Loved or despised, he’s the most respected superstar in WWE and still the most popular by a wide margin. When people think of WWE, they think of John Cena. He has been the mainstay top star for nearly a decade. He’s come so far since making his debut against Kurt Angle back on a 2002 episode of SmackDown! with a godawful hairdo.
Cena is now a seasoned veteran and his time with the WWE will go on for as long as his body can handle the grind of professional wrestling. Cena is not only a 15-time world champion, but he also does an incredible amount of charity work, having granted over 400 wishes for the Make a Wish Foundation.
Cena grew up in West Newbury Massachusetts, dreaming of being a professional wrestler and he came into WWE as a blue-chip prospect at 22 years old. Over 15 years later, he’s still serving them very well, being the top dog in merchandise sales, social media followers and brand awareness.
However, these are things we all knew about John Cena. There’s a lot more to him though. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the Champ.
10) He Writes Left-Handed
“Like one out of every nine Americans (John Cena’s) left-handed, and let me tell you it ain’t all peaches and cream.” (Ned Flanders)
As seen in the picture, John Cena is signing autographs with his left hand and if you’ve ever watched any of his promos, corny or serious, he tends to hold the microphone with his left hand.
Call it a fun fact, call it a trivial fact, but lefties (right here) are happy to have John Cena on their team.
9) His Rap Album Reached No.15 On The U.S. Billboard 200 Chart
It has been over nine years since John Cena’s rap album You Can’t See Me was released to the public. It was recorded by WWE Records and starred Cena along with his cousin, Tha Trademarc.
It debuted at #15 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 143,000 copies in its first week.
It features what is Cena’s theme song, The Time is Now, which as we can all recognize, Cena sang himself and even all these years later, well removed from his white rapper gimmick, is still used by the champ. That makes two theme songs that Cena has performed himself, the other being Basic Thuganomics which he used before his current theme.
The album also came with two music videos, one for the song Bad, Bad Man and one for Right Now. The former is a spoof on 1980s culture, as the video features the A-Team, and guest stars Gary Coleman plus a Michael Jackson impersonator and a Madonna impersonator. The latter goes back to Cena’s childhood and heavily features his family life.
8) He is of Italian and French-Canadian Descent
That’s right, John Cena is a paisan. Ok well almost. His father, John Cena Sr. is of Italian decent and his mother Carol Lupien, is of French Canadian and English descent. The couple had five sons, John being the second child.
The name gives it away for anyone who speaks Italian. Cena (pernounced che-na) is the Italian word for supper. Supper’s the last meal you eat, Cena’s the last one you watch every show. Great tie-in.
The bad news here is, what a missed opportunity WWE had; they could’ve made Santino Marella and John Cena, or maybe Giovanni Cena, into quite the formidable tag team.
7) He Was An All-American Division III Center
By the look of Cena’s impressive physique, one would assume he is a football player, but yes, he played b-ball in college.
As part of the Springfield College Pride, Cena was a Division III All-American center. He wore the number 54, which has been used on a lot of his WWE merchandise. You could see the number plastered on his chain gang jersey, his Cenation jersey and he even wore the number when he was a rapper sporting a local sports team’s jersey, when trying to gain support from the crowd.
6) He Tried His Luck in Bodybuilding
Let’s call it a blessing that Cena’s bodybuilding career didn’t work out. Otherwise, he would’ve looked… like this!
It’s safe to say that Cena’s current physique is very impressive the way it is now and it’s useful for entertaining millions of fans around the world. Cena still does consider himself a bodybuilder, as he undoubtedly works like a madman in the gym to maintain his physique.
Cena shockingly once weighed 120 pounds in high school, but is now hovering around 250.
Cena has also been on the cover of Muscle and Fitness several times, where he’s shared some of his workout routines and dietary habits. Try to follow it, if you dare.
5) He Was Originally Known As “The Prototype”
Okay, if you were to construct the perfect WWE superstar, you might have him look quite a bit like John Cena. Apparently, so much was thought of this, that someone decided to go ahead and give Cena the in-ring name, “the Prototype”.
