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John Cena

John Cena. - Sun Media file photo

REAL NAME: John Cena
BORN: April 23, 1977 in West Newbury, MA
6' 3", 260 pounds
ALIASES/ NICKNAMES: The Prototype

A rap gimmick getting over in the present day WWE? Only John Cena, the self-styled "Doctor of Thuganomics" could have pulled it off, taking what should have been a one-shot Vanilla Ice Halloween costume and using it to become one of WWE's biggest stars and, at long last, WWE Champion.

John Cena's introduction to the world of pro wrestling came from his father, who worked as an announcer for Chaotic Wrestling, under the name John Fabulous. His in-ring debut came in 2000 in Rick Bassman's California-based Universal Pro Wrestling, a former WWE developmental company. Dubbed the Prototype, Cena quickly earned notice in UPW, winning the organization's title from Smelly on April 27 2000 in San Diego, California, and holding the title for a month.

Cena was quickly spotted by WWE talent scouts, who signed him to a developmental deal. In the spring of 2001, he was assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling. He began teaming with fellow future WWE superstar Constantino and on August 1, 2001, the pair won the vacant OVW tag team titles. The title reign came to an end, however, when the Minnesota Stretching Crew (Brock Lesnar and Shelton Benjamin) returned to OVW and recaptured the belts.

On the singles scene, the Prototype had defeated Leviathan (later known as Batista) in controversial manner to win the OVW Heavyweight title on February 20, 2002. After dropping the title to Nova on May 15th, he headed to the WWE. A month later, he appeared on Smackdown and answered Kurt Angle's challenge. Although Angle won, Cena had earned the respect of the Undertaker, so much so that the pair teamed against Angle and Chris Jericho.

Cena battled Jericho over the next few months and teamed with Edge and Rey Mysterio, Jr. to battle Jericho and the other Un-Americans, until the Anti-Americans jumped to Raw. As the summer passed into the fall, Cena found himself tangling with Reverend D-Von (Dudley) and fading from the spotlight.

That changed after he and Billy Kidman lost to Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit in the first round of the Smackdown Tagteam tournament in October 2002. Kidman and Cena feuded over the next couple of weeks as Cena became a heel.

In addition to turning heel, Cena also began to adapt a rapper-like gimmick. Initially conceived during the Smackdown Halloween show (when Cena came as Vanilla Ice), it continued the week after... and the week after that. Armed with this new gimmick, Cena found himself battling Rikishi. To help him in his battles against Rikishi, Cena enlisted the help of B-Squared (Bull Buchanan).

Cena and Buchanan would battle Los Guerreros until Cena turned on his bodyguard and brought in Redd Dogg (Rodney Mack) although that partnership was also short-lived.

Instead, Cena began to feud with Brock Lesnar, as he competed in and won a Number One Contender's tournament. Unfortunately, he couldn't convert that into a WWE title win, as Lesnar retained the title at Backlash on April 27th, 2003.

Cena's next target was the United States Championship. After being eliminated from the tournament by Billy Gunn, Cena turned his attention towards the eventual champion Eddie Guerrero. Unfortunately, the U.S. title would have to wait for Cena.

His days as a heel were also coming to a close, as Cena took on Kurt Angle and joined Team Lesnar at the 2003 Survivor Series. Cena and Chris Benoit were the sole survivors during that match. Cena and Benoit would face each other during a December 4th edition of Smackdown with the winner to become the number one contender to the WWE title. Benoit was victorious thanks to interference from The Big Show.

Cena then began to chase the Big Show and the Show's U.S Heavyweight title. Although Cena defeated Show during the Smackdown taping in Iraq, it was during a "non-title match". Ironically it was the Big Show that eliminated Cena during the 2004 Royal Rumble. It didn't help matter that Cena found himself on the wrong side of Smackdown General Manager Paul Heyman after Cena and Benoit washed Heyman's mouth out with soap. Heyman benched Cena on the February 5th edition of Smackdown and later, forced Cena to team with nemesis Kurt Angle.

However, Cena finally got a title match against the Big Show at Wrestlemania XX and walked away with the United States Championship. After getting by Rene Dupre in early title defences, Cena then found himself in just as much hot water with new General Manager Kurt Angle as he had been with Paul Heyman.

Booker T was the next challenger but after Cena accidentally knocked Angle out of his wheelchair on the July 8th edition of Smackdown, Angle had Cena stripped of the U.S. belt, with Booker T winning the vacant title. However, Cena would regain the title, defeating Booker T in a best-of-five series, the deciding victory coming at October's No Mercy.

Cena's second reign as champion lasted only two days, as he lost the title to Carlito Caribbean Cool. Almost immediately after the title loss, it was announced that Cena had been injured in a bar fight. However, that was just part of an angle to give Cena some time off to film The Marine. (In addition, Cena was working on his rap CD, released in May 2005).

