Unlike The Rock, John Cena didn’t pursue an NFL career after college. Graduating with a degree in exercise physiology, he set his sights on wrestling and joined Ultimate Pro Wrestling in 1999.
Athletics Run In His Blood
Proving athletics run in his blood, John Cena’s grandfather is former MLB Player Tony Lupien. From 1940 until 1948, Lupien played first base for the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and the Philadelphia Phillies. After retiring with a .268 career batting average, Lupien got into coaching.
For 21 years Lupien was the head coach of the Dartmouth College baseball team. He finished his coaching career with 313 wins and a fifth-place finish in the 1970 College World Series. He passed away in 2004 at 87-years-old.
He Had A Catholic Upbringing
Raised Catholic in West Newbury, Massachusetts, John Cena didn’t have a hard life growing up. Starting his high school career at Central Catholic High School, Cena eventually transferred to Cushing Academy, a private boarding school. The cost of tuition for Cushing in 2018 is $55,000!
Cushing Academy, a name appropriate as they come, claims to be a “coeducational boarding school dedicated to educating the mind, shaping the character, and nurturing the character of young men and women.” With bodybuilding on his mind, we’re not giving Cushing Academy any credit for shaping John Cena.
He Asked Santa For A Weightlifting Set At Age 12
John Cena grew up with four brothers. He learned early on that fighting was important in his life. He decided to bulk up, however, after being bullied at school. Cena, wanting an edge to defend himself, asked Santa for a weightlifting set at 12-years-old.
Cena must have been good that year because Santa gave him what he asked for. By the end of high school, Cena was massive. When he and his brothers started the Cena Basement Wrestling Federation, John was the unquestioned champion multiple times. Coming up, learn what John Cena’s original wrestling character was named!
He Started Out As “The Prototype”
Joining Ultimate Pro Wrestling in 1999, John Cena’s first character, The Prototype, was nothing like the John Cena on WWE today. Creating the character for the small Los Angeles based league, Cena described him as, “50 percent man, 50 percent machine, and 100 percent mayhem.”
When he signed a contract with WWE, Cena took the Prototype with him to the developmental league in Ohio. After losing his first match, William Regal criticized the character, telling Cena that if he wore boots and shorts he might look like a wrestler. Cena bought 86 pairs of boots and 128 shorts. Two years later he got the call to the big show.
A Rap Song About Tuna Changed Everything
Dumping his Prototype character, John Cena started his WWE career as a white rapper from West Newbury, Massachusetts. The gimmick was inspired by a run-in with Stephanie McMahon in the back of the WWE tour bus. McMahon heard Cena freestyle rapping and approached him.
Unafraid of a challenge, Cena rapped about the can of tuna McMahon was eating. The trick became Cena’s new gimmick, and he started wearing black jean shorts and calling out his opponents in freestyle raps.
Vince McMahon Wanted Cena Fired
If Vince McMahon had gotten his way in 2002, John Cena would just be a footnote in history. In a radio interview, Cena revealed that in 2002 and again in 2003 McMahon and Triple H wanted to fire him. Vince and Triple H may have hated Cena, but Stephanie didn’t.
You guessed it; the tuna incident saved John Cena’s career. If Stephanie McMahon hadn’t heard him rapping on the back of the tour bus who knows what would have happened. With all the money that Cena has brought to WWE, it’s probably better that we never find out.
John Cena’s Pre-fight Ritual Includes Binging On Tic Tacs
Every athlete has their pre-game ritual. Before every fight, for example, John Cena eats Tic Tacs. He starts his breath mint binging about three hours before a match starts and says, “I consume probably five boxes of Tic Tacs on a daily basis before a performance.”
His compulsive urge to eat the tiny breath mints isn’t the only pre-fight ritual Cena follows. Knocking on wood is important to the superstar. Talking to his opponents is big too, “I always shake my opponent’s hand, say ‘Good luck. Be safe. Have fun.’ Even when they wanna kill me, and that’s most of the time that they wanna kill me.”
Cena Released A Hit Rap Album In 2005
Proving his love for rap was real, John Cena released a rap album in 2005 that debuted at 15 on the Billboard albums chart. You Can’t See Me sold 40,000 albums in the first week of release. The album has since sold 1.3 million albums, becoming a certifiable hit.