Cena started training to become a professional wrestler in 1999 at Ultimate Pro Wrestling’s California school, “Ultimate University” operated by Rick Bassman. Cena’s Prototype character was semi-robotic. Cena still hadn’t quite adjusted to a physique that would be more suitable for an athletic endeavor like professional wrestling. Cena debuted in November of 1999 and briefly held the company’s heavyweight title in April of 2000.
Cena wrestled a couple of dark matches for the WWE late in 2000 at some Smackdown tapings. He was signed to a developmental contract with Ohio Valley Wrestling, WWE’s affiliate. There he developed alongside guys like Randy Orton, Batista and Brock Lesnar.
He continued to wrestle as the Prototype there, as well as under the name Mr. P. He held the OVW Heavyweight Championship for three months and the promotion’s tag team titles along with Rico Constantino.
Cena made his television debut on June 27, 2002, answering an open challenge by Kurt Angle. The idea was Cena was embracing the Ruthless Aggression attitude being preached by Vince McMahon and was going to take WWE by storm. He impressed with a near-upset over Angle, but was beaten with an amateur wrestling style pin. Anybody watching that match could look past Cena’s awful haircut, jobber-like attire and generic ring music. It’s easy to spot a future star in that match. Twelve years later, here he is, as big a star as ever.
4) He Teamed With Bull Bucahanon (or B2)
We all know John Cena was once a freestyle rapper in the WWE, but many fans do not know Bull Buchanon, much less that he and Cena were a team.
Cena and Buchanon, or B-2, were a short-lived team that mainly consisted of Cena dissing his opponents through rap lyrics, while B-2 capped it all off with a “Boo-Yeah!”
B-2 mainly served as Cena’s enforcer and was soon replaced by Red Dogg.
3) He Collects Muscle Cars
Cena has plenty of room in his Tampa Bay mansion. What better way to fill it than with a fine collection of muscle cars?
His collection includes 1971 Ford Torino GT, 1970 Mercury Cougar Eliminator, 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge, 1966 Dodge Charger and a 1970 Plymouth Superbird. Cena spoke about his passion for classic American cars to Motortrend.com.
“They always look at the car, and that’s why I dig that era, the designs were so crazy,” Cena explains. “I have an affection for the obscure, the crazy paint jobs, and the crazy body styling — not necessarily the cars everyone else likes.”
When John Cena does retire, you’ll probably see him driving around western Florida every day in one of his classic cars.
2) He Married His High-School Sweetheart
Through Cena’s high school graduation, college football, bodybuilding, ugly haircuts, and into his success and fame, Cena was with his highschool sweetheart Elizabeth Huberdeau through all of it.
The couple married in 2009, after being together for over 12 years, but Cena filed for divorce midway through 2012, citing the marriage was “irretrievably broken”.
There initially was a nasty struggle, very much in the public eye, but the couple eventually decided the two sides would settle things amicably.
Cena is currently dating WWE diva Nikki Bella.
1) Most WrestleMania Title Wins – Four
Out of Cena’s 15 world title wins, he has won four of those at WrestleMania. That is the most title wins by any superstar in WWE history. Hogan successfully defended his tile more than anyone else, but only began a title reign three times at WrestleMania, at WrestleManias 5, 7 and 9. Stone Cold did it three times, at 14, 15 and 17. Undertaker three times, at 13, 23 and 24. The Rock shockingly never did, is in fact 0-4 in WrestleMania world title matches, losses at 15, 16, 17 and 29.
Cena won his first title at WrestleMania 21, with a win over JBL. He came in as the challenger in a triple threat match with Edge and the Big Show, where he won the World Heavyweight Championship. The following year, he regained the WWE championship from Batista. After suffering back-to-back WrestleMania losses at 27 and 28, Cena found redemption, beating The Rock for his 14th world title win at WrestleMania 29.
The longer Cena stays around, the more records he will break. Who knows, he might surpass Ric Flair for total world title wins, if he decides to stick around until he’s 60. Either way, as much as Cena has accomplished, he’s going to do a lot more before he retires.