Cena returned in November and quickly regained the U.S. title, and continued to get revenge against Carlito Cool and his bodyguard, Jesus. Kenzo Suzuki was Cena's next challenger but was unable to wrest the title away.

After being the last man eliminated in the 2005 Royal Rumble, Cena looked to trade the United States title in for JBL's WWE Championship.

Orlando Jordan upset Cena for the U.S. title, thanks to the interference of JBL but Cena would get revenge, taking JBL's WWF Championship at Wrestlemania XXI and, much like he did for the U.S. title, quickly revamped the Championship belt.

Cena's career was on the rise. Not only was he the WWE Champion, but The Marine hit theatres and his hip hop album, You Can't See Me arrived in stores.

Back in the ring, a victory over JBL in a bloody "I Quit" match at Judgment Day meant that Cena might have been looking for a new challenger.

He would find that challenger...on Raw. The first and one of the most suprising part of the 2005 Draft Lottery, Cena would team with Chris Jericho, only to have Y2J turn on him during a tag team match against Christian and Tyson Tomko. If Cena wanted a new challenge, he got one, with Jericho set to challenge Cena for his WWE Championship at SummerSlam.

Cena retained the title against Jericho but that wasn't the end of Cena's problems. Along the way, he found himself on Raw GM Eric Bischoff's bad side and Bischoff seems obsessed with ending Cena's reign as champion, with the help of Kurt Angle. Cena even had to defend his title against Bischoff at WWE Homecoming, and then defended against Angle and Shawn Michaels at Taboo Tuesday.

But Taboo Tuesday didn't mark the end of Cena's troubles with Angle, but he managed to retain the title at the Survivor Series, as well as a "You Can't See Me" (blindfold) match and a triple threat submission match (involving Angle and Chris Masters) on Raw.

Cena also managed to survive the Elimination Chamber at New Year's Revolution but finally lost the WWE Championship when Edge called in his "Money In the Bank" title shot and won the title.

Cena was not without the title long however, as he defeated Edge to regain the belt at the Royal Rumble and then retained the title in several rematches against Edge.

Despite his popularity declining, Cena retained the title at Wrestlemania 22 against another former Champion, Triple H.

With both Edge and Triple H after his title, Cena's loss came not in the Triple Threat match at Backlash but at the hands of Rob Van Dam at One Night Stand.

Although Cena attempted to regain the belt, it was Edge who won a Triple Threat match on July 3rd's Raw to become Champion, something that has not sat well with Cena.

The following week on Raw, John Cena defeated Shelton Benjamin via the STFU. Following the match, Edge attacked Cena and left the building, heading back to his hotel. There, Edge and Lita spent the rest of the night watching Raw from their room; that is, until Cena knocked on the door, and Edge, thinking it was room service, let him in. Cena trashed Edge and the hotel room.

That weekend, on Saturday Night's Main Event, Cena defeated Edge by disqualification. Edge therefore retained the title. Cena's frustration began to grow -- and surprise, surprise, the boos that Cena heard in the latter stages of his title reign began to disappear.

On the July 17, 2006 edition of Raw, Umaga defeated John Cena via outside interference from Edge and Lita. The following week, Cena teamed with Ric Flair and defeated Edge and Johnny Nitro (aka John Morrison) in the main event of Raw. The next week, Cena defeated Matt Striker with the STFU as Edge and Lita looked on from the stage. Cena's climb back up the ladder continued into August, as he defeated Viscera by hitting the FU on the 500+ pound monster.

On the August 14, 2006 edition of Raw, the Edge/Cena feud became very personal. Edge went to John Cena's family home and was given a tour of the house by Cena's father. At the end of the segment, Edge slapped Cena's old man across the face. The footage was shown over and over again as Edge laughed in the ring, including slow motion replays. In the main event that night, Edge squared off against Carlito, but the match was interrupted when a furious John Cena stormed to the ring and attacked Edge. The two were scheduled to do battle at SummerSlam 2006 the following Sunday, and the match had more heat than any title match of the past year and a half.

At SummerSlam, Edge pinned Cena to retain the title. More surprising than the result was the fact that Summer Slam took place in Boston, Massachussetts, Cena's "hometown" (apparently the entire state of Massachussetts is Cena's hometown). Everyone was expected the belt to go back to Cena.

But the feud was far from over. The following night on Raw, Edge was in the middle of a match with Jeff Hardy, when John Cena showed up and attacked Edge. When Raw returned from the commercial break, Cena and Edge were brawling outside, where Cena tossed Edge into the Long Island harbour! In what was becoming the most well built feud in recent memory, Cena and Edge were set to do battle once more at Unforgiven, this time in Edge's hometown of Toronto.