When SB Nation reviewed the album in 2014, Grant Brisbee wrote, “Okay, that wasn’t as bad as it could have been.” At the time of its release, critics were not as nice, “this is not a flawless debut. There are a few songs with questionable beats that… don’t really hit the [nail on the] head.” Luckily, Cena never took rap seriously enough to release another album.
No One Has Granted More Make-A-Wish Dreams Than John Cena
In 2015, John Cena granted his 500th Make A Wish, increasing his already amazing record. Despite having no children of his own, Cena loves kids and uses his “do-gooder” WWE character to make a positive impact on youth.
As far as having kids of his own, it appears that Cena isn’t ready to commit his time and focus on raising children with his busy career. Cena’s refusal to have kids caused a major rift between him and former fiancee Nikki Bella, although it’s unclear how much it played into the break-up.
Cena Has Some Weird House Rules
Before he allowed his girlfriend to move into his home in 2013, Cena laid out some house rules… 75 pages of them. Before Nikka Bella could move her stuff in, Cena had her sign a 75-page cohabitation agreement that included no shoes in the house, no pets, and if he asks that she leaves, she must vacate immediately.
The agreement described Bella as a guest at his home, rather than his live-in girlfriend. Ouch. She was confused by it all, but agreed to it in the end. While it may come off as harsh, he insisted that he had a good reason for it.
He Wants to Keep His Family His Priority
While Nikki Bella was understandably defensive when Cena laid out his 75-page cohabitation agreement, Cena insisted his actions came with good intentions. Then he revealed that he’s supporting several of his family members, and wants to make sure that his home and fortune aren’t taken away.
On the show, Total Bellas, Cena tells her, “This is what my life is. This is what it’s become. You met my family. You think my mom paid for that house herself? She didn’t. My brother lives in that house, they’re expecting a child. My younger brother, he’s got medical problems. I make sure he’s okay. I always tell them, I’m a horrible brother, but I try to be the best provider that I can. I just don’t want to ever be in a position where that’s in jeopardy.”
He’s Deathly Afraid of Heights
While Cena appears he’s physically and mentally fit to take on any challenge, he’s still human and has similar fears to the rest of us. In fact, Cena is madly afraid of heights. He told the WWE that while filming The Reunion he was instructed to jump off a 60-foot cliff, and had a hard time getting himself to do it.
“I didn’t want to do it. I’m deathly afraid of heights. There’s a scene involving heights and helicopters. I hated it. I did it. Absolutely, I did it, but hated it.”
He’s a Proud American Who Supports Our Troops
Again, Cena is a man of his word. When Fox News asked if he met with anyone in the military to research for his role in The Wall, Cena’s answer went above and beyond what they were expecting.
He told them, “Yes, I have had the luxury to be able to meet many of our servicemen and women on many of the expeditions of WWE tribute to the troops. I’ve been to Afghanistan, to Iraq. I’ve seen many of our servicemen and women on local bases on a national scale and I’ve talked to them on about their daily lives.”
Cena Says the WWE Will Have To Fire Him, Cuz He’s Never Leaving
While it’s clear that Cena holds the WWE very close to his heart, having fought in the ring for nearly two decades and meeting his wife there, most would assume that at some point he’d retire. However, that’s not what Cena plans on doing.
He told Fox News, “As far as the performance level it’s definitely a business for the young and I am on the older side of young but I don’t think I’ll ever not be involved with the WWE. They will have to tell me that they no longer need my services because it is my home.”
Cena Pulls A 167,000-Pound Jet To Help Fund Cancer Research
Cena is always looking to put his muscles where his mouth is. He doesn’t just talk about helping other people, or sit back and write big checks, he goes out and does it. In 2016, Cena volunteered at an event to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society.
As part of a team of 20 people, Cena pulled a 757 jet 20 feet, racing against other teams. While they didn’t get the best time, you have to give a virtual high five to a man who will show up and pull a jet by a rope on his day off.