The following week on Raw, Cena defeated Chris Masters via DQ when Edge interfered and attacked Cena. The next week, the trio of Edge, Randy Orton, and Lita defeated the tandem of John Cena, Carlito, and Trish Stratus. And in the final Raw before Unforgiven, John Cena, Jeff Hardy, and Carlito defeated Edge, Randy Orton, and Johnny Nitro. The stage was set for the pay-per-view -- Cena and Edge were to face off for Cena's last title shot, in a TLC match in Edge's hometown. If Cena lost the match, he had to leave Raw. Theodore Long rejoiced. The deck was stacked against Cena once more.

At Unforgiven, Cena defeated Edge to win the title for the third time. The Toronto crowd booed the predictable result. Theodore Long was in attendance and watched the match from a press box.

The follow night's Raw emanated from Montreal, Quebec. The crowd was pro-Edge. Cena cut a promo to kick off the night, but was interrupted by Edge. Edge proved once again why he is without question one of, if not the, best heel in the business, and immediately turned the crowd on him by suggesting Montreal "isn't even Canada" and that "it's not a real city like Toronto." The fans suddenly because pro-Cena -- or maybe it was just anti-Edge. Either way, mission accomplished. Cena challenged Edge to a rematch on the spot, but Jonathan Coachman came out and instead made the main event John Cena, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels to take on Edge, Lance Cade, and Trevor Murdoch. Edge's team won by DQ.

That same week, John Cena made an appearance on SmackDown!, thanking Teddy Long for his interest. Long requested Cena wrestle on SmackDown! the following week. Cena happily agreed. But first he had to survive another Raw.

On Raw, Cena wrestled Lita with one arm tied behind his back. Cena was victorious, despite Edge's best efforts. After the match, SmackDown's King Booker, William Regal, and Finlay showed up and beat Cena down, forcing him to kiss King Booker's bare foot. This set the stage for Friday Night Smackdown!, where Cena, Batista, and Bobby Lashley defeated King Booker, William Regal, and Finlay in the main event.

On the October 2, 2006 edition of Raw, Cena and Edge battled once more for the title, this time in a steel cage. Cena successfully defended the title with a little help from Degeneration X (Triple H and Shawn Michaels). This was the end of the epic blood feud between John Cena and Edge, as Edge now focused his efforts on DX.

And so began the build up for WWE's interactive pay-per-view, Cyber Sunday 2006. A "champion of champions" match was scheduled, with the champions of all three brands scheduled to square off to determine who was the best of the best. It was to be WWE Champion John Cena vs World Heavyweight Champion King Booker vs ECW Champion The Big Show. On Raw, The Big Show defeated Jeff Hardy, King Booker defeated Rob Van Dam, and John Cena battled to a no contest with The Undertaker.

The following week on Raw, John Cena and the WWE got some mainstream media attention when John Cena FUed Kevin Federline in the middle of the ring. This was the beginning of a publicity stunt that would last until the new year.

On the October 20, 2006 edition of SmackDown!, Batista defeated DQ when Finlay and King Booker got involved. Cena ran out to make the save.

On Raw the following week, Cena was set to face Johnny Nitro in a non-title match. Nitro had Melina and Kevin Federline at ringside. Cena was victorious, and K-Fed taunted him as the Hollywood trio retreated up the ramp. That week on SmackDown!, Cena and Batista teamed up to defeat King Booker and The Big Show.

On October 30, the final Raw before Cyber Sunday, Mr. McMahon had a surprise. It would be the first ever interactive Raw, where the fans would choose John Cena's opponent (interesting to note that in 1996, WCW had the fans vote for the main event of Nitro). The choices were King Booker, The Big Show, or Jonathan Coachman. Poor Coach. He was the winner. Or the loser, depending on how you look at it. Vince and Shane McMahon gave Coach a pep talk before the match. It made no difference. Cena defeated Coach soundly, much to the delight of the crowd.

But the fun and games were over. It was time for Cyber Sunday. The Champion of Champion's match had a stipulation -- the fans voted for which title would be up for grabs. King Booker's World Heavyweight title was chosen. King Booker won, as Kevin Federline showed up and cost Cena the match!

The following night on Raw, Kevin Federline challenged John Cena to a one on one match on the January 1 edition of Raw -- and so the stage was set for New Year's Day. In the meantime, the build up for the 2006 Survivor Series was beginning. John Cena assembled a team consisting of Cena, Bobby Lashley, Kane, Rob Van Dam, and Sabu. They were set to square off against The Big Show's team of Big Show, Test, Finlay, MVP, and Umaga. At Survivor Series on November 26, 2006, Cena's team was victorious, with John Cena and Bobby Lashley emerging as the sole survivors.

The following night on Raw, Armando Alejandro Estrada challenged John Cena on behalf of Umaga. Cena immediately accepted. The match was to take place at New Year's Revolution in January.

The next week, Cena took Chris Masters's "Masterlock Challenge." The WWE title was on the line. Just as Cena was about to break the Masterlock (and become the first man to ever break it), Masters squashed the referee. Cena turned the tables and put the Masterlock on Masters, and Masters tapped out to the collective groan of smart marks all over the world. Umaga promptly ran out and attacked Cena. The two brawled until security swarmed down to ringside the separate them. Jonathan Coachman made the ruling that Cena and Umaga were not to touch each other until 2007.

Coach didn't say anything about Cena touching Armando Alejandro Estrada though, Umaga's "handler." The following week on Raw, Cena defeated Estrada. Johnny Nitro, a friend of Kevin Federline, ran out and attacked Cena. This led to Cena vs Nitro in a non-title match. Cena won that, too.

Cena was scheduled to take part in Smackdown's December pay-per-view, Armageddon, teaming with Batista to take on King Booker and Finlay. As such, Cena appeared on the December 15, 2006 Smackdown!, defeating Finlay with the FU. That Sunday at Armageddon, Cena and Batista defeated King Booker and Finlay cleanly.

The following night on Raw, Edge won a 30 man battle royal to earn a title shot later that night. Cena defeated Edge after Degeneration X countered interference by Randy Orton. The main event thus became Cena, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels vs Edge, Randy Orton, and Umaga. With the "no touching" rule lifted for the night, Cena and Umaga brawled themselves right out of the picture, leaving DX and Rated RKO to do battle. That didn't last long, as Rated RKO con-chair-toed DX and the match ended in a no contest.

On Christmas Day 2006, WWE aired its annual Tribute to the Troops event. This year's show emanated from Iraq, where John Cena defended the title successfully against Edge.

The following week was the much hyped match between John Cena and Kevin Federline. The match was no DQ and was non-title. Federline was accompanied by Johnny Nitro and Melina. He began the match by stalling with Nitro as he prepared for battle. Soon, K-Fed challenged Cena to his own Masterlock Challenge. Cena grudgingly accepted, and broke the hold with ease. Nitro interfered and K-Fed hit Cena with a low blow. Cena quickly picked him up for an FU. Cue Umaga. The Samoan Bulldozer ran out with Armando Alejandro Estrada in tow, and destroyed John Cena. Kevin Federline easily pinned Cena for the victory. That's right, Kevin Federline pinned the WWE Champion. Ah, but the night was far from over. The Coach decided Cena hadn't been through enough, and booked the main event for the evening -- a four-on-one handicap match, pitting John Cena against Umaga, Johnny Nitro, Kevin Federline, and The Coach himself! Federline came to ringside and bragged about how he already beat John Cena, and sat on the sidelines. Cena got himself DQed when he smashed Umaga with a steel chair, and then made headlines by giving Kevin Federline the FU.

Aside from the media attention, all of this was simply build up for New Year's Revolution, where Cena was to defend the title against Umaga. Cena did just that, overcoming the odds once again and defeating Umaga with a roll up, becoming the first man ever to defeat the Samoan Bulldozer. But the feud wasn't over. No, no, because there was a second pay-per-view scheduled for that same month -- the Royal Rumble. Umaga was to get a second title shot as the road to WrestleMania 23 began. But first, Cena had to survive the weeks leading up to the Royal Rumble.

One night after defeating Umaga at New Year's Revolution 2007, Cena was forced to go one on one with The Great Khali. During the match, Armando Alejandro Estrada came down to do commentary. Estrada eventually jumped up onto the apron with a steel chair, which Cena grabbed and hit Khali with, getting himself disqualified. Umaga ran down and hit Cena with the Samoan Spike.

In the ensuing weeks, Cena was beat up by Cade & Murdoch, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, Viscera, and The Great Khali. Leading into the Royal Rumble, Cena was once again built up as the underdog, and was slated to defend the WWE title against Umaga in a Last Man Standing match.

Without question, the Last Man Standing match was the best match of Cena's career to date. Cena defeated Umaga in a brutal match that ended after Cena hit the FU and then choked out Umaga using the ring ropes. The crowd was chanting "Cena sucks!" during parts of the match, as fans began to once again grow tired of the same old song and dance. However, this match will likely stand the test of time as once of the better title defences in recent memory. The Undertaker would then go on to win the Royal Rumble, capping off one of the best pay-per-views the WWE has put on in years.

But the Undertaker's victory spelled bad news for the champion's of each brand. John Cena, Batista, and Bobby Lashley, the champion's of their respective brands, were forced to wait in anticipation for several weeks while The Undertaker decided which title to challenge for at WrestleMania.