Cena has a personal connection to cancer survivors…
Cena Motivates the WWE to Support Breast Cancer Research
After seeing his youngest brother struggle with brain cancer, and realizing the importance of early detection, Cena decided to take a step further in helping raise awareness. Outside of the ring, Cena fought hard to encourage the WWE to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation to protect women against breast cancer.
In 2012, thanks to Cena’s help, the WWE partnered with Susan G. Komen and raised $1 million in their first year. The foundation’s president, Dr. Judith A. Salerno said, “This partnership has far exceeded our expectations. We were able to increase awareness about breast cancer issues among women and men, which has been a huge advantage for us. 40-percent of the viewership of WWE is female. The awareness that came with the attention that John Cena gave to this issue and Susan G. Komen through WWE has been great.”
Cena Gives His Slammy To Another Star
There probably isn’t a bigger name in wrestling than Ric Flair. His legend has only risen over the years even though he isn’t wrestling. His status as a wrestling icon is already in stone. The fans know this, and so does John Cena.
In 2012, Cena won his third Slammy Award for Superstar of the Year. Instead of accepted it for himself, he decided to award it to Flair. Woo! The crowd might’ve booed when Cena’s name got announced, but he quietly hushed them.
Cena Tells His Most Embarrassing Moment
Even the great ones have their off days. And even when having those bad days, some try to push through. John Cena attempted this, but it didn’t end too well. In a match against Scott Steiner, Cena was battling his opponent and food poisoning.
After Cena got hit with a DDT, he knew that he wouldn’t be able to hold his food any longer. This was when he decided to go under the ring to throw up, but more than vomit came out. “I had food poisoning, tried to go out there and do it, just didn’t work,” Cena said. [It was] coming out of every end. [Laughs] Yeah, it was rough.”
Getting The Job Done Through Injury
Athletes have to deal with injuries all the time. Even if he or she doesn’t miss any action due to it, doesn’t mean they aren’t dealing with an issue. If you ask Cena, he’ll tell you its possible to wrestle through a torn pectoral muscle.
No, this isn’t an urban legend. Cena once completed a match and won with a torn chest. You’re not Cena tough unless you win through injury.
He Has Never Beaten THIS Person…
This next piece of information might sound unbelievable, but John Cena has never beaten this one person in the ring. His name is Kevin Federline or K-Fed. That’s right, Cena always ends up the loser against Britney Spears former husband.
K-Fed might not have won fair and square, but it made for a great storyline. People will never forget the non-wrestler who was able to take down Cena thanks to Vince McMahon. McMahon orchestrated the whole thing.
Cena Has The Most Titles From…
We know that John Cena has a handful of world titles. More than 15 if we’re counting. Four of them have come from Wrestlemania, and that puts Cena in a league of his own.
Having four titles from Wrestlemania means he has more than anyone else. That includes Stone Cold and The Undertaker. Some people don’t even have that many participation awards they give out at the end. Don’t step into the ring with Cena unless you’ve come prepared.
Call Him The Prototype
Years before Cena became the man he is today; he had a modest start. Everybody has to start somewhere, and many of Cena’s most dedicated fans don’t even know who he used to be. There was a time when you had to address Cena as The Prototype.
His gimmick was a half-man half-machine wrestler. The Prototyped existed when Cena wrestled in the Ohio Valley Wrestling league. Thankfully, this didn’t stick, and the world came to know the real Cena.
Breaking Rules For The Show
Who hasn’t been known to break a few rules here and there? Aren’t they made to get broken? That must be what Cena thought when he disobeyed the WWE to ignore a particular standard.
The fans want to see a good show, and Cena is one of the best at providing that. In his match against Brock Lesnar, another large stud, Cena decided to blade himself. That is when you cut yourself to get more blood out. The WWE banned “blading,” but Cena wanted to give the people what they came for.
The Man Likes To Collect Certain Cars
The world is full of collectors. Some people like to find the rarest shoes; they are called sneakerheads. Others want to collect rare comic books. Then you have others who have enough money and enjoy gathering cars. Jerry Seinfeld likes to add to his Porsche collection. Meanwhile, John Cena likes a great muscle car.
His primary focus is Amercian models, but he doesn’t turn away from others. Cena’s favorite car is his 1971 AMC Hornet SC/360. We guess he just likes adding more and more muscle.