On the January 29, 2007 episode of Raw, John Cena and Shawn Michaels teamed up to challenge for the World Tag Team titles against the champions, Rated RKO -- Edge and Randy Orton. With Shawn Michaels being the runner up in the Royal Rumble, and therefore first in line for a shot at Cena's title at WrestleMania if the Undertaker decided to challenge someone other than Cena, the angle became a question of whether or not Cena could trust the Heartbreak Kid. Well, on this night at least, he could, as Cena and HBK would win the World Tag Team titles. After the match, it looked like Michaels was going to superkick John Cena, but Cena turned around and caught him before he had the chance. Cena then confronted Michaels and asked him if it was all about WrestleMania, and if he just wanted a title shot. Before Michaels could answer, the lights went out and The Undertaker appeared on the stage, staring down Cena to close the show.

Cena subsequently appeared on SmackDown! that week and asked the Undertaker to make a decision. 'Taker refused.

The following week on Raw, all three champions stood in the ring -- John Cena, Batista, and Bobby Lashley. Out came the Undertaker to make his decision in dramatic fashion. He stared down all three champions, and then got into Batista's face and made a throat slitting motion before chokeslamming him. With Undertaker challenging for Batista's World Heavyweight title at WrestleMania 23, the stage was set for John Cena vs Shawn Michaels for the WWE title. Or so we all thought. That night, a triple threat match was made, with the winner being crowned the number one contender for Cena's title -- Shawn Michaels vs Randy Orton vs Edge.

Shawn Michaels won the match and became the number one contender. Cena came out and the two went nose to nose. Out came Undertaker and Batista who also went nose-to-nose. And out comes the Coach to throw a wrench in everyone's plans. At No Way Out, it will be Batista and The Undertaker vs John Cena and Shawn Michaels.

The following week on Raw, John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Batista, and The Undertaker teamed up to defeat Edge, Randy Orton, Mr. Kennedy, and MVP. That same week on Smackdown!, John Cena and Shawn Michaels teamed up to defeat Mr. Kennedy and MVP. The stage was set for No Way Out, and the tension was mounting as Cena expected Michaels to turn on him, and questions began to surface as to whether or not Cena would turn heel and beat Michaels to the punch.

At No Way Out 2007, however, it was Batista who turned on The Undertaker. Cena and Michaels were victorious as a result.

The following night on Raw, John Cena took on Randy Orton in a non-title match. Edge ran out and he and Orton were about to give Cena a con-chair-to, but Shawn Michaels ran out and made the save. Cena got up and stared down Michaels.

The next week, Cena and Michaels were scheduled to put their Tag Team titles on the line against Edge and Randy Orton. In the opening segment of the night, however, Cena and Michaels were in the ring doing a promo when Edge and Orton appeared on the titan tron. Orton warned Cena not to trust the Heartbreak Kid, and a video rolled showing various highlights of Shawn Michaels turning on his partners of the past -- Marty Jannety, Kevin Nash, DX, Booker T, and Hulk Hogan. Cena turned and looked at Michaels suspiciously. Michaels mouthed the words "you can trust me." Later than night, Cena and Michaels defeated Edge and Orton to retain the titles. Cena and Michaels celebrated but there was obvious tension in the air.

The next week on Raw, John Cena defeated Johnny Nitro by disqualification when Joey Mercury and Edge interfered. Shawn Michaels walked down to the ring slowly, watching as Cena got beat down, and then finally made the save after the damage had been done.

The following week, Cena and Michaels were forced to defend the Tag Team titles in a gauntlet. First, the defeated Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas. Then the defeated Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch. Cena and Michaels began eyeing each other as if they didn't trust one another. Finally, Cena and Michaels defeated MNM in a cage match. All six opponents attacked Cena and Michaels until Cena cleared the ring with a chair.

The next week on Raw, Cena defeated Chris Benoit via the STFU. After the match, HBK teased giving Cena a superkick, and Cena teased giving HBK the FU.

On the final Raw before WrestleMania 23, Cena and Michaels took on Undertaker and Batista in a rematch from No Way Out. This time, it was The Undertaker who left Batista high and dry. Just as it looked like Cena and Michaels had the match won, HBK turned on Cena and superkicked him out of nowhere. Batista pinned Cena, but the heat for both main events was sky high.

At WrestleMania 23, John Cena made a grand entrance, coming to the ring in a Ford Mustang (because the event was at Ford Field in Detroit -- at WrestleMania 22, Cena came to the ring dressed up like a mobster because the event was held in Chicago. WrestleMania 24 is going to be in Orlando, Florida...is Cena going to come dressed as Mickey Mouse?). The buildup for the match was brilliant, and the match itself lived up the hype. Michaels and Cena battled for over 30 minutes. At one point, Michaels berated Cena in the ring (legitimately) for not selling his leg hard enough. Cena eventually won the match, and was still the champion. After the match, the two were supposed to shake hands in the middle of the ring. Michaels instead left the ring, so Cena followed him out, confused, and extended his hand. Michaels turned his back and walked away. It would later be revealed that Michaels was furious over the match and berated Cena again backstage for not selling his leg and botching spots.

The next night on Raw, Cena and Michaels retained their Tag Team titles in a 10-team battle royal. However, Jonathan Coachman ordered a second battle royal take place. This time, Michaels turned on Cena and they lost the Tag Team titles when Michaels threw Cena over the top rope. The Hardy Boyz went on to win.

The next week Raw was taped in Milan, Italy. Cena defeated Edge and Randy Orton in a handicapped match when Shawn Michaels ran out to superkick Cena, but Cena moved and Michaels instead kicked Edge. Cena then pinned Edge for the win.

One week later, John Cena and Shawn Michaels had a non-title WrestleMania rematch. In what was a sure-fire Match of the Year contender, and without a shadow of a doubt the best match of John Cena's entire career, the two wrestled for nearly 60 minutes until Shawn Michaels beat Cena cleanly with the superkick. This match topped their original match at WrestleMania, and showed that Cena had learned a little something from Michaels.

That weekend was Backlash. Cena was to defend the title in a four way match against Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, and Edge. In another match of the year contender with several false finishes that had the crowd on their feet, John Cena retained the title when Shawn Michaels superkicked him and he landed on an unconscious Randy Orton to get a three count. Shawn Michaels lets Cena know he got lucky. Cena probably agrees.

The next night on Raw, someone attacked Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, and Edge brutally backstage. The mystery attacker wasn't revealed until the end of the night, when Cena went to the ring and demanded the attacker reveal himself. Much to his dismay of Cena, out came The Great Khali. Looks like Cena is the underdog once again.

The next week, Cena took on Randy Orton. The match ended in a no contest when The Great Khali attacked John Cena. The following week, Khali challenged Cena to come and find him for a fight. Cena did just that, and the two brawled backstage before Khali destroyed him.

On May 18, 2007 John Cena and Vince McMahon made a rare appearance at an independent wrestling show for Chaotic Wrestling. John Cena played the role of the guest referee in the CW Title match featuring Brian Milionas w/Cherry Payne vs Big Rick Fuller w/Johnny Fabulous (Cena's real life father). Vince McMahon ran down to interfere, only to be FUed by John Cena. This was a huge surprise to everyone, as neither Cena nor McMahon take part in independent shows.

On May 20, 2007 at Judgment Day, John Cena defeated The Great Khali to retain the WWE title. Cena made Khali tap out to the STFU. The following night on Raw, however, Khali claimed that his foot was in the ropes and the hold should have been broken. A replay on the titan tron shows he has a point. Cena came out and said he couldn't disagree, and agreed to a rematch. Khali knocked Cena out with the chop of doom.

On Saturday Night's Main event on June 2, 2007, The Great Khali defeated John Cena in a non-title match. One night later at One Night Stand, John Cena defeated The Great Khali in a Falls Count Anywhere match to retain the WWE title, after he FUed Khali off a crane and down to the floor five or six feet below. One night later on Raw, Cena was forced to defend the title in a triple threat match against The Great Khali and Umaga. Cena was successful, pinning Khali with the FU after knocking Umaga out of the ring.

The next week was the Draft Special. Edge defeated Cena by countout to earn SmackDown! the first draft pick. Turns out The Great Khali was going to Smackdown!, which was bad news for Edge, who was the World Heavyweight champion at the time. Ouch. Even when Cena loses, he still wins. Later that night, Vince McMahon's limo exploded in one of the more extreme angles WWE has ever done -- the "presumed death" of Mr. McMahon.

In the ensuing weeks, Cena and others were accused of blowing up McMahon's limo. At Vengeance, John Cena was forced to defend the title againt five former champions -- Bobby Lashley, Mick Foley, Randy Orton, and King Booker. Cena retained.

The next morning, the tragic news of the death of Chris Benoit and his family got mainstream media attention. Raw that night was cancelled -- fans were sent home, and the show opened with Vince McMahon (who was dead according to storylines) standing in the ring announcing the tragedy to WWE fans. The show became a tribute to Chris Benoit. As the show was airing, details began to pour in that it was possible Benoit killed his family and then himself. This was not confirmed until Raw was off the air. The following night on ECW on Sci Fi, the WWE steered clear of any controversy and simply put on a show intended to entertain in a light hearted way. On this show, John Cena defeated Johnny Nitro.

On July 9, 2007, John Cena appeared on CNN's Larry King Live, along with Chris Jericho, Bret Hart, and a WWE lawyer. They discussed the Benoit tragedy. Everyone on the show conducted themselves very well.

Cena was scheduled to defend the WWE title against Bobby Lashley at The Great American Bash 2007. After a face to face confrontation on the July 16 edition of Raw, John Cena defeated Lashley at The Great American Bash to retain his title.

The following night, Cena was forced to "team up" with Candice Michelle to take on Umaga, Lance Cade, and Trevor Murdoch. Candice Michelle was obviously of no help to Cena, and as such it was billed as a three on one handicapped match. Candice avoided getting involved -- that is, until Umaga got a hold of her and threatened to tear her apart. Cue Jeff Hardy with a chair, who chases Umaga out of the match, leaving Cena to defeat Cade & Murdoch with ease. After the match, Randy Orton ran down and hit Cena with the RKO. Jonathan Coachman announced that Orton was the new number one contender.

On July 27, 2007, John Cena appeared at Ohio Valley Wrestling's Six Flags event, and defeated OVW Television Champion Shawn Spears in a non-title match. OVW is WWE's developmental territory.

On the July 30 edition of Raw, Carlito defeated John Cena in a non-title match with help from Randy Orton. The next week, Cena defeated Umaga by DQ when Orton and Carlito interfered. This led to Cena and Umaga vs Orton and Carlito at the next Raw. Cena and Umaga were victorious.

On August 18, 2007 at Saturday Night's Main Event, John Cena defeated Carlito by submission via the STFU. After the match, Randy Orton attacked Cena and hit the RKO on a chair outside the ring. Two night's later on Raw, Cena defeated Snitsky by DQ when Randy Orton hit the ring and nailed Cena with two RKOs.

And so the stage was set for Summer Slam 2007, where John Cena was to defend the WWE title against Randy Orton. And defend it he did, defeating Orton cleanly with the FU.

The following night on Raw, Orton demanded a rematch. Cena declined, saying he had his shot and he couldn't get the job done. Orton then stormed into Mr. McMahon's office and demanded McMahon over ruled and forced a rematch. McMahon told him he would first have to prove how bad he wanted another title shot. Orton stared him down, and stormed back out. Later than night, as Cena wrestled King Booker with Cena's father sitting in the front row, Randy Orton came out and attacked Cena, resulting in the match being thrown out as a no contest. King Booker helped Orton beat Cena down, and then left Orton to finish the job. Orton teased kicking Cena in the head. Instead, he jumped out of the ring, grabbed Cena's father, pulled him over the guard rail, and punted him in the head instead. Orton retreats up the ramp smiling. Cena is more concerned with his father's health.

The next week on Raw, new Raw GM William Regal stands in the ring, while Orton appears on the titan tron and says he proved how badly he wants the rematch. Regal agrees, and announces that the rematch will happen at Unforgiven 2007. Cena comes out. He's not the happiest camper. Regal takes the beating of his life. Cena puts the STFU on him on the floor until he's pulled off by officials. Regal won't be appearing on Raw for the next little while.

On September 10, 2007, Jonathan Coachman had John Cena banned from the building, fearing he would be attacked next. Randy Orton cut a promo in the ring, saying he knew Orton was watching on tv with his dad. He said Cena has beaten so many challengers, but he's always had a clear head going into the match. This time it's different, because Orton is in Cena's head and Cena will therefore make a mistake, and Orton will capitalize. From the crowd runs John Cena, because when WWE bans someone from the building that's a sure sign he'll be showing up anyway, and beats down Randy Orton. The stage was set for Unforgiven 2007, as John Cena was to defend the WWE title against Randy Orton.

Orton would use the stage to defeat Cena (albeit by disqualification) and to keep the heat on their angle by again going after Cena Sr. Cena Jr., however, would prevent Orton from kicking Sr.’s head’s off. Orton would have better luck the next night on Raw when he handcuffed Cena to the ropes and beat the tar out of his father in the middle of the ring. The feud would have to be put on hold, though, when Cena tore a pectoral muscle. The injury left him on the shelf and stripped of the WWE belt.

Nearly four months later, Cena made a surprise return to the Royal Rumble, where he won the battle royal and a WrestleMania shot at the title. But he would relinquish that chance in favour of wrestling Orton for the belt at No Way Out. Orton agreed, but at the pay-per-view, Cena failed to re-capture his championship as Orton deliberately got himself disqualified when he slapped the referee.

Triple H entered the mix for the title but his presence wouldn’t be enough to take the title off Orton as the latter defeated Triple H and Cena in a three-way contest at WrestleMania 24.

JBL turned the chase into a foursome, with all contestants facing one another in a Fatal Four-way at Backlash. There, Triple H would come out on top, winning his 12th heavyweight championship.

Cena and JBL began feuding, a result of Cena eliminating JBL at Backlash. An intriguing part of the angle would be WWE’s use of Cena’s real life relationship with Mickie James as part of the storyline.

Cena would pin JBL in a somewhat lacklustre match at Judgment Day, only to have to face him again in a First Blood match at One Night Stand. Cena again got the duke as he used a chain to lock an STFU onto JBL and thereby caused “internal bleeding” and a halt to the contest.

With JBL out of the way, Cena continued marching toward his goal of recapturing the belt. By winning a number one contenders match against Jeff Hardy on Raw, Cena set himself up for a confrontation with Champion Triple H. At Night of Champions, however, Cena would fall to Triple H's Pedigree.

Cena renewed his feud with JBL the next day after JBL threw Cena out of the building so he wouldn't interfere in his title match against CM Punk. Cena of course interfered anyway, costing JBL the chance to win. The next week, Cena would vandalize JBL's limo and JBL responded by laying out Cena with a crowbar before trying to smash into him with a car. At Great American Bash, JBL beat Cena in a New York City Parking Lot Brawl.

It seemed their feud would continue when JBL attacked Batista during his match against Punk and Cena arrived to make the save. But when Cena accidentally punched Batista instead of JBL, a new feud was born. Although the two teamed up and actually briefly (a week) held the World Tag Team titles, they would engage one another at SummerSlam. A couple Batista Bombs later, and Cena dropped his third straight pay-per-view match. More significantly, though, was that both he and Batista were injured in their advertised "first time ever" contest. (They had in fact previously faced each other one-on-one under different monikers at Ohio Valley Wrestling.) It would be months before Batista was finally forced to have surgery, but only nine days before Cena underwent neck surgery to repair a herniated disc.

Cena was out three months, but made a gigantic splash upon his return, defeating Chris Jericho at Survivor Series to win the World Heavyweight belt. Cena would beat Jericho again at their rematch the next month at Armageddon.

Amazingly, Cena would again feud with JBL, but this time with Shawn Michaels added to the mix as now worked as JBL's employee. Michaels helped wear down the champ, beating Cena on Raw in a non-title match, but Cena would come out on top (in spite of Michaels's interference) in his title contest versus JBL at Royal Rumble. Cena would beat Michaels in an Elimination Chamber qualifying TV match, but lose his World Heavyweight belt to Edge in the Elimination Chamber at No Way Out.

Cena would have to go through a very convoluted and unfortunate love triangle storyline involving Edge, Big Show and Vickie Guerrero in order to get his rematch. But after threatening to out Vickie's fling with Big Show, (which he later did anyway), he got his shot, and signed a contract to face both in a triple threat match at WrestleMania 25. There, Cena would hit his newly renamed FU -- now the "Attitude Adjuster" or just "AA" -- on both Edge and Show, giving him the win and the belt. He'd only manage to hang onto it for a month, though. At Backlash, Big Show choke-slammed Cena off the stage through a spotlight, which allowed Edge to win the Last Man Standing match and regain the championship.

Knowing Cena was too hurt to fight back, The Miz decided to try and look brave and began calling out Cena for a fight. The Miz acted liked an annoying insect as the two bulls Cena and Big Show continued circling each other. Cena managed to beat Show twice, at Judgment Day and Extreme Rules, but Show would win on Raw, with some assistance from The Miz, who was hovering around ringside. The Miz would be granted his shot at Cena, with the two facing each other one-on-one at The Bash.

- compiled by John Milner, Mark Xamin and Richard Kamchen

JOHN CENA STORIES

  • November 9, 2013: John Cena: 'I pooped myself in the ring'
  • September 24, 2012: Rock vs Cena DVD heavy on hype, short on magic
  • May 10, 2012: John Cena files for divorce
  • April 1, 2012: Cena doesn't like The Rock
  • March 24, 2012: Cena rises above hate in, out of ring
  • Dec. 26, 2011: Cena sued over roofing bill
  • Mar. 28, 2011: It's hard to see Cena losing at WrestleMania 27
  • Dec. 13, 2010: New Cena DVD one Experience too many
  • Feb. 18, 2010: New flick to show Cena in dramatic light
  • Jan. 25, 2010: Cena and Psych team up for Raw and season premiere
  • Sep. 28, 2009: Cena reflects on sixth title reign, new faces
  • Sep. 21, 2009: Cena sticks to the company line
  • Aug. 26, 2008: Cena DVD set lacking on matches, still decent
  • Oct. 2, 2007: Cena forced to vacate title; New champion to be crowned at No Mercy
  • July 9, 2007: Cena and panel get light questions from Larry King
  • Oct. 14, 2006: Marine blows up real bad
  • Apr. 6, 2006: Mat Matters Editorial: Cena deserves better
  • Apr. 1, 2006: Cena set up for 'Mania defeat
  • Mar. 26, 2006: Boobirds get Cena fired up
  • Aug. 18, 2005: Cena ready to 'rap' Jericho
  • Aug. 14, 2005: Hitting the links with Rosey and pals
  • May 30, 2005: Q&A with John Cena
  • May 29, 2005: Tough to take fight out of Cena
  • Feb. 24, 2005: John Cena keeping it real
  • Feb. 19, 2005: Cena greets fans on road to No Way Out
  • Jan. 16, 2005: Cena may salute Habs on TV show
  • Sep. 17, 2004: Cena focused on the fans
  • May 25, 2004: The rap on the Cena DVD
  • June 1, 2003: Cena's a star with rap attack